The Roots of Freedom and Equality

The Roots of Freedom and Equality (HMGS4)

Location: Washington, DC 20004
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 53.828', W 77° 1.31'

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Civil War to Civil Rights

— Downtown Heritage Trail —

"It is known to you that events have transpired within the last few days, deeply affecting the peace and character of our community."

With these words, city officials tried to calm the angry mobs gathering on this corner in April 1848. The crowds blamed the National Era, an abolitionist newspaper located near this sign, for the attempted escape of 77 African American slaves on the ship Pearl. They threatened to destroy the Era's printing press. The editor, Gamaliel Bailey, was one of many anti-slavery activists who made Washington, D.C. a national center for abolitionist activity. He wrote of the irony of slavery in the capital of a nation dedicated to liberty and equality.

Tragically, most of the captured slaves were sold and taken south. The mayor and others quelled the potential riot, and the National Era survived. In 1851 and 1852, in a new location just a block and a half south of here, the paper serialized a novel by a little known author named Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, sold 300,000 copies in its first year. The dramatic story intensified sectional rivalries and, many believe, made war inevitable.

One hundred years later, on this same block, Charles Hamilton Houston continued the struggle for freedom and equality for African Americans. Houston, a practicing attorney at 615 F Street, and a professor of law at Howard University, taught Thurgood Marshall the legal strategies that led to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that racial segregation in the schools was unconstitutional. Marshall, later a Supreme Court justice, credited Houston as the person who laid the groundwork for the modern civil rights movement.
HM NumberHMGS4
Series This marker is part of the Civil War to Civil Rights series
Marker Number.4
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 11:10am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324664 N 4307304
Decimal Degrees38.89713333, -77.02183333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 53.828', W 77° 1.31'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 53' 49.68" N, 77° 1' 18.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 557-599 7th St NW, Washington DC 20004, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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