Prather’s Alley Leads Off MVT Celebration of Black History Month

Friday February 4, 2022

Black History Month began Tuesday, and throughout February we’ll be highlighting African-American contributions toward the Triangle’s rich past, vibrant present, and exciting future.

As an embodiment of our past, present, and future, Prather’s Alley once contained a combination of residential, commercial, and light-industrial buildings at the turn of the 19th century. These included a bakery, a tinner’s shop, numerous private stable buildings, and a number of alley dwellings occupied by African-Americans. In fact, 11 African-American families – mostly poor and under-employed – lived in dwellings located in Prather’s Alley as compared to the working-class white immigrants who occupied the dwellings facing the public streets.

Today, MVT CID is partnering with EL Studio, urbanSEED, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E, the District Department of Transportation, and the DC Office of Planning on efforts to enhance non-motorist safety through conversion to one-way operations and other traffic calming interventions; and “re-imagine” the possibilities for activity within this historic space by planning recurring events intended to increase daytime and nighttime foot traffic while contributing to the area’s vibrancy and economic recovery through the Streets for People Grant Program.

Check out the related links below for a deeper dive into this important part of Mount Vernon Triangle history, and stay tuned for more of our Black History Month celebration in the weeks to come.

Related Links:

  • National Register of Historic Place Registration Form: Mount Vernon Triangle Historic District,
    August 1, 2006
  • DC Office of Planning: “DC Historic Alley Building Survey,” 2014
  • Triangle Times: “Prather’s Alley Safety Improvements Approved by ANC 6E,” September 10, 2021
  • Press Release: “Mayor Bowser and the DC Office of Planning Award $2.8 Million in Streets for People Grants to Boost Economic Recovery in Central Washington,” January 31, 2022
  • DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and DC Black History Celebration Committee: “Guide to events for Black History Month 2022,” February 2022

Image below: Sanborn Map of Prather’s Alley in 1904