Howard Dilworth Woodson was active in city-wide efforts to improve all aspects of city life in the District. Woodson concentrated his efforts in the far Northeast section of the city including the Deanwood neighborhood. He moved into the area in 1913 and for the remainder of his life was the foremost leader in the effort to provide school, sewer and water systems.
Woodson worked tirelessly for the improvement and modernization of the Deanwood neighborhood. He was responsible for the widening and surfacing of Benning Road, which at that time was a one-lane road.
H.D. Woodson was the son of Lewis Woodson, one of the first ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and, along with Daniel Payne, helped found Wilberforce University, the first historically black university to be owned and operated by African Americans.