DC Almanac A-C

1724 20TH ST NW

RAINBOW HISTORY PROJECT Twentieth Street between R and S streets isn’t one of Dupont Circle’s more impressive side streets but in the Seventies that short block became central to many gay community institutions. At its heart was the three story townhouse at number 1724. . . From 1970 through the 1980s, the building at 1724 sheltered a long list of gay, leftist, and arts groups. For the gay community, it was home to Earthworks, Lambda Rising, the Gay Switchboard, the lesbian/feminist review off our backs and one of the earliest gay youth groups. Over the years, 1724 20th St NW housed the DC Switchboard, the Defense Committee for the Black Panthers, and the Youth International Parties (known as the Yippies. Businesses located there were Alternatives (“an outlet for community products”), Androgyne, Bread and Roses Music, and Amy Horowitz’s Roadwork. Also there were the Washington Area Free University, the American Society for Theatre Arts, and the Playwright’s Theatre (known as “the theatre in a shoe box”, with basement seating for 25 people). . .

During the May 1970 antiwar demonstrations in Washington, the DC Switchboard kept its offices open 24 hours a day and ran a first aid station for the protesters. And again, for the 1971 May Day attempt to shut down the city, DC Switchboard ran an in-house first aid station. Down in the basement was a Free Store run by DC Switchboard where you could take what you needed so long as you left something in return.

Michael Heller and his wife owned 1724. “He was a wonderful landlord, easy to work with, always willing to negotiate and be patient when the rent was late, and honest as the day was long,” remembers Deacon Maccubin. Low rents and tolerance attracted many of the tenants. . . A 1971 notice in the Quicksilver Times encouraged Earthworks customers to say “high” as they came in and get a free packet of rolling papers. . . Earthworks was DC’s first openly gay non-bar business. Its corner shelves of gay and lesbian books and magazines were the city’s first selection of gay literature and nonfiction. MORE


During the late 1960s, home of the Washington Free Press, Liberation News Service, Young Socialist Alliance, Dick Gregory for President, & Mobilization Against the War in Vietnam.

9:30 CLUB

WASHINGTON POST – Jon Bowers, 61, an attorney and real estate developer with an abiding affection for the arts, died Oct 6. . . In 1979, Mr. Bowers purchased the eight-story Atlantic Building at 930 F Street NW, bought out the lease of a failing punk club on the first floor called Atlantis and replaced it with his club, managed by his first wife, Dodie DiSanto. They called it the 9:30 Club, a play on the F Street address and the nightly opening time. [It later moved to its current address at 815 V NW] Small, hip and lively, the club soon became the District’s “alternative” mecca — alternative being punk, new wave, funk, reggae, roots rock, go-go and any other musical genre that more established club and concert bookers were reluctant to embrace. At a time when music lovers were reluctant to venture downtown, a lingering consequence of the 1968 riots, Mr. Bowers and his 9:30 Club were in the forefront as low rents and cheap real estate gradually attracted new galleries, restaurants and clubs, and people began coming back. As The Washington Post noted in 1995, “thousands of bands have passed through the 9:30’s back door, many of them impressed that their equipment was loaded in from the same alley John Wilkes Booth escaped through after assassinating Abraham Lincoln at nearby Ford’s Theatre.” Many of the bands — R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for example — went on to bigger and better venues, but the 9:30 dared to book them early. DiSanto told the City Paper in 1995 that the 9:30 Club survived because of “the incredible benevolence of Jon Bowers, who financed the whole thing.”. . .

Abolition movement

[This was originally published in the April 1982 issue of the DC Gazette, now the Progressive Review. Noted historian James O. Horton was, at the time, Associate Professor of History and American Civilization at George Washington University. The article was reprinted from ‘Humanities,’ the newsletter of the DC Community Humanities Council]

JAMES OLIVER HORTON – By mid-19th century, a quarter of Washington’s forty thousand residents were black, over 2,100 of whom were slaves. It was not unusual to see slaves chained together at ankle and wrist moving about the city being imported or exported by slave traders of the District. In Alexandria, the Franklin and Armfield Company, one of the largest slave traders in the country, maintained headquarters with branch offices in New Orleans. Closer in, there were several slaveholding and trading pens in the center city, many in sight of both the White House and the Capitol. Robe’s Pen at Seventh and B Streets, N. W., had been a popular spot for slave auctions, as was another pen just south of the Smithsonian at Eighth Street, S. W.

After 1830, such slave trading in the District was .under constant attack by northern abolitionists. The capital was the only area in slaveholding United States where the responsibility and authority of the Federal Government was clear cut. It was, therefore, an important focus for antislavery forces. During the 1830’s, the Congress was bombarded with antislavery petitions demanding that it move against slavery or at least the slave trade in the District. Congress resisted this pressure and the tireless efforts of John Quincy Adams, former President of the United States, then Senator from Massachusetts, who kept this issue before that body. Finally, the “gag rule” was evoked by the Congress at the prodding of southern slaveholding forces, and antislavery petitions were routinely tabled until the rule was revoked in the early 1840’s.

Meanwhile, local antislavery forces in the District sought to move against slavery in a more conservative and, some believed, less effective program than the firebrands of New England. William Thornton, architect by trade, designer of the Capitol, and Superintendent of Patents under President James Madison, was typical in his antislavery caution. Although he favored freedom for blacks he worried about the racial antagonisms which might develop. He was not convinced that blacks were really ready for freedom and suggested that a gradual emancipation, which would include education and finally resettlement of blacks outside the District, was most desirable.

Yet, tentative as they were in their condemnation of slavery, many white Washingtonians saw the inconsistency of their city being both the capital of freedom and, as the American Antislavery Society put it, “the slave market of America.” By the mid-1820’s, there were no fewer than eight formally organized antislavery groups in the District. Two of these groups, the Washington Antislavery Society and the Benevolent Society of Alexandria, were instrumental in circulating and delivering to the Congressional Committee on District Affairs a petition signed by l,060 D. C. residents calling for gradual emancipation in Washington. At the same time, Washington antislavery forces wanted no outside interference from those they considered radical abolitionists.

The conservative stance of Washington antislavery advocates pointed up the difficulty of such agitation in ah area in which slavery was an active and profitable institution. Nineteenth century Washington was very much a southern town. As such, both black and white residents were limited by an atmosphere which was far less tolerant of social reform of any kind, but especially abolition, than that in Philadelphia, New York or Boston. The problem for Washingtonians was, as it continues to be, how to deal with local problems which, because D. C. is the capital, have national implications.

Abolitionists farther north and pro-slavery advocates farther south viewed the District as an important arena in which the fate of slavery in America might be decided. Although free black Washingtonians were severely restricted by “black codes” which limited the movement and activity of all people of color, and there is no evidence that blacks established formal antislavery societies such as those created by their brothers in northern cities, they were surely active in the abolitionist effort.

