By DaQuan Lawrence,
Special to the AFRO
The headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) headquarters will move from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The historic organization will be housed on the grounds of the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs (Reeves Center) in the historic U Street Corridor of the nation’s capital.
The Reeves Center will be completely demolished and construction on the new project is set to begin in 2025.
The move was announced after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made plans to redevelop the Reeves Center site with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). When the team announced Reeves CMC Venture as the developer on June 8, it marked one of the largest Equity Request For Proposal (RFPs) awarded by the District to date.
“As we welcome the NAACP to D.C., we are being intentional about redeveloping this site so that it meets the needs of our residents and moves us toward a more equitable future,” said Mayor Bowser.
Released in 2020 by Mayor Bowser, Equity RFP’s seek to enhance racial equity and make D.C. more inclusive by increasing access to development opportunities for organizations that are owned or majority controlled by Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
The project will honor the legacy to icons such as Frank D. Reeves and Mayor Marion Barry, with hopes of preserving the legacy of Black Broadway. Located at the intersection of 14th and U Street Northwest, the Reeves Center is a crossroad of culture that historically has been deeply connected to Black history and civil rights activism.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the intersection was vital to Black Washingtonians, and served as home to more than 300 Black-owned businesses, such as banks, hotels and theaters.
“The Reeves Center is symbolic of D.C.’s resilience, and as we make our comeback – this is an opportunity to double down on our commitment making our prosperity more inclusive and
preserving the history and culture of our community,” said Mayor Bowser.
The NAACP is just as excited to call the District home, carrying its fight for social justice for African Americans into the 21st century, the modern mission of the organization is “to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”
The organization’s founders include Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell and W.E.B. DuBois, and past leaders include Medgar Evers, Thurgood Marshall, Roy Wilkins and Julian Bond.
] marks yet another pivotal step towards preserving the deep, historically
Black roots of the U Street corridor,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “The NAACP is deeply appreciative of the hard work and thoughtful consideration that Mayor Bowser and her team have committed to this project.”
The District is specifically partnering with the NAACP to relocate its headquarters in commemoration of Franklin D. Reeves, lawyer and civil rights activist who, while working for the NAACP, was part of the team that shaped Brown v. Board of Education, the breakthrough case that led to segregated schools being unconstitutional and mandated school desegregation around the nation.
In addition to providing a permanent home and headquarters for NAACP, the new site will provide 322 residential rental units of housing, with 30 percent reserved for affordable dwelling units for D.C. households making at or below the Median Family Income (MFI).
Furthermore, the Reeves CMC project will feature a new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and School, the Viva School of Dance, the Washington Jazz Arts Institute, a Dave Chappelle Comedy Club and a restaurant by Food Network star chef, Carla Hall.
The project will also serve as a relocation site for the Christian Tabernacle Child Development Center, which helps children gain the skills they need to thrive using an original curriculum.
“As we continue to echo the calls of Black America in the halls of power, headquartering our offices within our nation’s capital will allow us to further our mission of affecting change on the issues that matter most to our community,” said Johnson. “We are encouraged by this partnership and are excited to call U Street home.”
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