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African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC

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James Wormley

James Wormley

James Wormley (1819-1884), free-born like his parents, was one of a number of African Americans entrepreneurs with downtown hospitality and service businesses. His five-story Wormley's Hotel opened here in 1871, catering primarily to wealthy and politically powerful white clientele. It hosted the “Wormley Hotel conference,” at which representatives of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden brokered a deal over the contested presidential election of 1876. This “Compromise of 1877” led to Hayes assuming the Presidency, the removal of troops from the South and the end of federal Reconstruction. Wormley's son sold the hotel in 1893, and Union Trust Bank replaced it in 1906.

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African American Heritage Trail

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DC, Washington

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James Thompson Wormley

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Posted By: Ray Gurganus


Updated: 7-16-2020