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In memoriam: Louise Daniel Hutchinson.

Louise Daniel Hutchinson, scholar of black history, dies at 86

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post, 26 October 2014.

WASHINGTON — Louise Daniel Hutchinson, who gathered, documented and preserved African-American history during 13 years as director of research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum in Southeast Washington, died Oct. 12 at her home in Washington. She was 86.

The cause was vascular dementia, said a daughter, Donna Marshall.

Mrs. Hutchinson spent much of her adult life working to collect and share with others the richness of African-American history in Washington and beyond. In 1974, after years of community activism, she joined the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, as it was then known. She retired in 1987.

Under the leadership of founding director John Kinard, she oversaw exhibits covering years of history in the Anacostia community, the movement of blacks from Africa to overseas colonies, and the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, the former slave, abolitionist and distinguished writer.

She took particular interest in documenting the lives of African-American women such as Anna Cooper, who was born into slavery and became a noted educator and equal rights advocate. “Even black history hasn’t given black women their proper place,” Hutchinson once told the New York Times.

Gail Lowe, the Anacostia Community Museum’s senior historian, credited Mrs. Hutchinson with elevating the work of the research department and using individual life stories to illuminate broader history. “In telling the local stories,” Lowe said in an interview, “she validated community experiences.” Mrs. Hutchinson was “a stickler for accuracy and authenticity,” Lowe said, and insisted researchers keep magnifying glasses on hand for the close inspection of old photographs. Hutchinson, Lowe recalled, spotted Harriet Tubman and W.E.B. Du Bois in previously unidentified images.

“Because of the level and depth of her work,” Lowe said, “she was able to … provide accurate, documented information that other researchers and scholars relied on.”

Louise Hazel Daniel, one of nine children, was born June 3, 1928, in Ridge, Maryland, and raised in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington. Her parents, Victor Hugo Daniel and Constance E.H. Daniel, were teachers and friends of the African-American intellectuals and educators George Washington Carver and Mary McLeod Bethune.

After graduating in 1946 from the old Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, Mrs. Hutchinson attended colleges including Howard University and did secretarial work before beginning her career in historical preservation. In the 1970s, she assisted curators at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery with the selection of paintings featuring prominent African-Americans, her daughter said.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s writings included the books “The Anacostia Story, 1608-1930″ in 1977, “Out of Africa: From West African Kingdoms to Colonization” in 1979 and “Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South” in 1981.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s daughter Laura Hutchinson died in infancy, and her son Mark Hutchinson died in 1974, at age 8, of a brain tumor.

Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr. of Washington; five children, Ronald Hutchinson of Fort Washington, Maryland, David Hutchinson of Clifton Park, New York, Donna Marshall of Laurel, Maryland, Dana McCoy of Washington and Victoria Boston of Clinton, Maryland; two brothers, John Daniel of Washington and Robert Daniel of Atlanta; a sister, C. Dorothea Lawson of Bay City, Texas; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

In addition to her museum work, Mrs. Hutchinson participated in such initiatives as the development of D.C. public school curriculum in the 1980s, which incorporated the roles of black leaders in local events.

“I have real concerns about accuracy of history,” she told The Washington Post. “I believe it must reflect [the] participation of all.”

——

I met my Dudley cousins in the fall of 1985, just in time to be invited to the first (and last, as it were) Henderson-Aldridge Reunion in July 1986. That weekend turned out to have been a fortuitous window of time, in which I was privileged to meet so many elders not long for this world. Had I been more conscientious and intentional, I could have learned so much more than I did, but that’s a genealogist’s perennial regret. So many kin I saw only that one time — Johnnie “Dink” Henderson, Freeman Aldridge Sr., H.B. Wynn, Evelyn Williams McKissick, Virginia Aldridge Oldham. With others, however, I built relationships that lasted years.
Last night, I found Louise Daniel Hutchinson’s obituary. Her husband Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr., my cousin, sent me a copy of her work on Anna Julia Cooper shortly after the 1986 reunion. It was my introduction to the incredible Cooper, though she is from my home state. It was also an introduction to the wonderful work that Cousin Louise did as a researcher and historian. As we traded information about our Aldridge links — Cousin Ellsworth’s grandfather Zebedee Aldridge was my great-grandfather Thomas Aldridge‘s brother — she challenged me to take seriously and document diligently the stories of everyday families. In 2001, I spent a few days with her and Ellsworth at their home in Anacostia, poring over and copying family photos and lapping up her wisdom and knowledge of D.C.’s African-American history. We had lost contact as her health declined, but I have always treasured her warmth and encouragement and hope that in some small way, Scuffalong:Genealogy honors her memory.
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Louise Daniel Hutchinson holding a photo of her parents. Courtesy of The Washington Post.
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One thought on “In memoriam: Louise Daniel Hutchinson.

