NOTE THE NEW START TIME!
Join Mayor Bowser at Lafayette-Pointer Park on June 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to dedicate the new Recreation Center and unveil two new historic signs that reclaim the lost history of the African-American community that once lived there.
Historic Chevy Chase DC has organized several exciting activities for the day, including a mural kids will create of the market garden that once stood on these grounds. City archeologists will also display artifacts from a dig on the playground that revealed daily farm life from the 19th century.
Civil War historians, some dressed in period costumes, will talk about the unnerving days when General Jubal Early’s Confederate troops attacked and were turned back by Union forces. They will have maps and tell stories about how small farms like these sustained the nearby forts and batteries in the 1860s.
Descendants of those Broad Branch Road families will attend the celebration, as well as the two historians whose work led to the rediscovery of this chapter of Chevy Chase’s racialized history from 1928 — Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green. Georgetown University Press on June 14 will publish their fascinating book on six generations of the George Pointer family — descendants of a remarkable enslaved man who became a trusted engineer for George Washington. Pointer’s granddaughter settled along Broad Branch Road in the 1840s, and four generations were raised here before being evicted so Lafayette school and park could be built. (The full title of the book is Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, DC.)
Lafayette Elementary student activists — members of the school’s SPARK team — will also be on hand to talk about their advocacy work with HCCDC in testifying before the D.C. Council, urging the change of the name of the park to Lafayette-Pointer Park to honor this history. Mayor Bowser will officially announce the new name at the event.
High school and college students participating in a University of the District of Columbia oral histories and reconciliation project involving the Broad Branch Road descendants will attend on June 12. Their work, which started this spring, will culminate in August with a set of recommendations to the community about how to make amends for such losses of land and home.
And lastly, we will be serving a delicious cake decorated in the likeness of the new historic signs that are being installed in the park that tell the story of lives remembered. Don’t miss the fun!