Arthur Ashe, who wrote this passage, was among the many luminaries who headed to this area—a center for black business, activism and entertainment since the turn of the 20th century—when he came to town for tennis tournaments in the early 1960s. U…

In 1946, thirteen years after The Green Pastures played to a whites-only audience at the National Theatre, segregation was still the norm. But when a New York play starring Ingrid Bergman was booked at the Lisner Auditorium and Bergman and the…

John Anderson Lankford (1874-1946) broke barriers when he put his stamp on Washington’s built environment begining in the early 20th century. At the same time, he promoted racial progress through various efforts including founding the Washington,…

In 1913 laborer and entrepreneur John Whitelaw Lewis founded the Industrial Savings Bank at 11th and U streets NW, opening up financial opportunities for blacks.  When it opened, Industrial Bank (designed by black architect Isaah T. Hatton) was the…

George E.C. Hayes (1894-1968) graduated from the Howard University Law School in 1918 and spent much of the rest of his life working to dismantle racial segregation. Hayes taught law at Howard and served as the university’s general counsel for more…

The Drum and Spear Bookstore, which operated from 1968 to 1974, specialized in books by and about black people. The bookstore, founded by Charlie Cobb, Courtland Cox, Judy Richardson and Curtis Hayes (later Curtis Muhammed), all veterans of the…

So chronicled newspaper columnist William Raspberry upon the death of Billy Simpson (1914-1975), owner of Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood and Steaks. Indeed, between 1958 and his death, Billy Simpson and his restaurant played a central role in the…