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The Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ has roots in the Civil War (1861-1865) with the founding of the Lincoln Mission as a school and community center at the corner of Ninth and R streets, NW. In 1880 ten members of the First Congregation Church (10th and G streets, NW) formed the Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church at the mission. In 1901, with Rev. Sterling Brown (father of poet Sterling Brown) as pastor, the church was renamed after merging with the Park Temple Congregational Church. The current church, designed by architect Howard Wright Cutler, was built in 1928 in the Italian Romanesque Revival style. Today it is known as Lincoln Temple United Church of Christ.

The church was also the site of the inaugural address to the fledgling American Negro Academy (ANA), the first major national black learned society in the United States. The ANA was founded in 1897 by Alexander Crummell, an Episcopalian clergyman who founded St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and other major intellectuals. Crummell served as first president and was succeeded by W.E.B. Du Bois, Archibald H. Grimke, John W. Cromwell, and Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, as the fifth and final president. The ANA folded in 1930.

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