D.C. Church makes U.S. List of Most-Endangered Historic Sites

Ah, Wednesday. The week is halfway over, the Wizards got John Wall (i.e. the killer of NCAA brackets), and I am trying desperately to see Jakarta before I leave on Friday. However, as I was googling various ways to see Jakarta’s historical sites, as Jakarta is officially the most pedestrian unfriendly city in the PLANET, I came across this Washington Post article on one of DC’s own landmarks: The Metropolitan A.M.E. Church.

Photo by Ricky Carioti-Washington Post

The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church is on M Street near 15th Street NW. The oldest continuously black-owned property in DC’s original 10-mile area, it is about to be named one of the nation’s most endangered historic sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Fredrick Douglass prayed there,  Rosa Park’s funeral service was held there,  Booker T. Washington and Eleanor Roosevelt spoke there; it was a center for integrated worship in a time where segregation was very much alive.

Scaffolded and sandwiched between offices

And have I been there?  Sigh. No, I haven’t. I don’t know what it is about people that makes us go to every length imaginable to see even the most mediocre of sights in a foreign city, while never really thinking of discovering our own. It’s not like when I moved to DC, I couldn’t have benefited from a guidebook. I just never thought to buy one. I mean, I was a local, why would I need to?

But now, looking at the church’s predicament, I feel like I neglected my town. Metropolitan A.M.E needs $11 million to repair the water damage, collapsed roof and a whole host of other problems in order to stay open. $11 million it doesn’t have. So yes, I think I am going to visit, give my meager donation and show some support. You should too.

You should also look at the other 10 nominees to the most-endangered list. One of which, the Wilderness Battlefield, is also close to home and in danger of being torn up by… you guessed it, Walmart. Because who needs history when you can buy guns and cheese puffs at bargain basement prices?

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