LeDroit Park, that neat enclave of Victorian homes south of Howard University, will soon have a new focal point named for one of its most illustrious former residents. The circle at Third and T streets NW, pictured above, which has been listed blandly as U.S. Reservation 311 since the origins of Washington, will be renamed Anna J. Cooper Circle.
The D.C. City Council enacted renaming legislation last month. The measure will go into effect early next spring after the measure lays over for a legally required review by Congress. There are plans for landscaping the circle.
Cooper was one of Washington's authentic great people. Born a slave in North Carolina in 1858, she was graduated from Ohio's Oberlin College and became principal of the old M Street High School -- Washington's first high school for blacks, and the forerunner of present-day Dunbar High School.
In 1925 she became the first Washington woman to win a doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris. Later she became a college president. She died in 1964 at the age of 105. In 1981, the Smithsonian's Anacostia Neighborhood Museum published her biography.
The legislation was sponsored by David A. Clarke, then the Ward 1 council member and now chairman, at the request of LeDroit's Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B.