Two men connected to this 1956 midcentury modern house in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington were mentors in their respective fields to generations that came after them.
The house’s original owner, Jack Edward White, was a surgery professor, oncology department chairman and cancer research center director at Howard University. He was an authority on cancer among African Americans, and he served as a mentor to other black physicians who went on to specialize in cancer research and cancer surgery. White was one of the first African Americans to become a diplomate of the American College of Surgeons and to serve on the staff of the Washington Hospital Center. In a cruel twist of fate, White died of cancer at age 66 in 1988.
Froe Properties, a black-owned construction and real estate development company, hired renowned Cleveland architect Robert P. Madison to design several homes in Northeast Washington, including this one. Madison, who studied under Walter Gropius at Harvard University and spent a year at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a Fulbright scholar, is best known for designing the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. Locally, he designed the Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 15th and Girard streets NE.
His Cleveland-based firm, Robert P. Madison International, which opened in 1954, has trained nearly 200 black architects, engineers and planners since its inception.
White and his wife, Sara, raised five children in the home, and she continued to live in it until last year. Their son Jack E. White Jr., a former staff writer at The Washington Post, grew up in the home. He spent 29 years at Time magazine, where he was the first black senior editor and columnist at the magazine. Sara White and her daughters were active in the Brownies, the entry level of the Girl Scouts. A December 1962 photo taken at the home and published in The Washington Post Times-Herald featured a Brownie troop graduating to the Girl Scouts.
The house’s facade, with its low-slung roof protruding over two stone walls to create a carport, is deceptive. It doesn’t seem big enough for a family of seven, but the 3,672-square-foot house spreads out over several levels. The dining room, which is connected to the kitchen, overlooks the living room, with its sloping ceiling. Large panes of glass allow an abundance of natural light. Sliding-glass doors lead to a covered deck.
One of the more unusual features of the home is a wall separating the living room from the dining room. The wood paneling bows in slightly, adding curves in a room filled with asymmetrical lines and angles.
The kitchen and bathrooms have been updated recently, but much of the home retains its midcentury look.
The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house is listed at $875,000. An open house is scheduled Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Listing agent: Leigh Adams Slaughter, Long & Foster
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Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Jack E. White Jr. was the first black staff writer, bureau chief and editor at Time magazine. He was the first black senior editor and columnist at the magazine.
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