Christian Fleetwood (1840-1914) was one of the first African Americans to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor -- for his heroism at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm near Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War.
Fleetwood was born in Baltimore to a free mother. As a young man he traveled to Liberia and later graduated from Ashmun Institute in Oxford, Pennsylvania, the predecessor to Lincoln University. In Washington he worked as an editor, as a clerk for the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, and later at the War Department. He helped organize black militia and National Guard units in Washington and was the first instructor of the Colored Washington High School Cadet Corps. He also led a number of church choirs.
Fleetwood's wife Sara (1849-1908), a member of the first graduating class (1896) of the Freedmen's Hospital Training School, became the superintendent of the Training School for Nurses in 1901.
The Fleetwoods hosted “Evenings at Home,” weekly literary and cultural gatherings, beginning in the 1870s. Their house no longer exists. A new house was built at 319 U Street in the 1990s by Manna, Inc., a non-profit housing group.
Sandra Fitzpatrick and Maria R. Goodwin, The Guide to Black Washington, rev. ed. (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1999), 97.
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