Black History Month #4 - Langston Terrace Dwellings

We’re doing a fact a day in honor of Black History Month - we hope you’ll follow along!

Langston Terrace Dwellings, c. 1937. Photo courtesy Paul R. Williams Project.

Greenbelt planners realized probably c. 1936 that there was too much opposition to building federal housing for Black families in Prince George’s County. So they gave up on the Rossville Rural Development. One reason that they cited, according to Joseph Arnold, author of the seminal book, A New Deal in the Suburbs, was that there was another housing project being built in nearby Washington, DC that was specifically for Black residents.

Langston Terrace, on Benning Road, NE, was a large apartment complex being built by the Public Works Administration, not the Resettlement Administration, the agency that was building Greenbelt. Hilyard Robinson and Paul R. Williams, both well-known Black architects, designed it and David A. Williston, the first professionally trained landscape architect in the US, did the site plan. Williston would go on to complete landscape architecture designs for historically Black colleges and universities, including Tuskegee University. More on Hilyard Robinson and Paul R. Williams tomorrow!

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Preserving and sharing the New Deal history of an experimental planned community built by FDR in suburban Maryland in 1937 and still thriving today.