Hester Isaacs, a free black woman, worked in the kitchens of white Washingtonians for years in order to save $200 which she used to buy the freedom of Edward Foskey, her husband. Once freed, Edward worked as a wagoneer, and together he and Hester were able to purchase the freedom of Claire Foskey, a relative of Edwards. Leah Hooper worked for many years as a washerwoman and domestic in order to buy the freedom of her young grandson. In their own informal ways, many free blacks such as these were effective “abolitionists.” These vignettes point up one important fact about the extent of which slavery touched the lives of all blacks. White reformers pursued antislavery out of a variety of principles. For them, the fight against slavery was a theoretical position, while for almost all blacks it was a practical matter which involved the freeing of relatives and friends.

Blacks in the District were all too familiar with the horrors of slavery, for they were surrounded by them. In their urgency to fight against the institution, they joined with a few more militant whites to form an effective underground railroad, which aided local slaves in their bid for freedom and conducted fugitives from further south through the city and on north. The records of the Philadelphia underground are filled with accounts of fugitives who passed through D. C. assisted and often hidden by black and white Washingtonians, and were eventually conveyed on to the Quaker city. . .

District abolitionists moved against slavery in a variety of ways, some gradually in conservative tones, others more directly as individuals or as a part of the almost invisible underground railroad. Their efforts bore fruit in 1850 when Congress outlawed slave trading in the District, and. in 1862 when it abolished slavery in Washington altogether. Although conservative antislavery forces complained about the agitation of radical white and black abolitionists of the North, the Washington underground was well connected with such groups in northern cities, enabling hundreds of fugitives to move through Washington from slavery to freedom.


Biracial Abolitionism in the Heart
of Slavery’s Republic
Stanley Harrold

MICHAEL D. PIERSON DC HISTORY NET – Stanley Harrold’s book continues his ongoing efforts to shift the attention of abolition studies southward. Harrold’s focus is on Washington, D.C., and there he finds a surprising amount of abolitionist activity. By tracing the actions of these borderland abolitionists, Harrold fashions three challenging conclusions. First, studying these abolitionists changes our perceptions of the entire antislavery movement, especially if we have spent too much time thinking about the Bostonians. Second, he posits that these men and women, by operating in the presence of slavery’s political elite, significantly influenced sectional politics. Third, Harrold finds in the abolitionist community of Washington, D.C., a significant amount of interracial cooperation. The group, he writes, could only function as it did if blacks and whites cooperated on relatively equal terms. Nor was it just a marriage of convenience; Harrold argues that the white and black abolitionists of the nation’s capital went beyond simple alliance or teamwork and actually forged a “community.” All of these conclusions warrant further elaboration. . .

Harrold claims that the abolitionists in Washington made a direct impact on sectional politics. Rather than a group of thinkers who indirectly instigated political conflicts, the abolitionists of Washington dealt directly with antislavery congressmen and caused southern politicians real angst. These abolitionist subversives, he writes, made southern congressmen alarmed about the safety of slavery in the United States. “The perception among southern congressmen that slavery was under attack on its northern periphery,” Harrold writes of southerners negotiating the Compromise of 1850, “had a significant role in the sectional crisis that led to the compromise proposals”. Certainly slavery and the slave trade in Washington, D.C., were big issues in the Compromise of 1850. And who can blame the southern congressmen for being concerned? . ..

Harrold’s claim that there was an interracial community in Washington is timely and controversial. Harrold argues that black and white abolitionists did more than just work together towards a common goal. He writes that white and black men and women formed a community based “on physical proximity and on a shared opposition to slavery”. Drawing on sociology, Harrold defines this biracial community as “relational,” a community in which “empathy and altruism predominate” rather than a temporary or expedient alliance. This goes farther toward a claim for abolitionism as a true biracial community than historians usually go. Harrold does see limits to this biracialism, but he is adamant about studying the subversives “as an example of how progressive interracial cooperation … could exist for an extended period in a slaveholding region of nineteenth-century America” .

Harrold is careful to place limits on his claim. Interracialism, he notes, fell on hard times with the arrival of Free Soilism, and it deteriorated steadily over the 1850s and especially during the Civil War years. In addition, white abolitionists often worked only with the city’s black “middle class,” with whom they shared values and Christianity. Black Washingtonians such as the Edmondsons–part white and very refined–were most frequently the recipients of white attention. But there were affinities, Harrold writes, beyond those of class and culture. According to Harrold, antislavery whites on the border experienced external pressures that helped to forge interracial bonds. White abolitionists witnessed slavery’s brutality firsthand, and the joint risks, triumphs, and social exclusions they shared with black abolitionists created emotional bonds between the two groups. The presence of stronger interracial communities than abolitionist historians usually find, in other words, is yet another way that studying those who attacked slavery from within the institution itself changes our understanding of the movement as a whole.


BOB ARNEBECK – There is a serious literature on cities as a battleground for human rights, and this review and book gives the impression that ante-bellum Washington was such a battleground. Much as it pains me as a native son to say so, nothing is further from the truth. After the Pearl incident in which slaves made an escape for freedom, the righteous mob raised in Washington battled for slavery and in defence of the rights of slaveowners. The stunts of the abolitionists, especially in the 1840s, only proved to Southern congressmen how congenial the city was to their views. . .

Reading all the speeches on this issue will demonstrate how difficult it is to pinpoint an abolitionist community in Washington. The Southerners blamed all seductions of slaves on outsiders. Giddings blamed the mob of thousands defending slavery on slave-dealers from outside the city, though he had to admit he saw some clerks from the departments among the rioters.

A seductive thesis like Harrold’s, which peoples the past with people acting just as we fancy we would if we had been there, must be reviewed critically. The memoir of Thomas Smallwood is on-line and that organizer of the Washington underground railroad makes clear just how uncooperative the black community of Washington was, and how isolated Smallwood felt in it.

Washington is like a good beach for surfing, a place where it is quite easy for scholars to catch a wave and ride a thesis home to the plaudits of their colleagues. But that’s because Washington is a relatively shallow place where for most of its history a relatively sparse population created and manipulated the symbols of the national government. To dignify groups that were essentially bystanders to this on-going storm rather libels the resident citizens of Washington who were ever timid in the political tides, or at best patiently waiting out the crashing waves above.


Adams Morgan

Washington Post – Adams Morgan got its name in the 1950s from a citizens group that worked to improve the neighborhood. The moniker combined the names of the neighborhood school for white children and the school for black children. . . The Washington Post thought it noteworthy to say of the group: “”Its membership includes all races.”” . . . Adams was the name of the neighborhood school for white children, Morgan the school for black children. The group wanted urban renewal, but not of the sort that was turning much of Southwest into concrete canyons. For years, The Post referred to the neighborhood as Adams-Morgan, but in July 2001 the paper ditched the dash and started calling it Adams Morgan.



PEARL BAILEY, 1300 Florida NW
CAB CALLOWAY, Whitelaw Hotel
ODESSA MADRE, 2204 14th NW

[Additions welcomed]



Air conditioning


Air Florida crash

CHRIS KILROY – January 13, 1982 brought one of the worst blizzards in history to Washington, D.C. Businesses closed early, schools closed their doors, and even Congress recessed early. Washington’s National Airport had been closed all morning, but re-opened by 12:00 pm. Sitting at gate B12 was Boeing 737-222B, in command of the aircraft, were Capt. Larry Wheaton and First Officer Roger Pettit, both relatively young pilots enjoying their new jobs at Air Florida. The flight was scheduled to depart at 2:15, but both men knew that time would come and go.

