African Americans were a significant portion of the population when a site
in the mid Atlantic area was selected as the location of a capitol city
for the newly emergent nation, it could not have been anticipated that
they would come to play such an important role in the city’s
development. Two centuries later, African Americans are the dominant
population group. As the capital city celebrates its bicentennial,
HUArchivesNet focuses on an examination of its Black community. This
editor’s essay, "The Dusk of Civil War to the Dawn of Civil Rights:
Blacks in the Nation’s Capital," is intended to provide a general
introduction to the Black presence in the city. Essays by Jeffrey Fearing
and Donald Roe provide much evidence of African American development in
the first half of the twentieth century. Fearing analyzes the uniqueness
of the Scurlock studio and its impact in capturing the enduring strength
of African American families, civic groups and community activities. Roe
illustrates the impact and importance of education to Black development
and its role in strengthening community bonds and resisting the ravages of
segregation. The Gallery features images of Black life in Washington
during the early twentieth century, and a range of resources are featured
which will aid those who are interested in exploring the myriad aspects of
the city’s development. Collectively, the resources reflected in this
issue should do much to broaden the understanding of the seminal role that
Black American’s have played in the illustrious history of one of the
world’s most important cities.
The editorial staff wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to Dr.
Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, Director of the Public History
Program in the History Department of Howard University, for serving as
Guest Editor of this issue, to Ms. Donna M. Wells for serving as this
issue's coordinator, and to our contributors for their articles, essays
and other submissions.
Thomas C. Battle, Ph.D.
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center