Highlights from February Board Week

Written by: Ann Dillon, President General
February 20, 2018

Friends are often the reason so many of us continue our work with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Our mission is certainly at the forefront of our involvement, but it is always rewarding to get together. Sunday, January 28, the Washington, D.C., Daughters arranged to host a dessert reception honoring Tadeusz Kościuszko, an American Patriot from Poland and invited the Executive Officers. The event was held in the home of the Polish Ambassador. If you are unfamiliar with this patriot, now is the time to discover his very valuable contribution to the American cause for freedom.

In addition to our usual work and reports, the February Executive week gives us the opportunity to recognize our employees and express our appreciation for their loyalty to our organization. We recognized 15 employees this year with a combined 230 years of service at DAR. Two were honored for being with us for 35 years each. Following the ceremony we enjoyed a catered luncheon and had a more informal time to recognize their dedication.

On February 1, the start of Black History Month, we were pleased to be invited to the Department of the Interior for a ceremony celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the mural depicting Marian Anderson’s historic 1939 Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The mural, located on the lower level of the Department of the Interior and titled “An Incident in Contemporary American Life,” was originally dedicated on January 6, 1943. At that dedication, Marian Anderson sang The Star Spangled Banner, while Charles Houston, acting Dean of Howard University Law School, presented the mural to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. The following day on January 7, 1943, Marian Anderson performed a charity concert to a sold-out, integrated audience of 4,000 at DAR Constitution Hall.

It was a pleasure to be among guests that included representatives from the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum in Philadelphia, descendants of the artist, Mitchell Jamieson and Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who marked the occasion by signing a proclamation naming the mural as the first element within the new African American Civil Rights Network Act, a program intended to preserve and protect the memory of the civil rights movement.. The occasion of Marian Anderson’s memorable concert became a benchmark in the civil rights movement and we are grateful for the progress that has been made in America since that time.

Another important event occurred when Joanne Zumbrun, Senior National President of the Children of the American Revolution and I signed a Mutual Consent Agreement insuring that this vital organization continues to occupy space in our Headquarters at 1776 D Street NW. We are delighted to continue to have the C.A.R. with us. To further underscore our commitment to the C.A.R., the Dillon Executive Committee set aside a gift from the President General’s Project for them to use for their Museum, which occupies space outside their Headquarters in the area approaching the National Officers Club Assembly Room. You may recall that your generous donations on Giving Tuesday back in November supported this initiative. On Friday morning C.A.R. hosted a coffee in the Pennsylvania Foyer for members in town for the National Board of Management meeting.

Friday afternoon we signed Valentines for Veterans being treated at the D.C. Veterans Hospital and for family members staying at Fisher House. Following the service project, we loaded on to two buses for a short trip to tour Tudor Place in Georgetown. This is a National Historic Landmark built for the granddaughter of Martha Washington. It was continually occupied until 1983 and contains an eclectic mix of items used during the 19th and 20th centuries, including many objects belonging to the Washington family. Among the items displayed was a delegate ribbon from the first DAR Continental Congress belonging to Britannia Wellington Peter, the great granddaughter of Martha Washington, whose national DAR number was 000215.

We concluded the evening with an Italian feast at Carmine’s enjoying one another’s company and furthering friendships made from across the nation.

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