Just before 1:40 pm, the airport was closed so that crews could plow the field’s one instrument runway, 18/36. It was scheduled to re-open at 2:30. Despite the delay, Air Florida elected to begin the boarding process, and all passengers were on board by 2:30. Meanwhile, Capt. Wheaton had ordered de-icing to begin. The tower told him to expect a further delay, and he requested that de-icing be halted. . .

At 3:59 pm, ‘Palm 90’ was cleared for ff with the remark “no delay on departure, if you will, traffic’s two and a half out for the runway,” added a few seconds later by ATC. . .

“Come on. Forward, forward. Just barely climb,” exclaimed Wheaton as the aircraft continued to stall. Moments later the aircraft was no longer climbing, but falling back to earth.

“Stalling, we’re falling.” “Larry, we’re going down Larry.” “I know it.”

These are the last words spoken from the cockpit of ‘Palm 90.’ The aircraft came down directly on top of the 14th Street Bridge, which spans the Potomac River and is a major route from the Virginia suburbs into the city. Four automobiles were crushed, resulting in five deaths on the ground. The aircraft then impacted the icy water and quickly sank to the bottom. In the hours after the crash, only four passengers and a Flight Attendant would be pulled alive from the icy water. MORE

Anacostia chair

MIKE RUPERT, DC EXAMINER, 2005 – Part directional marker and part local attraction, the nearly 20-foot-tall dining chair, built as a promotional ploy for the Curtis Bros. furniture store in 1959, stood proudly along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue for more than 45 years until it was taken down last August. A letter from “the chair” to the community on the now-empty cement pedestal says, “I will return.”

It was supposed to be back in place by the end of October. Now word is spreading that the chair could be back as early as Christmas. “The chair is coming back,” said Yavocka Young, the executive director of Main Street Anacostia. “Whether or not it’ll be this year remains to be seen. I’ve heard November.”. . .

The huge piece of furniture – the seat itself is 9 feet wide – was rotting badly and its official caretaker, local carpenter John Kidwell, feared it could fall onto pedestrians or cars. Kidwell has puttied and plastered the chair for the past 30 years. “At some point, a chair is going to go back. We just don’t know what it’s going to go back as,” Kidwell told the area’s monthly newspaper, East of the River. Kidwell, who has all the parts assembled in a garage a few blocks from the site, said it could cost as much as $30,000 to get it back into shape for display.


– A woman once lived on the Big Chair for 42 days.
– The Big Chair weighs 4,600 pounds.
– When first installed, it was the largest chair in the wor

ROADSIDE AMERICA – The massive mahogany Duncan Phyfe was once the biggest in the world. It stood atop a concrete pedestal on the corner of V St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Anacostia, just across the river. The chair was built in 1959 for the Curtis Bros., which at the time had a furniture store across the street. Mahogany is one of the strongest woods in the world, and the chair survived the 1968 riots and the demise of the Curtis furniture business. But it could not withstand the ravages of Washington DC air. A recent inspection of the chair by its caretaker, John Kidwell, found rot eating away at its legs and back. Fearing that the chair could collapse at any moment, Kidwell decided to take it down. Local residents were startled to see workmen pulling apart the chair with a backhoe on Tuesday morning, August 23, 2005

Anderson Cottage

Situated on a hilltop that commanded sweeping views of 19th century Washington, the cottage served as the first national Soldiers’ Home since its founding in 1851 by the U.S. Government. President Lincoln resided there from June to November between 1862 and 1864. He commuted by horseback or carriage between the White House and the Soldiers’ Home, just three miles apart. The Soldiers’ Home was a sanctuary where Lincoln spent time with his family, played with his son Tad, and read Shakespeare, the Bible and other books to relieve the fierce pressures of leading our nation through its bloodiest conflict ever. He also took his work home with him, for there he visited privately with Cabinet members, entertained dignitaries, and worked on drafting the Emancipation Proclamation. – NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION


NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH – One of the largest Civil War hospitals in the area was located on the National Mall, where Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum stands today. Constructed in 1862, the medical facility was named after the Armory of the District of Columbia (building on the right), erected in 1856. This 1,000-bed hospital complex, with twelve pavilions and overflow tents, spread accross the Mall and included quarters for officers, service facilities, and a chapel. The wounded from the battlefields of Virginia were brought to the nearby wharves in southwest Washington and taken to the Armory Square Hospital. After the war, the Armory Building was used as storage facility, and later housed the offices of the United States Fish Commission (after 1903, Bureau of Fisheries). It was demolished in January 1964.

Ashford, Snowden

SJ ACKERMAN, WASHINGTON POST – Snowden Ashford (1866-1927) was a D.C. native. He studied engineering in college, then worked as a draftsman for Treasury architect A.B. Mullett. . . In 1895 Ashford became assistant inspector of buildings in the District, and in 1906, he was promoted to inspector. In addition to inspecting building sites, Ashford designed firehouses and police stations. He updated structures too; for instance, he adapted the Tenleytown firehouse for motorized vehicles.

Ashford designed or supervised everything the District built between 1895 and 1921, including the North Hall at the Eastern Market. But he was most proud of his schools.

By 1912 Ashford claimed more experience with schoolhouse work than any other architect in the country. He didn’t just build schools; he maintained them, inspecting half the city’s inventory each year, with major repairs made each summer. No city school fell into disrepair on his watch.

Ashford designed well-lighted, well-ventilated and fire-safe schools that embodied the dignity of education. In an era of racial segregation, neither he nor Cluss discriminated architecturally — Washington’s black schools were separate but truly equal to their white counterparts. .

He resigned from his inspector’s position in 1921, tired of the hassles and the poor pay, although he went on to design the imposing Eastern High School in 1923. – S. J. Ackerman





A Washington team was admitted to the National League in 1885 and played during the League’s 10th professional season in 1886. Washington played 12 years in the National League – 1886-89 and 1892-99 – but was part of a four- team contraction in 1900 as the National League went from 12 franchises to eight.
Later that same year, former Western League president Ban Johnson was organizing a second Major League to compete with the National League and announced plans to include a franchise in the nation’s capital. The new League was called the American League and began play in 1901.
This Washington franchise was awarded to James Manning and Detroit businessman Fred Postal. Manning retired later that year and Tom Loftus replaced him as the club’s primary executive. The Senators finished in sixth place in 1901 with a 61-72 mark and would eventually be sold to an ownership group including Thomas C. Noyes, Benjamin Minor and Harry Rapley, among others.

Future Hall of Fame outfielder Ed Delahanty was tragically killed in July 1903 when he was swept over Niagara Falls. Delahanty was the reigning American League batting champion and his sudden death took its toll on the team as the Senators finished the campaign with a 43-94 mark.
While it took 12 years before the Senators finished a season with a winning record, the signing of 20-year-old pitcher Walter Johnson in 1907 would signify a key moment in the franchise’s history. Under first-year manager, Clark Griffith, the 1912 Washington Club posted a 91-61 mark and ended up in second place, 14 games behind the eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox.

