Woodlawn Cemetery is situated on a gently sloping plateau and is defined by hills, winding avenues, and diverse vegetation, as well as the panoramic views it offers of the District of Columbia's metropolitan area. Douglass Avenue, the main roadway, winds around a hillside which was once defined by perennial foliage, lawns and modest grave markers.
Woodlawn Cemetery was established in 1895 to provide new burial grounds in the southeastern region of Washington, DC. Five prominent white businessmen from different sections of Washington had the foresight to establish a much-needed cemetery for citizens of the District of Columbia and the surrounding communities.
As it was not created for any specific group or denomination, Woodlawn became an interracial, intercultural, non-sectarian cemetery in an era of increasing Jim Crow segregation. Since its incorporation, Woodlawn Cemetery has interred the remains of persons who had made a great impact upon the community.
Woodlawn Cemetery houses monuments remembering notable African Americans, including Blanche K. Bruce and John Mercer Langston. It is also the site of an estimated 20,000 pauper's graves, as well as many burials re-interred from earlier cemeteries, dating from 1798.
DC Inventory: June 19, 1991
National Register: December 20, 1996