The DC City Council on Dec. 1 approved a preliminary measure to rename our local park “Lafayette-Pointer Park and Recreation Center.” The addition of “Pointer” honors the Black community evicted from the 6-acre site in 1928 so a school and park could be built for whites only.
Tim Hannapel of Historic Chevy Chase DC, who spearheaded the two-year effort to have this racial injustice officially recognized, noted that substantial historic signage is also in the works.
This preliminary vote will require a second vote in two weeks, plus the approval of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. Read the Washington Post article about the hearing here.
HCCDC presented testimony to the DC City Council in September on the proposed legislation. The historical society had collected more than 500 signatures of neighbors supporting the name change to honor descendants of George Pointer, a man who was born enslaved in 1773 but went on to work for George Washington as a respected engineer. Pointer’s granddaughter later settled along Broad Branch Road in the 1840s and bought property there in the 1850s. That family, along with others, comprised a small community of Black landowners who thrived for more than 80 years before their eviction by eminent domain.
Among those who testified before the DC City Council was HCCDC Board Member James Fisher, an eighth-generation direct descendant of Pointer. Also testifying were two former Lafayette students. Click on this clip of testimony.