Literary landmarks, places where authors find the right mixture of inspiration and peace to create, are not found only beneath Portugal's piercing blue skies or along the nippy beaches of New England. Though less exotic, some District sites are notable for having sheltered major black literary figures.
Some, including the house at 321 U St. NW where poet Paul Laurence Dunbar lived at the turn of the century, have been razed. Author-philosopher Kelly Miller's house at 2225 Fourth St. NW, a longtime gathering place for a male literary exchange, is now the site of a Howard University dormitory.
Among those landmarks still standing, however, is poet Georgia Douglas Johnson's red brick house at 15th and S streets NW, where Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, Sterling Brown and others in the Saturday Nighters literary group met in the 1920s and '30s.
The Mu-So-Lit Club, another all-male group founded in 1905 to promote music, social studies and literature, met in the Washington Conservatory of Music, at Ninth and R streets NW.
Educator Anna Julia Cooper, the club's first woman member, held literary gatherings in her home at 1706 17th St. NW. Poet-playwright Angelina Grimke, niece of the well-known abolitionist by the same name, decades later opened her house at 1415 Corcoran St. NW to black writers.
Critic Alain Locke, the first black Rhodes Scholar and the editor of the anthology "The New Negro," lived at 1326 R St. NW while he was chairman of the philosophy department at Howard University.
Historian Carter G. Woodson ran a publishing business in his house at 1538 Ninth St. NW, which is now designated a historical landmark. It served as a working center for writers including Langston Hughes, who lived here in the 1920s.
Poet Sterling Brown's childhood home on the Howard campus was demolished years ago, but another Brown landmark is the Lincoln Congregational Church at 11th and R streets NW, where his father was pastor and the family lived in an upstairs apartment. Brown now lives on Kearney Street in Northeast Washington.
District native Jean Toomer, inspired partly by scenes along Seventh Street NW, wrote "Cane," a collection of fiction and prose, while living at what is now the 1400 block of Harvard Street NW, home of his grandfather, P.B.S. Pinchback, who at one time served as Louisiana's only black governor.