Who We Are

PROLOGUE DC IS A WOMAN-OWNED COMPANY based in Washington, DC. We are experienced historians, researchers, writers, speakers, and exhibit planners.

We are registered as a Certified Business Enterprise with the District of Columbia Department of Small and Local Development. We are also registered with the federal System for Award Management.

Understanding our city’s past helps us appreciate its unique 21st century culture. Enslaved and free African Americans, immigrants, wealthy landholders, prominent politicians, and many others—all of them built Washington. By helping to tell their stories, we present history that is relevant, accessible, and educational.

We feel fortunate to call the District of Columbia home. The city’s stories are our stories, too. PROLOGUE DC’s team is Mara Cherkasky and Sarah Shoenfeld, whose accomplishments can be seen in more detail on our “Projects” page. In brief:

Girl Scouts tend a garden at First and T streets NE in the 1920s.                   (Library of Congress)

MARA CHERKASKY is a historian, researcher, and writer/editor focusing on everything DC, especially the city’s racial history. A former journalist, she has researched and written/co-written 13 Neighborhood Heritage Trails as well as the DC 20th Century African American Civil Rights Tour. She has also authored books and articles, contributed research to exhibitions and documentary films, and developed historic-site signage. Before the pandemic Mara was often spotted in DC’s archives and libraries, or on the street conducting walking tours. Contact her at mara@prologuedc.com.

SARAH SHOENFELD is a public historian and independent scholar specializing in DC history. She is interested in the city’s historically racialized housing landscape and planning regime and the intersection of race and historic preservation. Working for Blackside, the film company best known for Eyes on the Prize: America in the Civil Rights Years, and for WGBH-TV on other Black-led film projects, influenced the trajectory of Sarah’s work following the completion of an M.A. in History at Northeastern University. After moving back to DC in 2000, Sarah was a historian for the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution and for projects such as Avoice (a virtual archive of the Congressional Black Caucus), America I AM: The African American Imprint, as well as several DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails. More recently, she has focused on DC’s history of civil rights organizing as a researcher, oral historian and writer for exhibits, historic landmark nominations, and other projects. Sarah also uses her work to advocate against the mass displacement and overpolicing of Black DC residents. Contact her at sarah@prologuedc.com.

We also work with other DC-based experts to find and tell the most comprehensive histories possible. Both Mara and Sarah are affiliated with the George Washington University as Non-Resident Scholars.

Photos in top banner, left to right: Center Market (Library of Congress); Bland’s Court, 1937 (Alley Dwelling Authority, Library of Congress); Inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt, 1905 (Library of Congress); Doorway Sculpture at Library of Congress (photo by Mary Belcher)