At the next Overbeck History Lecture, Dr. Mark Herlong will discuss the life and adventures of a little-known Capitol Hill resident, Mary Ann Shiner Almarolia (1833-1904). Mary was the daughter of Michael Shiner, the black Navy Yard worker and politician whose famous diary is housed at the Library of Congress. As an infant, she was kidnapped by slave traders and freed by her father’s heroic efforts. In an era when mixed marriages and opportunities for blacks were rare, Mary married an Italian and ran a string of successful businesses on Capitol Hill, including hotels, restaurants, a bawdy house, a nursery and a dance hall called the Razzle-Dazzle (a.k.a. The Burning Rag). In the late 19th century she was considered one of the most influential women in Washington, a confidant of politicians and diplomats – and a possible murderer.
As all Overbeck Capitol Hill History lectures, this presentation is free and open to the public.
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital