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 Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park Partnership


Josephine Butler, Vice President Al Gore, Steve Coleman, President Bill Clinton, Lt. Henry Berberich, Officer J.B. Rice, Rock Creek Park Superintendent Bill Shields (left to right) on April 21, 1994 in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. The revitalization of the park was honored by President Clinton as "a shining example for the nation."

Since 1990, Parks & People's community coalition, Friends of Meridian Hill, has become an international model of community park revitalization with these impacts:


Community Service


  • Orchestrated 160,000 hours of volunteer service in park restoration, performances, and environmental education
  • Brought over 300 community agencies, schools, churches, and business into the FOMH coalition
  • Mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to reclaim forgotten parks and the communities around them
  • Revived safe, clean recreation areas for thousands of innercity children and people of all walks of life
  • Sparked replication projects at parks across the region, from Anacostia to the Blue Ridge, and beyond


Neighborhood Development and Economic Revitalization


  • Quintupled annual Park visitation and dramatically lowered neighborhood apartment vacancy rates
  • Resuscitated a largely abandoned multi-million-dollar park in the District’s most diverse neighborhood
  • Helped launch pilot job-training and business development projects for low-income residents
  • Reached out to link innercity parks to dozens of community development programs and to heritage tourism

Citizen Action

  • Helped win millions in funding increases for Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X and other D.C. parks – first in over a decade
  • Started a network of park support groups throughout the region – a new constituency for parks


Law and Justice


  • Helped Park Police cut crime at Meridian Hill over 98%, making a violent park into a model of safety
  • Advanced a comprehensive, prevention-based model partnership in community policing
  • Coordinated community assistance to police in breaking the cycle of crime
  • Fought hate crime and promoted steps to increase public safety by strengthening communities




  • Conducted over 300 tours and park educational programs for thousands of residents and visitors
  • Taught hands-on park courses in Neighborhood History and Environment
  • Produced living history programs on local cultural history
  • Brought over 30,000 students, from daycare to graduate school, into the parks


Arts and Humanities


  • Co-sponsored over 350 community performances at Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X Park
  • Brought back free sunset concerts, dance, and theater after a 20-year hiatus, attended by thousands
  • Assisted dozens of cultural institutions in using the park as part of their facilities
  • Revived Meridian Hill Park as an innercity performing arts center, and as a heritage site linked to other parks


Health and Human Needs


  • Conducted dozens of park programs to prevent violence
  • Provided community service referrals to homeless people, substance addicts, and others in need


Neighborhood Preservation


  • Led campaign to complete the park with visitor center/police substation, play areas, and concert center, and lighting
  • Helped win designation of the park as the first U.S. National Historic Landmark in the designed landscape category
  • Educated the media and public about the history of Meridian Hill community and its parks
  • Planted over 200 specimen trees in memory of community leaders
  • Sponsored preservation workshops and a successful search for a lost Meridian Hill sculpture


National Recognition


  • 1994 Leadership Award for the leading U.S. community/parks partnership, National Park Foundation
  • Led the largest march for parks in America on the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, covered nationwide
  • Coverage in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and CNN
  • Five Commendations, United States Park Police

Read articles about Meridian Hill or learn more about the park's history.