African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC
— 728 23rd Street, NW —
St. Mary's was the first Episcopal church in Washington where African Americans could worship free of discrimination. It was established in 1867 by 28 men and women, many of them formerly enslaved. Two White congregations, St. John's Church and Church of the Epiphany, worked with founders to establish St. Mary's. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton donated the chapel from a decommissioned Civil War hospital, and another benefactor donated this lot. The present (1887) building was designed by White architect James Renwick, Jr., and features a stained glass window from the Tiffany studio. St. Mary's was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
: St. Mary's Episcopal Church choir, 1900. Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library
]:Saint Mary's Episcopal Church,
listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was the first Black Episcopal church built in the City of Washington.
Saint Mary's represents a landmark in the history of the Black American struggle for equal rights and human dignity, as its original name implied, "St. Mary's Chapel for Colored People" was a place where Black people could worship without being subjected to discriminatory rules.
The opening service of St. Barnabas Mission (as it was provisionally called) was held on June 9, 1873.
This late Victorian-style structure was designed by James Renwick. The opening service in this building was held on January 20, 1887. With minor exceptions, the buildings have not been altered since the opening service.
in the City of Washington
Created by Protestant Episcopal Church Diocese of Washington
in convention May 12, 1927
the Right Reverend James E. Freeman, Bishop
This tablet provided by
The Mattingly Family