Skip to main content

H.D. Woodson and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church Collection

Identifier: 093

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials found in the former home of Howard D. Woodson, including personal documents from his time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and items from when he served as the superintendent of Sunday school at the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church in Washington, D.C. Example materials include a commencement program, treasurer reports, a tax levy, monthly reports, class lists, teaching aides, annual reports, construction quotes and contracts, invoices, and speeches.


  • Creation: 1852-1913


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Howard D. Woodson was born April 26, 1876 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Western Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh) with a degree in civil engineering in 1899, becoming one of the first African-American men to do so. Woodson began his career working in the Pittsburgh area for companies such as the Carnegie Steel Company, the American Bridge Company, the Pittsburgh Coal Company, and the D. H. Burnham Company. He also worked for the United States Navy. In 1907, he moved to Washington, D.C. and began his long career with the Public Buildings Administration. Woodson continued working for the PBA until 1943, when he retired and began a private structural engineering practice.

Woodson lived at a number of addresses in the Northeast quadrant of the District, including 1450 S Street NE, 18 Quincy Place NE, 5008 Fitch Place NE, and 4918 Fitch Place NE. He took a particular interest in Northeast’s infrastructure, and was instrumental in improving the sewer systems, widening roads such as Benning Road, and having a bridge built over the Anacostia River at East Capitol Street. Woodson was also the founder of many Northeast civic associations, including the Northeast Boundary Civic Association, the Far Northeast Council, the Far Northeast Business and Professional Association, and the National Technical Association. In recognition of his work, Woodson High School at 5500 Eads Street NE was named in his honor.

Woodson also served as a Sunday school superintendent at the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church on M Street NW. Metropolitan A. M. E. was born out of segregation and discrimination in the Nation’s capital. African-American members of the Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church left the congregation in 1821 and formed their own church; they petitioned for and were granted acceptance by the National African Methodist Episcopal Church. These members began the Israel A. M. E. Church in 1821 and eventually joined up with the Union Bethel A. M. E. Church in 1870 (taking the name Metropolitan in 1872). The church has a long history of being on the forefront of African-American causes, including slavery and civil rights. Civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, and others have preached in their pulpit. The church was also the site of inaugural prayer services for the Clinton-Gore presidential administrations. H. D. Woodson eventually left the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church and joined the congregation of the Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church. He remained a member of this congregation until his death in March 1962.


0.5 Linear feet

1 Boxes


Processed without series. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by title or subject.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection were found by a resident of 18 Quincy Place NE (the home of H. D. Woodson from 1909 to 1913) and donated to the DC Public Library.

Related Materials

Collection 091, Minnie S. Woodson and Woodson Family Collection

Processing Information

Basic archival procedures were used at the time of processing.

H.D. Woodson and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church Collection
An inventory of H.D. Woodson and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church Collection at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Ryan P. Semmes.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001