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Washington DC Dedicates Terrell Place

- by Margaret Johnson Cooper

Terrell Place -- What is it? Terrell Place is "more than an office address" it is the thoughtful integration of three discrete elements:

  • 575 Seventh Street, the exceptionally restored 1924 building that formerly housed the Hecht Company Department Store;
  • A South Wing constructed above and behind the preserved facades of the four Victorian townhouses in which the Hecht Company operated prior to 1924; and
  • 650 F Street a new eleven-story building with modern yet complementary architecture that adjoins the Hecht's building to the east.

Terrell Place is the magnificent glass and marble structure in downtown Washington, DC dedicated to honor Mary Church Terrell, freedom fighter and 1st president of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc. Mrs. Fredrica Banks and Mrs. Earline Matthews, both of Washington, DC accompanied President Margaret J. Cooper to the dedication on Wednesday, October 8, 2003. Former NACWC President, Patricia L. Fletcher traveled from Ohio for the ceremony.

Terrell Place is, according to Carr America its developer, "positioned to play its part in the remarkable renaissance of the Seventh Street Corridor. Terrell Place combines historic preservation with all the building amenities and state-of-the-art systems one should expect in a trophy-quality office and retail environment."

The ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, December 4, 2003, officially opened the exhibit and building to the public. The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat, US House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. spoke eloquently of her personal knowledge of Mrs. Terrell. She thanked Carr America for this contribution not only to historical preservation but for its foresight and visionary efforts to include an educational component.

Mrs. Tanya Deskins, principal, Mary Church Terrell Elementary School, Washington, DC, and NACWC District of Columbia member, shared the school's connectivity with the project. She expressed appreciation to Carr America for bringing to fruition this historical site for the children and citizens of the District of Columbia.

President Margaret J. Cooper spoke passionately connecting the significance of Terrell Place to civil rights activities of Mary Church Terrell and today's struggles. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, other NACWC members in attendance were Mrs. Ruth Smothers, Mrs. Juanita Thomas and Mrs. Carole A. Early, Executive Secretary.

Mr. Raymond Langston, grandson of Mary Church Terrell and Jean Langston provided intimate, personal glimpses into the family life and values of Mrs. Terrell. Mr and Mrs. Langston made enormous donations of photographs, personal artifacts and information for establishment of the exhibit at Terrell Place.

Finally, Terrell Place is named in honor of Mary Church Terrell, whose portrait hangs just across Seventh Street at the National Portrait Gallery. "At Terrell Place, the past connects with the present, setting the stage for an exciting future."