Etta Horn

Object Details

Phillip Ratner
Etta Horn
c. 1977
graphite on paper
Frame: 18 1/4 × 15 1/4 × 3/4 in. (46.4 × 38.8 × 1.9 cm)
This portrait honors activist Etta M. Horn-Prather (1928 – 2001), a seminal figure in the Welfare Rights Movement. Horn’s involvement with welfare advocacy began when antipoverty workers reached out to her in her segregated and neglected public housing complex, Barry Farms Dwellings. As a result, Horn became active in a tenants’ council named The Band of Angels which successfully negotiated at $1.5 million renovation. She founded the National Welfare Rights Organization in 1966 and was head of the Citywide Welfare Alliance. Horn frequently testified before Congress and drew attention to the problems faced by residents of the District. In one memorable instance, she told elected officials “You sit up here on the Hill and talk about building subways and bridges and parking lots for tourists and people from suburbia…It’s time to talk about the people who live here.” She went on to serve as the Director of D.C. Child Development Center on Martin Luther King Avenue SE for 25 years.
In 1977, the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum’s Board of Directors voted to include Horn’s 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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