Immediately before and during the Civil War, Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs laid the foundation for the city’s current urban plan. Meigs made his mark on the city ordering the construction of bridges, the Washington Aqueduct, and serving on a committee responsible for choosing the final plan for the city’s Civil War defenses. The forts and other structures constructed as part of this plan formed the basis for a number of the city’s present-day neighborhoods. Modern planners and local community leaders will discuss the legacy of Meigs’ work, and how it has helped or hindered the physical and social development of the city.

The program will be moderated by Cherie Ward, a professor of speech at UDC Community College. Ward has been working in the fields of television, radio and film for over 20 years. A former Miss District of Columbia and representative in the coveted Miss America Pageant, her professional poise is enhanced by educational successes. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Masters of Arts and Teaching Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Ward has completed her doctoral degree in Communication, Culture and Media Studies. Her doctoral thesis: “Using Poetry as a Communication Multimodality to Engage Selected African American Learners in Reading: A Case Study, is a way for her to continue the literacy discussion.

Tanya Washington

Tanya Washington Stern

Sue Taylor

Sue Taylor

Dean Herrin

Dean Herrin








Tanya Washington Stern, Deputy Director for Planning, Engagement and Design at the DC Office of Planning – Stern oversees the city’s planning projects including: neighborhood and citywide planning, the District’s Comprehensive Plan, facilities planning, waterfront planning, economic development and urban design initiatives.

Dr. Sue Taylor, Public Anthropologist-in-Residence at American University, and independent consultant in oral history and cultural heritage – Taylor’s current project focuses on Washington, D.C. Civil War Defenses 1861-1877 based on stories passed down about the large number of freedom seekers who escaped slavery and were  housed in camps near the present neighborhoods. The aim is to share stories of these communities in order to preserve this history.

Dean Herrin, Chief Historian for the National Capital Region of the National Park Service – He was co-editor and a contributor to the book Montgomery C. Meigs and the Building of the Nation’s Capital.  Herrin holds a PhD in American history from the University of Delaware, where he was a Fellow in the Hagley Program in the History of Industrial America.



When: Thursday, April 7, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Busboys and Poets, 14th and V (2021 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009)


On the first Thursday of each month in 2016, at the various Busboys and Poets locations throughout the city, we will look at the history of the city in 20 year increments. Specially chosen moderators and panelists will help link the obscure, monumental, marginalized, and mainstream stories about the city’s past with issues that are are relevant to present-day Washingtonians.

Click here for more information on the series.