- Andrena Crockett
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Today, the Georgetown African American Historic Landmark Project (GAAHLP) launches its website homepage. The GAAHLP is a collective of concerned Georgetown community advocates and historians undertaking the task of honoring the free and enslaved residents who lived in and worked to build the community by placing markers on approximately 80 historic African American landmarks in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. This project will include the consolidation of several comprehensive Georgetown African American Historic walking tours and will offer a repository of information garnered from the authoritative book Black Georgetown Remembered.
The GAAHLP, in partnership with the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, will officially designate Georgetown waterfront (also known as Port of Georgetown or “North Potomac”) along with seven other U.S. cities, including Africatown, AL; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Historic Sotterley Plantation, MD; Hampton/Point Comfort, VA; Charleston, SC; Pensacola, FL; and New Orleans, LA as an UNESCO Site of Memory. The process awaits submission to the United Nations Secretariat official endorsements from the National Park Service superintendent, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and Councilmember for Georgetown. This elevates Georgetown to an international level for historic African American sites. Good things have always and continue to happen in Georgetown, DC.
Established in 1751, Georgetown once represented a “Middle Passage” slave trade port in the United States and served as home to a high residential concentration of free African Americans. “This is not just African American history we must preserve and commemorate. This is American history, Georgetown history, and the history of the District of Columbia,” states Andrena Crockett, Chair of the 272 Georgetown Community Group, the organization leading the efforts. “This is truly an exciting time for Georgetown to rebrand itself and represent the nation as a whole as the country evolves and serves as a mirror on changes to the larger society as a whole.”
The bronze markers placement throughout Georgetown is also testament to the property owners’ commitment to honor and celebrate the contributions of Georgetown’s free and enslaved African Americans. The markers’ symbolic meaning is, ”He who does not know can know from learning. Return to the past and get it while understanding what precious treasures are present before you. Use the bonds of peace and reconciliation that bind parties in disputes to a peaceful harmonious resolution.” Individually designed markers on specific locations add distinction to a new official walking tour. The National Park Services and the District of Columbia preserve these untold and little known historic facts through the use of their public spaces.
“There is so much discussion these days about the uncertain and polarized times we live in. Here is a project that takes a big step towards reconciliation and unity through the learning of our history and how far we’ve come,” said George H. Lambert, Jr., President and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League. “We’re very honored to be a part of it.” Currently, basic information on the landmark project is housed at http://www.gaahlp.org – however, more information will be available with the website’s completion in early July 2018. Updates on future planning, events and content, along with historic photos of Black Georgetown, can be found on the website homepage.
THE DC HUMANITIES SOCIETY recognizes the project’s humanitarian significance and historic importance through their generous financial support.
GREATER WASHINGTON URBAN LEAGUE provides financial and operational support to this groundbreaking African American historic landmark project