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In 1920, an African-American woman named Hattie Sewell applied for a concession to run the teahouse at Peirce Mill. She won the contract, paid a fee of $45 a month, and increased business at the teahouse.

But a prominent neighbor, E.S. Newman, complained that Peirce Mill had become “a rendezvous for colored people, soon developing into a nuisance.” According to Rock Creek Park’s Administrative History, there were no other complaints about Ms. Sewell’s establishment. Nevertheless, her contract was terminated in 1921.

One hundred years later, the Friends of Peirce Mill and Rock Creek Park are working with students from Howard University to learn more about Hattie Sewell and to create a short film about her life.

In this virtual conversation, Angela Kramer from the Friends of Peirce Mill will share the fascinating results of this new research, and draw  connections between Hattie Sewell and the times in which she lived.

This project was supported by a grant from HumanitiesDC as part of the “Humanities Grant Program,” an initiative funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Humanities DC

This is a Virtual Event