Johnson appeared in a remarkable 50 games that year – 37 as a starter – and went 33-12 with a league-leading 1.39 ERA and 303 strikeouts. The following year he was even better as he led the Senators to their second consecutive 90- win season. “Big Train” went 36-7 with 11 shutouts and a 1.14 ERA, which still stands today as one of the lowest ERAs by a starting pitcher in a single season.

In 1912, 40-year-old team president Thomas C. Noyes fell ill to pneumonia and eventually succumbed to the disease. Noyes was replaced as team president by Minor, a prominent Washington attorney. Minor, unable to devote the necessary time to the club, subsequently sold the controlling interest to Griffith and Philadelphia businessman William Richardson.

Following a 75-78 season in 1923, Griffith made a controversial decision by appointing 27-year-old second baseman Stanley “Bucky” Harris as field manager. Harris was the fifth manager in the previous five seasons for the Senators, but he guided one of the great reversals in baseball history as the Senators in 1924 won more games than ever before, 92, and captured their first American League pennant.

In the 1924 World Series, the Senators took on famed manager John McGraw and the New York Giants. The Series was one of the closest in history as four games were decided by a single run, including the deciding Game Seven. On the strength of Walter Johnson’s four innings of relief pitching – on two days’ rest – and the Series clinching hit by Earl McNeeley in the bottom of the 12th inning, the Senators won their first and only World Series Championship.
Harris once again led the Senators to a record regular season finish as they posted 96 wins and clinched a second-straight American League pennant. Their second trip to the World Series was just as close but this time they came up short in a seven-game Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Senators had a 7-6 lead entering the bottom of the eighth in Game Seven, but could not hold it as the Pirates scored three runs in the inning off Johnson and held on to clinch the Series victory.

Johnson concluded his amazing 21-year playing career with Senators in 1927 with career totals of 417-279, a 2.36 ERA, 3,508 strikeouts and a Major League record 110 shutouts. He was among the first class of inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, in 1936.

The “Big Train” was not gone from the Washington scene long as Griffith brought him back to replace Harris as the Senators’ manager in 1929. Despite posting three straight 90-win seasons, Johnson was removed from his post after the 1932 season and replaced by Joe Cronin, the team’s 26-year-old shortstop.

Cronin’s first season with the Senators produced the franchise’s best regular season mark ever at 99-53 and its third American League pennant. Washington again faced the New York Giants in the Fall Classic but fell in five games to a team led by the pitching of Carl Hubbell (20 IP, 0 ER) and the hitting of Mel Ott, who clinched the Series for New York with a 10th inning homer in Game Five.

The Senators franchise then fell on hard times. Washington’s victory total dropped to 66 in 1934 and the team posted only two more winning seasons over the next 25 years. Calvin Griffith, who became team president after his father’s death in 1955, was granted permission to seek relocation in September 1960, and an announcement was made in October 1960 that the Senators were being moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

At that time, the American League announced plans to expand by two teams for the 1961 season. One team would be located in Los Angeles and the other in Washington, D.C.

An expansion draft was conducted in Boston on December 10, 1960. The expansion Senators fared no better than their predecessors, as they lost at least 100 games in each of their first four seasons. In 1964, the Senators acquired five players in a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Claude Osteen. One of those five players was slugging outfielder and the 1960 National League Rookie of the Year, Frank Howard.

An imposing presence at 6-7, 250 lbs., Howard brought a much-needed offensive punch to the Senators lineup and the Senators win total increased in each of his first three seasons in Washington. After struggling again in 1968, new team president Robert Short brought in Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams as the new manager of the Senators.

Howard and his teammates responded to the “Splendid Splinter” during his rookie managerial campaign as Washington’s win total improved 21 games to 86 in 1969. It was also Howard’s best year in the Majors, as he batted .296 with 48 home runs, 111 RBI and 111 runs scored and finished fourth in the balloting for American League Most Valuable Player.

Unfortunately, the team was unable to build upon their success in 1969. The Senators lost 92 games in 1970 and 96 in 1971. On September 21, 1971, owners approved the transfer of the Washington franchise to Arlington, Texas where it became the Texas Rangers.

After 71 years in the American League and nearly 100 since the debut of professional baseball in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., hosted its final regular season on September 30, 1971 at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. The Senators-New York Yankees game was never finished as fans stormed the field and a forfeit was declared in favor of the Yankees. – [Major League Baseball]

Brad Snyder

WES LUKOWSKY, BOOKLIST – Historical accounts of major league baseball’s integration too often begin and end with one white owner, Branch Rickey, and one black player, Jackie Robinson. But, as with any significant historical milestone things are never as simple as they seem. Snyder, who covered baseball for the Baltimore Sun, spent 10 years researching a little-known side skirmish in the battle to integrate the national pastime, one that took place in the shadow of the federal government. This struggle involved the white owner of the major-league Washington Senators, Clark Griffith, who was not as evil as he was penurious, and a black player, Buck Leonard, who was a more talented player than Robinson and probably every bit as courageous. The wild card in the Washington mix was Sam Lacy, a black journalist inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1997. Lacy, an eloquent supporter of integration, covered the Homestead Grays, a Negro League team that played in Griffith’s ballpark when his Senators were on the road. Griffith vigorously opposed major-league baseball’s integration because the rent from the Grays kept his other team afloat. Leonard, the star of the Grays, often referred to as the “black Lou Gehrig,” was thought by many to be the logical choice to integrate the game. Snyder weaves the personal stories of Lacy, Griffith and Leonard into a textured account of a time when baseball symbolized the nation at large and when those with vision understood the implications of integrating an experience shared by so many Americans. A fascinating little-known chapter in the familiar story of baseball’s color line.


MATTHEW GILMORE, DC HISTORY LIST – Now that Washington DC will get a new baseball team, here’s a fair list of books on the history of DC baseball. (and a collection worth checking out–albeit in Minnesota.)

Most of these can be found at the Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library, the Library of the Historical Society of Washington DC/City Museum, Library of Congress.

Bealle, Morris Allison. The Washington Senators, an 87-year history of the world’s oldest baseball club and most incurable fandom, Columbia publishing company, c1947.

Ceresi, Frank. Baseball in Washington, D.C. / Frank Ceresi, Mark Rucker, Carol McMains. Arcadia Pub., 2002.

Deveaux, Tom. The Washington Senators, 1901-1971. McFarland & Co., c2001.

Hartley, James R. Washington’s expansion Senators (1961-1971) / James R. Hartley. Corduroy Press, c1998.

Judge, Mark Gauvreau. Damn Senators : my grandfather and the story of Washington’s only World Series championship. Encounter Books, 2003.

Kerr, Jon. Calvin : baseball’s last dinosaur : an authorized biography. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, c1990.

Povich, Shirley. The Washington Senators. Putnam, [1954]

Roberts, James C. Hardball on the Hill : baseball stories from our nation’s capital. Triumph Books, c2001.

Snyder, Brad. Beyond the shadow of the Senators : the untold story of the Homestead Grays and the integration of baseball. Contemporary Books, c2003.