  1. PEGGY SEATS says:

    Mrs. Louise Hutchinson, one of the beloved Members of the Washington Interdependence Council [Administrators of the Benjamin Banneker Memorial endeavor, now in its 23rd year] sorely miss this Beautiful Spirit, along with our other Beloved Board Members who have also now transitioned: Dr. Dorothy Height; Dr. John Hope Franklin; Col. Ezra Cummings; Dr. Abdulalim Shabazz; and all those who were and are devoted to the success of a long overdue Successful Establishment of a World Class Living Memorial, replete with the Benjamin Banneker Institute of Math & Science Technology, to train America’s youth as Leaders in the STEMs from age seven on through to college,

    This 23 year endeavor, will help to finally honor both the HISTORIC PRESERVATION LEGACY OF “AMERICA’S FIRST BLACK MAN OF SCIENCE” and “A MAN OF MANY FIRSTS” as the Washington Interdependence Council [Administrators of this highly underrated and long overdue endeavor] which will serve as an inspiration to America’s children, and help them to both believe that they can master the STEMs, and serve to pay long overdue tribute to the Founding Father’s of America, telling the story of all of the Founding Fathers of the first created National Capital in modern history, located along the half mile corridor of L’Enfant Plaza, which the Washington Interdependence Council brought in $138 million to pay for the now complete basic RENOVATION OF L’ENFANT PLAZA, both surface and subterranean, although yet to receive ONE RED CENT for our 23+ years of paying for the site’s renovation AND PROVIDING THE VISION OF ITS RENOVATION AS A LONG OVERDUE HISTORIC PRESERVATION SITE TO TELL THE UNTOLD COMMEMORATIVE PUBLIC HISTORY STORY OF THE EIGHT FOUNDING FATHERS OF AMERICA, ESPECIALLY BANNEKER’S ROLE IN THE PROCESS.

    The effort to FINALLY CORRECT THIS EGREGIOUSLY RACIST WRONG, has been an uphill and EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL, RACIST, SEXIST AND CLASS BIASED STRUGGLE FOR THE WASHINGTON INTERDEPENDENCE COUNCIL, AS WE ARE ALSO ADVOCATES OF THE NEED FOR GREATER DIVERSITY [Ethnically, Sexually and Otherwise in the social and political landscape of America]. The proposed World Class Living Memorial will ALSO SERVE AS A LIVING MEMORIAL TO TRAIN CHILDREN, FROM AGE SEVEN ON THROUGH TO COLLEGE AS LEADERS IN THE STEMs, A MUCH NEEDED REDRESS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT RANKS AROUND 26TH IN STEM EDUCATION TRAINING WORLD WIDE.

    WE PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN, AND THAT AMERICA WILL RELINQUISH ITS ERROR OF WAYS; AND ITS OBSESSION WITH SEXISM AND RACISM; AND COME AROUND TO TRULY SUPPORT, RATHER THAN EXPLOIT; AND ALLOW THE WASHINGTON INTERDEPENDENCE COUNCIL TO NOT ONLY BENEFIT FROM ITS 23 YEARS OF UNPAID, EXCRUCIATING DIFFICULT WORK THAT HAS BOTH UNDERWRITTEN, WITH THE TEA21 [Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century] FUNDS BROUGHT INTO THE COFFERS OF THE DC DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION; AND OUR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INVESTMENT SPENT BY OUR AGENCY OVER THESE 23 GRUELING YEARS; IN THIS MUCH NEEDED STEM EDUCATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION EFFORT, FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN’S [AND THIS COUNTRY’S BENEFIT], BY FINALLY DOING RIGHT BY BOTH OUR AGENCY AND THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN, ALLOWING THEM TO BE INSPIRED TO UNDERSTAND AND ADOPT THE MUCH NEEDED SOCIAL AND COMMUNAL NEED FOR BETTER PRACTICES OF “INTERDEPENDENCE” AND BETTER FAIRNESS IN ITS INVENTORY OF NATIONAL MEMORIALS IN THIS COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY WITH THE LONG OVERDUE INCLUSION OF THE BENJAMIN BANNEKER MEMORIAL AND INSTITUTE OF MATH & SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ALONG THE GATEWAY CORRIDOR OF L’ENFANT PLAZA, WHICH DEAD ENDS AT ITS SOUTHERN CORRIDOR, WITH A NATIONAL CIRCULAR PARK THAT WAS NAMED FOR MR. BANNEKER BY NOTED HISTORIAN, AUTHOR, AND OUR LATE BOARD MEMBER, MRS, LOUISE HUTCHINSON; AS WELL AS THE EXTREMELY ARDUOUS AND TO END THE SYSTEMIC SNUBBING, OPPRESSION AND SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION OF THE WASHINGTON INTERDEPENDENCE COUNCIL [ADMINISTRATORS OF THE BANNEKER MEMORIAL] FOUNDED BY LONG TIME ACTIVIST AND CHANGE AGENT, PEGGY C. SEATS, FOUNDER AND CEO OF SAME.

    I PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN.

    PEGGY C. SEATS, FOUNDER/CEO
    WASHINGTON INTERDEPENDENCE COUNCIL
    [ADMINISTRATORS OF THE BANNEKER MEMORIAL]
    SEATSPC@AOL.COM
    http://WWW.BANNEKERMEMORIAL.ORG
    202.387.3380

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