WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 6, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that one of her oldest priorities, restoration of the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site in the Shaw neighborhood, is moving forward with the National Park Service (NPS) awarding a $5.6 million contract to Perini Management Services to begin the restoration project. NPS announced the contract is for the first phase of a three-phase contract. Woodson is the originator of Negro History Week, which today has become Black History Month, in February. After trying for years to get funding to rehabilitate the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site, Norton wrote to the President to ask him to include $3.2 million in his fiscal year 2014 budget. After the President included the money, Norton got House and Senate appropriators to include the $3.2 million, which will make up the majority of the $5.6 million contract, the remainder coming from a variety of NPS funding sources.
Phase one is scheduled to begin in June and will restore the interior and exterior of Dr. Woodson’s home, along with stabilizing adjacent buildings. Phase one will be completed in 12-18 months, after which the site will be open to the public on a limited basis through pre-arranged tours. The project has been delayed by the resistance of owners to sell adjacent properties and by slow appropriations from Congress, but Norton has continued to press this priority among the thousands of outstanding NPS projects nationwide. To further expedite the project, NPS met with Norton and made the Carter G. Woodson Home the first-ever NPS historic site to be completed through a private-public partnership.
“Getting this project goes back more than 20 years, when my former Banneker Jr. High School history teacher, Bill Simon, and other Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) members brought this idea to my attention,” Norton said. “There have been challenges and delays to getting this project completed, but I am excited to see progress on such a critical project to our city. Dr. Woodson was the father of Black history, organized ASALH, and published popular materials for children and adults on African American history, and his work will be honored and appreciated in the house where he lived. Because of his works’ importance to African American history, there is no question that the site is likely to become a new popular tourist destination. This is the beginning of another long process, but I intend to keep pushing forward, particularly now that completion is in sight.”
Norton has been pressing for sufficient funding for the project since the passage of her 2003 bill, the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site Act, which designated the home and the adjoining Association for ASALH headquarters, a NPS site.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in 1926, which has evolved into Black History Month, and is commemorated at the White House and throughout the United States annually. Dr. Woodson, only the second African American to receive a Harvard PhD, is one of the most distinguished American historians and the central figure credited with rescuing the history of African Americans at a time when racist propaganda asserted that Blacks were inferior and had no substantive history beyond slavery.