In Washington, there has always seemed to be one common goal in the summer – going someplace by foot, streetcar, train or boat to relax and escape the hot, sticky weather. On May 8, 2017, historian Patsy Mose Fletcher presented an Overbeck Lecture based on her recent book: Historically African American Leisure Destinations around Washington, DC. She described how and where residents relaxed during the late nineteenth- to the mid-twentieth century, when they flocked to nearby picnic grounds and pleasure gardens or to the amusement parks and resorts along the rivers and Chesapeake Bay. Focusing particularly on the leisure destinations of African Americans during that time of segregation, Ms. Fletcher’s powerpoint presentation provided a look at many facilities that have disappeared, others that have changed dramatically, and even one Capitol Hill facility that still exists.
Ms. Fletcher, an independent historian, is a consultant in the field of historic preservation and community development. Her book, Historically African American Leisure Destinations around Washington, DC, was available for purchase at the lecture.