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Howard University Undergoes Home Restoration of Civil Rights Activist Mary Church Terrell

Using a grant from the U.S. National Park Service, Howard University is restoring the home of civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell.Terrell House

This endeavor was funded by an African American Civil Rights (AACR) grant from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund, which has given out more than a total of $2 billion in historic preservation grants since 1977.

“It is an incredible honor to be at the center of such an historic and meaningful real estate transformation,” said Derrek Niec-Williams, executive director of campus planning, architecture, and development in Howard's Office of Real Estate Development and Capital Asset Management. “As an anchor in DC’s African American community and site of one of the nation’s leading preservers of African American history, Howard University is well positioned to spearhead the process of preserving Mary Church Terrell’s legacy and the broader legacy of the vibrant African American community that is central to LeDroit Park’s history. We are immensely grateful to the National Park Service, Department of the Interior for providing the resources to make this transformation possible.” 

A suffragist and educator, Terrell was the first African American woman to serve on a U.S. school board – she was on the one in D.C. She was also a founding member and first president of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896; helped establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909; and was a member of National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

Her home was designated as a National Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975; later bestowed to Howard in 1987; then added to the DC Preservation League’s Most Endangered Places list in 1999.

The restoration effort is set to finish later this year.

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