A woman who committed most of her life to guiding her friends, neighbors, and community on the right path was honored with a street named after her, forever giving direction to the greater D.C. community.

“Janice Wade McCree Way” the sign reads high atop the hills at Langston Terrace, where McCree lived, loved, and led for 55 years. For 20 of those years, she was the Resident Council president. McCree died in December 2012 and had been a community activist in the historic Northeast community. 

“I can’t fill her shoes but I do my best to try to,” current Resident Council President Ester Hardesty said at the celebration in April.

Mary Brown, who worked McCree in the 1980s, called her a sister and a best friend. She recalled the time McCree helped get the heat fixed at Langston, spruced up the playground for the children, and took many kids on field trips to “experience something outside of their environment.”

“She deserved this honor. She worked tirelessly and she did it for free,” Brown said. “She cared for the people.”

Lisa Routh, McCree’s daughter, “My mother did not have a lot of money, but she had a lot of love.”

She said her mother was a generous, caring, and passionate woman who tried to raise awareness in the community about issues that mattered and to inspire children to live fulfilling lives. She remembers her mother seeking out government funding to achieve her goals, cooking meals to get people to attend local meetings, and finding grants to send the area children to summer camp.

“She never gave up. She believed that everyone had within themselves the capacity to turn their lives around,” Routh said. “I hope she is as proud of us as we are of her.”

Routh gave one of her mother’s sayings to close out her remarks, “If we get the short end of the stick, we can take that little stick and make it a magic wand.”

Raymond McCree, her son, echoed his sister’s statement that his mother believed everyone, no matter where they come, from should have the opportunity to do what they want to do with their lives. He spoke of the family who had come for the celebration, because family and community were most important to her.

And a great crowd came to celebrate the late McCree.

Sharon Lockwood, who with McCree created an informal godparent program for children encouraging them to remain in school. Raymond was Lockwood’s first godchild and Lockwood’s son was McCree’s first. Once they got their children through school, McCree began sending others to Lockwood.  

Dr. Takeisha Presson was one of those godchildren. She said if McCree saw something in you, “she honed in” and aligned that child with organizations and individuals that would be help them along the way. Presson, now a dentist, called her a resourceful woman and said she was just one of so many success stories.

“She always prayed for me, cared for me, mentored me,” she said. “You could not come into this neighborhood without knowing who she was. She was the front door.”

DCHA Board of Commissioners member Aquarius Vann-Ghasri who called McCree a legend.

Tyrone Parker, executive director of the Alliance of Concerned Men, said McCree’s spirit is alive and well in the community today.

“She was always a part of the transformation and had a heart that was big and gold,” he said.

Uniting Our Youth Executive Director Clarence Miles said McCree gave him an opportunity that no one else would give for an individual like himself. To repay that favor, he keeps giving back to the community, he said. He said, she would walk the community each day and “Leave no stones unturned.”

There was a spoken word artist and a singer who performed. Countless others spoke on McCree’s behalf, recounting stories of her diligence and service. Council member Kenyon McDuffie passed a resolution honoring McCree for her career working at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library as a procurement agent, testified for her community in front of city and federal officials, and created a scholarship fund, among other achievements.

Then the friends, family, neighbors, and more gathered under 24th and G Streets in Northeast and renamed it Janice Wade McCree Way. 

Family, friends, and neighbors celebrated the naming of Janice Wade McCree Way
Lisa Routh, McCree’s daughter
Mary Brown
Unveiling the street sign
Last modified: 5/12/2017 11:02:34 AM