Skip Navigation
(0) My Trip Planner
email print
  • 7337 Monticello St.
    Pittsburgh, PA 15208
  • Category: Landmarks
  • Sub-Category: African American History Guide
  • Add to Trip Planner

Robert L. Vann Home

Brief History

This was the home of the long-time publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier, located on a popular street for black social and residential life in Homewood during the 1920s. Vann was an attorney and one of the first black graduates of the University of Pittsburgh Law School before founding the Courier in 1911. He became one of Pittsburgh's most influential black leaders during the 1920s and 1930s. Some years later, Vann bought adjacent houses for friends and family to move from other parts of the city, inciting whites to wage "The Battle of Monticello Street," a non-violent residency conflict. Vann's wife achieved national prominence as well. When her parents died in the 1890s, Jessie Ellen Mathews was shunted from relative to relative, once even left alone on the streets. After being beaten by an aunt, she went to Harrisburg to live with her brother and in 1904 graduated with honors from Harrisburg High School. She then married Vann. When he died in 1940, Mrs. Vann assumed many of his duties at the Courier while continuing to serve on several national boards. A frequent White House guest, Mrs. Vann was appointed by President Eisenhower to represent the U.S. at the inauguration of President Tubman of Liberia and was offered a post at the United Nations. Her remarkable life story was documented on the popular 1950s television show, This is Your Life.

Condition/Architectural Notes

Two-and-a-half story brick house