ALLEN BARRA, WALL STREET JOURNAL – The tape-measure home-run craze . . . can be traced to a single shot hit by Mickey Mantle half a century ago in Washington’s Griffith Stadium. “very baseball fan knows that the home run that Mantle hit on April 17, 1953, off the Senators’ Chuck Stobbs traveled 565 feet, the longest recorded home run in baseball history. The 565-foot home run . . . was validated by an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. . . Mantle hit a ball over the 55-foot-high left field fence, the first home run ever to do so. Everyone there acknowledged it as one of the longest home runs they had ever seen. The excitement gave the Yankees’ publicity director, Arthur ‘Red’ Patterson, a sudden inspiration. Quickly tracking down the ball to the backyard of a house across the street from the stadium. . . Patterson announced to the press that the ball had traveled 563 feet. “In the retelling, the home run gained two feet when it was pointed out that the ball also had to clear Griffith Stadium’s outer wall. Thus, in a single brilliant PR stroke, Patterson created baseball’s longest home run and began the ‘tape measure’ craze

From a review of BEYOND THE SHADOW OF THE SENATORS by Brad Snyder
WES LUKOWSKY, BOOKLIST – Historical accounts of major league baseball’s integration too often begin and end with one white owner, Branch Rickey, and one black player, Jackie Robinson. But, as with any significant historical milestone things are never as simple as they seem. Snyder, who covered baseball for the Baltimore Sun, spent 10 years researching a little-known side skirmish in the battle to integrate the national pastime, one that took place in the shadow of the federal government. This struggle involved the white owner of the major-league Washington Senators, Clark Griffith, who was not as evil as he was penurious, and a black player, Buck Leonard, who was a more talented player than Robinson and probably every bit as courageous. The wild card in the Washington mix was Sam Lacy, a black journalist inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1997. Lacy, an eloquent supporter of integration, covered the Homestead Grays, a Negro League team that played in Griffith’s ballpark when his Senators were on the road. Griffith vigorously opposed major-league baseball’s integration because the rent from the Grays kept his other team afloat. Leonard, the star of the Grays, often referred to as the “black Lou Gehrig,” was thought by many to be the logical choice to integrate the game.


MATT SCHUDEL, WASHINGTON POST 2007– For almost 40 years, [Harry P] Zitelman owned and operated Bassin’s with his brother and sister, transforming it from a delicatessen serving sandwiches and hot dogs to a seven-room restaurant that became a Washington institution. As the colorful frontman, Mr. Zitelman presided over a varied clientele of politicians, journalists, government workers and actors from nearby theaters. The sprawling restaurant complex, which had four entrances, curved around the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and was within two blocks of the White House, the District Building, three newspaper offices and the National Press Club. . . Bassin’s didn’t offer the most challenging cuisine — corned beef sandwiches remained a staple throughout its 37-year reign — but it had a certain bustling panache, much of it supplied by Mr. Zitelman’s open-armed presence.

In 1959, he launched a determined effort to get sidewalk cafes approved by a skeptical D.C. government. Naysayers said that food served al fresco would be contaminated by grime and attract vermin. But, after more than two years, Mr. Zitelman won his victory. When he opened his sidewalk cafe Aug. 8, 1961, Washington instantly acquired a more sophisticated air, as more than 500 would-be boulevardiers crowded Bassin’s outdoor tables.

A year later, Mr. Zitelman persuaded the city’s alcohol control board to relax its Depression-era laws prohibiting the drinking of “any alcoholic beverage in any city street.”


ADAM BERNSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST – Betty Beale, 94, [was] a society writer for four decades whose syndicated column gave readers a close-up, largely sympathetic nibble of Washington’s upper crust. Ms. Beale was born into a prominent Washington family and wrote for the old Washington Star, once the city’s dominant newspaper. From the Truman to the Reagan administrations, she attended an estimated 15,000 parties, chronicling what she called “the manners, customs and personalities of our times.” At her peak in the mid-1960s, her column was reprinted in about 90 newspapers. . . She recounted a surreal conversation with surreal painter Salvador Dali, who told her, “I hate telephones unless they are disconnected and in trees, then I like them.” After meeting Emily Post, doyenne of social etiquette, Ms. Beale wrote: “Her sense of humor was such that when I bit into a little sandwich at tea in her house and jelly squirted out on my fingers, I didn’t hesitate to lick my fingers in front of her. I wouldn’t have to do this, I told her, if I had been given a napkin.”. . .

She began to insert into the column political commentary overheard at the parties. The managing editor told her the women’s page was no forum for such talk, but she later made a successful case to send the society writer — herself — to national political conventions.


Recording from first Beatles concert


Beatles Again – Walter Cronkite’s decision to broadcast [a story on the Beatles on Dec. 10, 1993, set forth a domino effect causing Beatlemania to explode in America. . . That evening, 15-year-old Marsha Albert of Silver Spring, MD, viewed The Beatles performing “She Loves You” on the CBS news and liked what she saw and heard. Marsh wrote a letter to her favorite radio station, WWDC, referring to The Beatles’ appearance on the news and asking, “Why can’t we have this music in America?” DJ Carroll James, who also had seen The Beatles on the news, arranged to have a copy of the group’s latest British single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, delivered to him by the BOAC airline.

On Dec. 17, 1963, exactly one week after the CBS broadcast, James had Marsha Albert come down to the station to introduce the song on his radio show. After the song ended, James requested that listeners write in to let him know what they thought of The Beatles. But most couldn’t wait and began calling the station immediately. According to James, the station’s switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree with eager listeners phoning in to praise the song. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was immediately added to WWDC’s playlist and placed in heavy rotation.

It didn’t take long for Capitol [Records] to learn that a Washington station had jumped the gun by playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” four weeks prior to its scheduled release date of Jan. 13, 1964. Capitol telephoned WWDC and requested that the single be pulled off the air, but the station refused. Capitol then hired New York entertainment attorney Walter Hofer, who represented Epstein, The Beatles and the song’s publisher, to contact the station and demand that WWDC “cease and desist” playing the song. According to Hofer, James told him, “Look, you can’t stop me from playing it. The record is a hit. It’s a major thing.”

Realizing that they could not stop WWDC from playing the record and believing that this was an isolated incident that would not spread elsewhere, Capitol decided to press a few thousand copies of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to send to the Washington area.

This strategy might have worked had James opted to keep his exclusive; however, he apparently sent a tape of the song to a disc jockey buddy of his in Chicago, who then played it on his show. Listeners in the Windy City also reacted favorably towards the song. When a St. Louis disc jockey played a tape of The Beatles’ new song, his station was hit with tons of requests for it.

With Christmas less than a week away, stations in three major markets were playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. In addition, tapes of the song were circulating among the nation’s disc jockeys. Capitol quickly came to the realization that the genie was already out of the bottle. The company also remembered that radio airplay was essential for sales. Capitol’s job was to get stations to play The Beatles. It made no sense to try to halt airplay just because the record’s scheduled release was weeks away. . .

By February 1964, The Beatles had become part of the American consciousness. To ensure that the group’s arrival in the States would not go unnoticed, Capitol Records provided details of the group’s itinerary to New York’s radio stations, who encouraged their young listeners to greet The Beatles at Kennedy Airport even though it was a school day. On Friday, Fed. 7, more that 3,000 teenagers stood four deep on the airport’s upper arcade to greet The Beatles as they stepped off Pan American Airways Flight 101 shortly after 1:20 p.m. . .

