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History of Adams Morgan

The name Adams Morgan – once hyphenated – is derived from the names of two formerly segregated area elementary schools — the older, all-black Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School (now defunct) and the all-white John Quincy Adams Elementary School.Pursuant to the 1954 Bolling v. Sharpe Supreme Court ruling, District schools were desegregated in 1955. The Adams-Morgan Community Council, comprising both Adams and Morgan schools and the neighborhoods they served, was formed in 1958. The city drew boundaries of the neighborhood through four pre-existing neighborhoods – Washington Heights, Lanier Heights, Kalorama Triangle Historic District and Meridian Hill – naming the resulting area after both schools.


Throughout the 20th century, the Adams Morgan community has also stood on behalf of social justice, political activism, and inclusive, progressive values. Nearby All Souls Unitarian Church, the Potter's House cafe and bookstore, and Meridian Hill Park have all served as gathering places for activists dedicated to social change, and also function as civic centers of the greater community. 


In the late 1960s, a group of residents organized and worked with city officials to plan and construct a new elementary school and recreational complex that was conceived as a community hub, a concept that 40 years later has become a standard in public school facilities design. The development was named the Marie H. Reed Learning Center after Bishop Reed, a community activist, minister and leader. It featured a daycare center, tennis and basketball courts, a solar-heated swimming pool, health clinic, athletic field and outdoor chess tables.


From 2010 to 2012, one of the neighborhood's main commercial corridors, 18th Street NW, was reconstructed with wider sidewalks, more crosswalks and bicycle sharrows. As part of the upgrades all of the mature trees on the street were cut down.

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