Martha Ellis

Object Details

Phillip Ratner
Martha Ellis
c. 1977
graphite on paper
Frame: 18 1/4 × 15 1/4 × 3/4 in. (46.4 × 38.8 × 1.9 cm)
Martha Ellis (1886 – 1987) promoted recreation for youth in Anacostia and advocated for Black history. Ellis was born in Anacostia and attended Birney and Garfield Schools. In 1927, she began work at the Community Center. For the next ten years, she worked on public programming at the Center and took on a leadership role. Her career spanned three decades, including positions in recreation at Garfield and Francis Junior High School. She helped organize the annual Negro History Week program, which attracted speakers including George Washington Carver and Carter Woodson. Ellis belonged to multiple organizations including the CME Church, the Order of St. Luke, and the Eastern Star. A reflection of her investment in community and history, she said “I would like the people to know what Anacostia really was when I lived in it.”
In 1977, the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum’s Board of Directors voted to include Ellis’ portrait in “Phil Ratner’s Washington,” an exhibition honoring current and former Anacostia residents who contributed to the civic life of the community.
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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