DCist – The Fab Four’s first American concert, held in D.C. at the old Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964, two days after the band played The Ed Sullivan Show. The former Coliseum, which was previously known as the Uline Arena, is currently being redeveloped. . . The structure was added to the D.C. Historical Preservation Review Board’s protected building list in 2006.

DC PRESERVATION LEAGUE – Most Endangered Places for 2002: Uline Arena (Washington Coliseum) Between 2nd & 3rd and L & M Streets, NE. It was built in 1941 and operated by Miguel L. “Uncle Mike” Uline for the Washington Lions of the Eastern Hockey League. The building would seat 9,000 people. This concrete vaulted building was the site of the Beatle’s first North American performance and also noted as the home of Go-Go music where noted local musicians such as Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk and Rare Essence performed. Political rallies and speeches were a tradition in the Arena including a rally staged by Fight for Freedom, Inc. in support of the US involvement in WWII a month before Pearl Harbor and a speech by Nation of Islam Founder Elijah Muhammad in 1959. Since its construction in 1941, the arena, later known as the Washington Coliseum, has been a place for figure skating, jazz, wrestling, ballet, basketball, Washington’s Go-Go music style, midget auto racing, rock, hockey, karate, politics, tennis, boxing, and Indian ragas.

Beatles Again 15-year-old Marsha Albert of Silver Spring, MD, viewed The Beatles performing “She Loves You” on the CBS news and like what she saw and heard. Marsh wrote a letter to her favorite radio station, WWDC, referring to The Beatles’ appearance on the news and asking, “Why can’t we have this music in America?” DJ Carroll James, who also had seen The Beatles on the news, arranged to have a copy of the group’s latest British single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, delivered to him by the BOAC airline.

On Dec. 17, 1963, exactly one week after the CBS broadcast, James had Marsha Albert come down to the station to introduce the song on his radio show.. . According to James, the station’s switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree with eager listeners phoning in to praise the song. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was immediately added to WWDC’s playlist and placed in heavy rotation.

It didn’t take long for Capitol to learn that a Washington station had jumped the gun by playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” four weeks prior to its scheduled release date of Jan. 13, 1964. Capitol telephoned WWDC and requested that the single be pulled off the air, but the station refused. Capitol then hired New York entertainment attorney Walter Hofer, who represented Epstein, The Beatles and the song’s publisher, to contact the station and demand that WWDC “cease and desist” playing the song. According to Hofer, James told him, “Look, you can’t stop me from playing it. The record is a hit. It’s a major thing.”

Realizing that they could not stop WWDC from playing the record and believing that this was an isolated incident that would not spread elsewhere, Capitol decided to press a few thousand copies of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to send to the Washington area.

The Beatles held their first American concert
at Washington’s Uline Arena, as well as a snow ball fight



JONATHAN EVANS – A young group of video makers calling themselves the Betapunks had taken over an old warehouse in DC [in the early 1990s]. They were putting on a series of events under the banner of Ecomedia. Part of the profits of each event would go to a good ecological cause and part towards their next video movie. They asked me to put on a light show at their latest happening, “Concrete Madagascar”. The space was truly massive so we built a scaffold at one end of the space to stand on and hung a series of sheets about two-thirds down the warehouse. When we focused ten slide projectors onto the sheet, the multi-layered image could be seen from both sides. I don’t remember what the music was but with help from some friends, I showed slides of our world travels mixed in with some cyberpunk images, graffiti and all of Patch’s collection of surrealist pictures. It went really well and we met an interesting group of young people.


It was the summer of 1958. Eisenhower was president. Federal troops were ordered into Little Rock to integrate public schools. Explorer I was launched, as was NASA. The first-ever Grammy Awards were given, and Ella Fitzgerald won two of them. 1958 was the year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. published his first book, Stride Towards Freedom. Griffith Stadium was home to the Washington Senators. 30% of DC’s black population owned homes. Nelson Mandela wed Winnie. And, in 1958, newlywed Ben and Virginia Ali gave birth to a new enterprise.

The Ali’s used $5,000 to begin renovating a building at 1213 U Street. It had high-arched ceilings, character and plenty of history. Built in 1909, the building first housed a silent movie house, the Minnehaha Theater. Later, Harry Beckley, one of D.C.’s first Black police detectives, converted it into a pool hall. On August 22, 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl was born.

It was an exciting time on the U Street corridor, which was then known as “Black Broadway.” Top performers could be found playing sets in clubs along the corridor, as well as eating and just “hanging out” at Ben’s. It was not uncommon to see such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Martin Luther King Jr., or Bill Cosby at “the Bowl.”

In 1968, the assassination of Dr. King lit a fuse of rage. Riots ensued. Most of the city closed down, except for Ben’s. Stokely Carmichael of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was located across the street, obtained special police permission to let Ben’s stay open after curfew to provide shelter for activists, firefighters, and public servants trying to restore order.

After the riots, the area declined. Businesses closed. But there was still some glimmer of hope in the area as the concept of “Black is Beautiful” emerged. Ben’s continued to serve an eclectic crowd of regulars. In the 1970’s, black films gained in popularity, and the Lincoln Theatre next door was often packed.

Still, the riots continued to take their toll. In the late 1970s and 80s, dope dealers began peddling heroin in open-air drug markets. The once vibrant street looked looked and felt beaten. Even so, the flame of hope could not be extinguished. Mayor Marion Barry, Jr. had the vision to build the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U Streets. For the first time in years, hundreds of new jobs were created on U Street.

In September 1985, Bill Cosby held a national press conference at Ben’s Chili Bowl to celebrate his number one rated show, thrusting Ben’s into the national limelight. Business improved and things were looking up. But there were more problems ahead. In 1987, construction began Metro’s Green Line. Our section of U Street became nothing more than a 60 foot hole. Business came to a halt overnight. Very few new businesses opened. Ben’s made the decision to stay open with only two employees serving Metro workers and faithful regulars each day. Through more than five years of construction and upheaval, Ben’s managed to survive. –Ben’s Chili Bowl

Photo by Dupontknitter

BEN’S CHILI BOWL: 50 YEARS OF A WASHINGTON, D.C., LANDMARK byTracey Gold Bennett, Nizam B. Ali, Foreword by Bill Cosby: From the days when U Street was hailed as “”Black Broadway”” to the current revitalization and gentrification of the new millennium, Ben’s Chili Bowl survived it all. On August 22, 1958, West Indian immigrant Mahaboob Ben Ali and his fiancee, Virginia Rollins, saw their dream realized as they opened a hot dog and chili shop on U Street. They never imagined that Ben’s would become world renowned or such a beloved restaurant in the nation’s capital. The images in this book provide a look back over the 50-year history of Ben’s Chili Bowl, U Street, the Ali family, and the patrons who have helped define Ben’s as a vibrant cultural landmark.


HISTORY MAKERS – Legendary jazz bassist William Thomas “Keter” Betts was born July 25, 1928, in Port Chester, New York. While running an errand for his mother while in the fifth grade, Betts came across a parade. Instead of continuing on his way, he followed the parade all over town, entranced by the music. That incident marked the beginning of his love affair with music.

