Friday, March 9, 2012

Last Chance to Comment on NPS Restoration Plan for Carter G. Woodson Home Historic Site at 1538 9th Street, NW

The deadline for providing your comments on the National Park Service's draft general management plan for the restoration of the Carter G. Woodson House historic site is this Tuesday, March 13, 2012.  The site currently includes Dr. Woodson's former house at 1538 9th Street, NW, and two adjacent row houses located at 1540 and 1542 9th Street, NW.

The general management plan describes "alternative directions for the development, visitor use, and management" of the site.  The plan contains two alternatives.  Under the so-called "no action alternative", "visitors would have the opportunity to tour Dr. Woodson's neighborhood, view the restored and/or stabilized historic structure facades, and understand how the neighborhood influenced his life or work."  The interiors of the buildings would not be restored, and visitors would not be allowed inside the buildings.

Under the second alternative, the so-called "preferred alternative," the "emphasis ... would be to learn about Dr. Woodson's life and legacy.  Visitors would learn about Dr. Woodson through tours of his restored home, and through innovative and interactive interpretive exhibits, materials, and programs in the adjacent buildings."  The preferred alternative is comprised of two options — the first option includes only the buildings currently owned by NPS and the second option includes both those buildings and 1544 9th Street, NW, an adjacent building currently not owned by NPS.  This additional building is located at the corner of 9th and Q Streets, NW; it is in the historic site boundary authorized by Congress, but is currently privately owned.  The first option would be implemented upon approval of the plan; the second option would be implemented if the building at 1544 9th Street, NW, is acquired by NPS.

View the draft general management plan, read more about Carter G. Woodson, view information about the project timeline, and find out how to submit comments after the jump.

About Carter G. Woodson [from the NPS website]

Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves, but earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1912—only the second black American to do so (after W. E. B. DuBois). This achievement was even more extraordinary since he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old. He had been denied access to public education in Canton, Virginia, where he was born in 1875, and did not start school until he moved to Huntington, West Virginia. He received his high school diploma two years later, a bachelor's degree from Berea College in 1897, and went on to earn A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago before attending Harvard.

Doctor Woodson, and other like-minded individuals founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (today it is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History), leading him down the path to his life’s work: researching, writing, and disseminating the history and cultural experience of African American people in American life.

From 1922 on, Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to writing, publishing, and disseminating African American scholarly and popular works designed to explain and validate the African American experience.  In 1926, he founded and promoted “Negro History Week,” as a way of focusing attention on the accomplishments of African Americans and promoting pride in the history and cultural achievements of African Americans in America.  Black History Month has grown from Dr. Woodson’s founding of Negro History Week. It evidenced an evolving progression of increasing cultural and social appreciation of the diversity of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in the United States. The concept for the week was a celebration of
African American heritage, a time for all people of African descent to feel proud of their singular identity.

Prior to Dr. Woodson’s work, African American history was not considered a legitimate field of study.

About The Carter G. Woodson Home  [from the NPS website]
The Carter G. Woodson Home at 1538 9th Street, NW, in Washington, DC, was Dr. Woodson's home from 1922 until his death in 1950. He directed the operations of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and pursued his own studies of African-American history from there. After his death, the home continued to serve as the national headquarters of the Association until the early 1970s. It is now vacant, closed to the public, and in need of rehabilitation. The home was acquired by the National Park Service in 2005.

The Carter G. Woodson historic home is the red brick building to the left; the two center tan buildings are NPS-owned buildings that are part of the historic site; the building to the right is a potential addition to the historic site, currently privately owned (and restored since this picture was taken)
Submitting Comments on the General Management Plan
Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on March 13, 2012.  Comments may be submitted through the NPS comments page for the Carter G. Woodson site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=43548.

Project Timeline
At the March 7, 2012, meeting of ANC 2C, a representative from NPS (Joy Kinard, the manager of the Central District of National Capital Parks-East) stated that the site is not expected to be open to the public until 2016.  Funding has not yet been secured, and the start date for construction work is currently unknown.  A request for emergency funding has been made, however, to repair earthquake damage and stabilize the buildings. 

Links
General management plan website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=22223
Carter G. Woodson Home Historic Site website: http://www.nps.gov/cawo/index.htm
NPS video presentation (15 minutes) on the general management plan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbbxGe9Q2MU

General Management Plan Document
The general management plan may be viewed below or by clicking here.  (Note: The link opens a PDF document.)

Carter G. Woodson Home - NPS Draft General Management Plan (January 2012)

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