HCCDC has campaigned for an official change to the name of Lafayette Park in honor of the Black community evicted so a Whites-only school and park could be
HCCDC has campaigned for an official change to the name of Lafayette Park in honor of the Black community evicted so a Whites-only school and park could be built. But why were the school and park named for Lafayette in the first place?
Join Historic Chevy Chase DC President Carl Lankowski for an Oct. 15 Zoom conversation with French citizen Julien P. Icher of the American Friends of Lafayette as they discuss the deep connection the Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, had with the American experiment and his personal agenda for universal rights. They will be joined by Sociologist Reba Carruth, a history interpreter at George Washington’s Mount Vernon museum who is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Icher is the president of The Lafayette Trail, a work to memorialize the footsteps of the Revolutionary War general on his celebrated “Farewell Tour” of the then-24 United States of America in 1824 and 1825. Official markers are being placed in time for the tour’s 2024 Bicentennial (see details at thelafayettetrail.org). Lafayette was met along that tour by an enormous outpouring of love and respect from the American people, even though 50 years had lapsed since the war.
The Oct. 15 event will explore the meaning of this juxtaposition represented by the name “Lafayette-Pointer Park.” Pointer refers to George Pointer, a formerly enslaved man born in 1773 who had been hired out by George Washington to work on his canal project. It was Pointer’s descendants who later settled on Broad Branch Road in Chevy Chase DC and lived there for generations before their small community was evicted in 1928 to make way for Lafayette School and park.
The lively discussion will engage Icher and Carruth to consider this 21st Century reckoning of racial injustice from the points of view of Lafayette and George Washington as they would have assessed the moral foundations of the republic they helped establish — a foundational contradiction of the American polity between the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution legalizing slavery that issued from the convention in Philadelphia 11 years later.
(Thursday) 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Virtual Event Details
Event has already taken place!