When Betts was only nineteen, he landed his first professional gig, playing for thirteen weeks in Washington, D.C., with saxophonist Carmen Leggio. After touring the country from 1949 to 1951, Betts met jazz singer Dinah Washington and toured with her from 1951 until 1956. The next five years found Betts working in the hottest clubs in the country and touring Europe and South America with Charlie Byrd and Woody Herman. In 1964, Betts joined up with Ella Fitzgerald for a short tour. He would rejoin her several more times, and their career together would span twenty-four years.

ADAM BERNSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST – Keter Betts, 77, a jazz bassist heard on more than 200 recordings, notably with guitarist Charlie Byrd and singers Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, was found dead Aug. 6 [2005] . . . Trumpeter Clark Terry, formerly with the Duke Ellington and “Tonight Show” orchestras, said Mr. Betts was “on the top plateau of all the bass players.” Mr. Betts played in bands with Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Woody Herman, Nat Adderley, Joe Pass, Clifford Brown and Vince Guaraldi.

After he made the Washington area his home in the mid-1950s, Mr. Betts teamed with Byrd, the lyrical guitarist who made his name with sensual, samba-inspired bossa nova music. They were regulars at the Showboat Lounge in the District and made several State Department-sponsored trips abroad. During one trip to Brazil, Mr. Betts became enthralled with samba records and, he said, spent months persuading Byrd to play the music around Washington.

Although Mr. Betts was on the million-selling “Jazz Samba” (1962) album — recorded at Washington’s All Souls Unitarian Church — stars Byrd and saxophonist Stan Getz were credited with launching the bossa nova craze in the United States.

One of the most memorable songs from the album, “Desafinado,” featured Mr. Betts doing the supple bass-line introduction. But his contribution to finding the music went unheralded until recent years, after he spoke to Jazz Times magazine about his role.


WASHINGTON POST – Robert Bialek, 84, a native Washingtonian who started a local discount record and bookstore chain and was a Grammy Award-winning album producer, died May 30 2006 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington after a heart attack. In 1952, Mr. Bialek and his wife opened Discount Record Shop near Dupont Circle, which evolved into the Discount Book and Record Shop franchise and was one of the area’s first book and music discounters. He sold the business in the early 1980s. . . As he built his business, his flagship music store was at 1340 Connecticut Avenue NW. He and his wife later opened branches in Chevy Chase and at White Flint Mall in North Bethesda. They sold a range of mainstream and obscure music and books, and the business grew into a social hub to discuss arts and politics.


JIM MYERS, VOICE OF THE HILL – While recounting local basketball history, writers often forget to mention one of the finest pro teams of all to play here, the Washington Bears, who claimed the 1943 World Championship of pro basketball by beating the Oshkosh All-Stars 43-31 at the annual Chicago tournament held in those years. The Bears, a black team, played one year in DC and were principally made up of members of the renowned New York Renaissance touring team. One member of the Bears, William “Pop” Gates, is now in the Hall of Fame. Other stars were Johnny Isaacs, “Dolly” King and Zack Clayton, who later became a famous fight referee.

A few years back, Gates and other surviving members of the Bears told me that after winning the 1943 title, they were allowed to play a game at Uline, which they understood was the first time the arena was integrated for a team sport. I’ve not had occasion to verify the story, but I always assumed it was so.

Various claims have been made about which were the first integrated teams in pro basketball. The late Lester Harrison, founder of the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), used to insist that the first black players really were Dolly King, who played for the Royals in 1946, and “Pop” Gates who was with the Tri-City Black Hawks (now the Atlanta Hawks) the same year. In 1946, both teams were members of the old National Basketball League, one of the leagues that consolidated into the NBA in 1949.

Since then, the NBA has insisted that the first black players (in the NBA) were Chuck Cooper of the Celtics, Lloyd of the Capitals and Nate “Sweetwater” of the Knicks, who all joined the league in 1951. But there are also claims of other isolated instances of integrated teams at basketball’s highest levels going back to 1911 or so.


In the 19th century there was a fear of uprisings, so Congress gave local whites authority to implement black codes. “Slaves could have their ears cropped for petty assault on a white, could be branded with the letter R for running away, or could be drawn and quartered as a punishment for murder or arson.” Free Negroes were prohibited from “idle assemblages, playing at cards or dice, selling liquor, keeping a tavern, or going at large later than ten o’clock at night without a permit.” — Mark Richards



DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD, WASHINGTON POST 2005 – Because the history of Washington has been written by humans, nobody has paid much attention to the fact that 18 Canadian squirrels were released at the National Zoo during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. But, if the capital’s story were ever told by its rodents, few events would be more prominent than this one. That’s because those 18 squirrels — whose coats of lustrous black set them apart from the native animals — were the beginning of a shift that has changed the complexion of Washington’s backyard critters. Now, probably because of a slight evolutionary advantage conveyed with a black coat, the descendants of these squirrels have spread all the way into Rockville and Prince William County. Scientists say it’s a real-life example of natural selection at work, which has rolled on for a century here without much public notice. . .

Whatever the reason, observers say, black squirrels have been showing up in areas where only gray-colored specimens had been. They appeared in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Chevy Chase in the 1960s, perhaps using the Rock Creek Stream Valley as a highway north from the District. One survey of Bethesda in 1990 found that about 25 percent of the squirrels there were black. To the east, the squirrels crossed the city a few decades ago to colonize the National Arboretum and Capitol Hill. To the south, they made it across the Potomac River into Arlington, where naturalists say they’ve seen black squirrels since at least the 1980s.



ERNEST L. WALLACE, LETTER TO WASH POST – The British were opposed on the Patuxent by Commodore Joshua Barney and his fleet of small, Baltimore-built gunboats, which delayed but were unable to stop the enemy advance. The British army later debarked at Benedict and marched on Washington via Bladensburg. The commander at Fort Washington abandoned the fort when he learned the British had landed in Maryland. After scuttling his gunboats, Barney converted his sailors to infantry and marched to Bladensburg, where he joined the U.S. militia forces in opposing the invaders. My understanding is that Barney’s troops were the only effective opposition to the British. The militia was quickly routed, running from the battlefield with British troops in pursuit. This battle subsequently became known as “The Races of Bladensburg” because the U.S. militia ran so fast the British couldn’t catch them.


JOHN WARREN, VIRGINIAN-PILOT – Tommy Gwaltney once called it “the everlasting gig.” It was 1959, and he was loading a set of big, silver vibraphones into his station wagon, headed for another club date, in another town. The everlasting gig, the life of the professional musician. “You finish a date after midnight, jump in a car with some other guys and try to get some sleep,” he told a newspaper reporter. “The big worry was whether the one at the wheel was sober enough to drive.”

In his long jazz career, he was respected by the biggest names in the business. . . He studied journalism at New York University but decided he didn’t have the “chops” for writing. . . Clarinet was his instrument, but he played vibraphone for a few years because of a collapsed lung.

He had just teamed with jazz guitar legend Charlie Byrd when Gwaltney’s father fell gravely ill. Gwaltney returned to Tidewater to run the family feed business for seven years. “I dug it a little, made some bucks,” he said.

