History

A historic building constructed for the True Reformers, an African American organization designed to promote social change. The True Reformer Building was the first building in the United States to be designed, financed, built, and owned by the African American community after Reconstruction.

Historic image of the true reformer building. Coca Cola mural is evident.

A Civic & Cultural Landmark

The True Reformer Building is a historic building constructed for the True Reformers, an African American organization designed to promote social change. The True Reformer Building was the first building in the United States to be designed, financed, built, and owned by the African American community after Reconstruction. Located at 1200 U Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C., it was designed by John Anderson Lankford, the city’s first African-American registered architect. The building was commissioned by the Grand United Order of True Reformers in 1902 and was dedicated on July 15, 1903.

Over the years, the building has housed numerous civic and cultural institutions, including the Washington Conservancy, the DC Chapter of the National Negro Business League, the Boys Club of the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia and the First Separate Battalion, an African-American branch of the DC National Guard

The building was used by a host of community organizations, musical groups, and societies for events, celebrations, and concerts. The legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington gave performances here. Public Welfare Foundation purchased the True Reformer Building in 1999 and carefully renovated the building as its new headquarters to better suit the needs of the community.

Today Public Welfare Foundation is committed to keeping the spirit alive by hosting various events, convenings, and celebrations. We also share our space with the nonprofit community who are looking for event space free of charge.

130111PWFBUILDINGWDC003

Host your Next Event in the True Reformer Building!