“Three African-American activists hurried to the Capitol on the morning of March 28th, 1926. They had heard Congress was considering a bill that would wipe out a community of 370 families in the growing suburbs west of Rock Creek Park. In the small neighborhood known as Reno, black and white residents mixed like a checkerboard.”
Reno, as Neil Flanagan’s November Washington City Paper article about Fort Reno’s hidden history goes on to explain, was the site of a thriving African American community. And it was destroyed due to white supremacy, resentment and greed.
“Reno was a community with modest houses and churches, clubs, and a thriving social calendar. But white suburbs had recently grown up around Reno, and many of the people moving to them sought racial exclusivity.”
The deeply researched article is striking not only for the content but for the names. Charles Glover. Frederick Olmsted. Melvin Hazen. They’re familiar to many of us because of the parks and statues named and erected in their honor. But they were not the heroes of the story.
There is a park in a nice, liberal part of Washington, DC that has a troubling past of racism and loss. https://t.co/1xsO7xxclD
— Neil Flanagan (@jg_bollard) November 2, 2017
Neil Flanagan is the featured speaker at an event on Thursday, March 15th sponsored by Historic Chevy Chase DC and the Tenleytown Historical Society. It’s taking place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at one of Reno’s few surviving structures: the Jesse Reno School (4820 Howard Street NW).