NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, African American, Federal Government Employees, Harlem Renaissance Era, Major Literary Awardees

Willis Richardson
(November 5, 1889 – November 7, 1977)

512 U St. NW, LeDroit Park neighborhood, DC.
Marked with an historic plaque.

Richardson was one of the most prolific playwrights of the Harlem Renaissance period, considered a trailblazer for African American dramatists. He lived in DC from 1898 until his death in 1977.

His best-known play was The Broken Banjo (1925), winner of an Amy Spingarn Prize. He wrote over a dozen plays, including The Deacon's Awakening (1920), The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), Mortgaged (1924), and Boot-Black Lover (1926). Richardson worked in the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing in the Wetting Division from 1911 through his retirement in 1954. He directed the Little Theater Group in DC, and edited two anthologies, Plays and Pageants from the Life of the Negro (1930), and Negro History in Thirteen Plays (1935), co-edited with May Miller.