The first time I heard about Josephine Butler was when I stepped into the building named after her––the Josephine Butler Parks Center. Located at 2437 Fifteenth Street NW in Washington, DC, adjacent to the Malcolm XPark (also known as Meridian Hill Park), the Josephine Butler Parks Center––referred to as the “Embassy of the Earth”––was once the former embassies of Hungary and Brazil. Operated by Washington Parks and People, a non-profit whose mission is to “grow city-wide park[s] based on community health and vitality by nurturing innovation and partnerships,” the Center is located on sacred grounds––as the Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park and adjacent area were once the loci for “Native American spiritual territory; the birthplace of both George Washington University, and an African-American theological seminary; and a Civil War Union Army hospital.”
While the Center itself is enchanting––its light-yellow exterior and interior serve as a popular wedding venue in Washington, DC––it is the resounding activism of Josephine Butler, a Black woman who catalyzed change in Washington, DC––that made me want to know more about her. I also began to wonder why I did not know about her or her political contributions prior to entering the Center. Read the article on Black Perspectives.