But he returned to music in 1955, charcoal-black clarinet in hand, alongside then-famous names such as Bobby Hackett, Billy Butterfield and Pee Wee Russell. He appeared on the CBS “Good Morning Show” and on “The Steve Allen Show.” He put on a Virginia Beach jazz festival for several years.

By the mid-1960s, he’d purchased Blues Alley in Washington. It became arguably the hottest jazz club in the nation. . . Gwaltney was manager, emcee and performer. Often, while on stage, a kitchen worker would creep up behind Gwaltney and tug on his sleeve. The cook had just quit, or some such crisis. . .

Unlike other jazz clubs driven by profit, Blues Alley was a musician’s club first. Too much talk, too much clattering of dishes, and Gwaltney would politely ask the crowd to quiet down. He could be less than polite, if he had to. . . “Tommy could take whatever was said, turn it around and shoot them down, to the delight of the customers,” said Louis Hubbard, a jazz writer who played with him. . .

With a young son and an aging mother in Tidewater, he sold Blues Alley in 1969 and returned to the area. With his quartet, Gwaltney mostly played local country clubs, wedding receptions and college reunions. “That kind of music goes better with booze and cigarette smoke,” he lamented to a reporter.


WASHINGTON ACTIVIST Abe Bloom – a founder of the Washington Peace Center and Gray Panther leader – has died. . . COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE – After years of inspiring generations to actively be better human beings, Abe left the work for the rest of us on January 29. At his 90th birthday in 2003, his family and many of his friends celebrated his life and work and he received tribute from members of the Gray Panthers. Abe told them, “if you want to talk to Abe Bloom, you got’ta talk about the war!” When asked to continue, he pointed out that many Americans don’t know how much wealth there is in this country that could go for human needs and not war. Abe’s sight had left him and now he is gone, but his vision was always clear. . . SAM SMITH, MULTITUDES – By the middle of the sixties I was fast approaching the age of thirty which — according to contemporary mythology — was about to render me totally untrustworthy. Having only recently signed up for social change, I found the prospect of such early forced retirement from righteousness annoying and depressing. Then I noticed a curious thing. In the peace, civil rights and anti-freeway movements, some of the people who were making the most sense — and the most difference — were even older than I. People like Abe Bloom, David and Selma Rein, Julius Hobson and Sammie Abbott. These were the sort of people who, to a degree not widely recognized, held things together in the sixties, often old leftists who actually knew how to organize marches and rallies and fight in court and keep offices going even when overfilled with people who were just passing through or trying out a new direction for a little while or using that moment in history as a crash pad for their souls.

HEMING NELSON, WASHINGTON POST – Abe Bloom, a former member of the District Communist Party and [a] resident of Trenton Terrace, remembers the extreme lengths the FBI agents would go to in the course of their investigations: “The FBI hounded me like everyone else. They wanted more names. They were even examining people’s garbage.” Occasionally, Bloom and his friends would strike back. “One woman I know, whose name I won’t mention, she retaliated by putting, how should I say it, [excrement] in with her garbage,” he said. . . In fact, Communists and civil rights advocates often found themselves on the same side of issues. Many people, especially racial and religious minorities, were attracted to the Communist Party’s liberal, progressive agenda. The District party platform called for, among other things, the elimination of discrimination against blacks, a shortened workweek, a free public university in Washington and home rule. . . Abe Bloom was employed at the Bureau of Standards when his name was given [out at congressional] hearings. . . Bloom denied being a member of the Communist Party, he says. “The head of the [Bureau of Standards], Dr. Condon, even came down to testify in my favor. But the hysteria was so great at the time, I was fired anyway. If you were blacklisted, you couldn’t find another job in your field.”



JUDY COLEMAN, DCIST – Bolling was decided the same day in 1954 as Brown v. Board of Education and did for D.C. what Brown did for the rest of the states. At the same time, though, Brown, in a technical legal sense, did nothing for Bolling. The two cases had different histories, different litigation strategies and different constitutional arguments behind them. . .


1932 – Herbert Hoover forcibly evicts bonus marchers from their encampment. Two killed when U.S. Army attacks encampment of 20,000 World War I veterans gathered in Washington D.C. to demand their bonus benefit payments. As the flames destroy the shantytown, people stream into Maryland.

Fighting broke out between the Bonus Army & police and on July 28 federal troops attack led by Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur and his subordinates Majors George S. Patton, Jr. & Dwight D. Eisenhower. MacArthur opted to use force over the protests of Patton and Eisenhower.

Using tear gas, cavalry with sabers drawn and tanks, the Bonus Army was driven out of their encampments in the abandoned buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue. The tanks then leveled the Bonus Army’s “Camp Marks” on the Anacostia River. The casualty toll was four dead (including two infants) & 66 injured.

The smoke lingered over Washington for two days. Armed police from Maryland and Virginia had blocked all roads out of the District of Columbia until Pennsylvania offered asylum to the marchers in Johnstown.

As Hoover begins traveling the country for his re-election campaign, he is met with unexpected hatred. In St. Paul when he tells the audience, “Thank God we still have a government that knows how to deal with the mob,” angry murmurs begin to roll up from the crowd in front of him. The Secret Service men guarding Hoover become alarmed. The President loses his place in the speech he is giving, nearly collapses, and retreats from the auditorium badly shaken. DAILY BLEED




WIKIPEDIA – In 1868, [Sayles] Bowen was nominated by the Republicans as a candidate for Mayor of Washington against Democrat John T. Given. At that time, post-Civil War Washington had been ravaged by the war and by a desperate shortage of funds from Congress; the city had deteriorated so badly that there was much talk in the Federal sector of relocating the seat of government to St. Louis. Bowen ran for mayor under the slogan “A vote for Bowen is a vote for keeping the capital in Washington.” In that year’s July election, blacks voted in Washington for the first time, and because of Bowen’s famous support of civil rights, he received narrow support from white voters and overwhelming support from black ones. The margin was extremely narrow in favor of Bowen, but close enough to necessitate a recount by the City Councils; however, while the it was still proceeding, the Republicans on the recount committee (including the most powerful Republican politician in the District, Alexander Robey Shepherd) publicly declared Bowen the winner and he took office.

Once elected, however, Bowen’s activism startled even the Radical Republican contingent that then dominated Congress. He agitated for complete integration of the city’s public school system. When that failed, he turned instead to constructing a network of schools specifically for “persons of color,” diverting large sums of city funds and even providing $20,000 of his own.

Bowen’s policies of activism on behalf of black civil rights outraged well-to-do white citizens of Washington, but even the Republicans who had enforced black rights and suffrage in the capital concluded that Bowen was far more interested in civil rights for blacks than in governing the city and administering public services (his actual job as mayor). He spent extravagant portions of the city budget in creating schools and employment for blacks, which, while regarded as noble by the Republicans, drained the coffers of money that was intended for maintaining the city. Bowen was even charged with reducing street service to men using penknives to cut the grass between the cobblestones on Pennsylvania Avenue.

By 1870, the city’s debt had increased by 33 percent over its total two years before. Bowen was universally blamed, enough so that his furniture was seized in a judgment to try to replenish Washington’s funds. Although he sought reelection that year, Republicans united with Democrats to vote overwhelmingly for his opponent, Matthew Gault Emery.

After leaving office, Bowen served as president of the Freedmen’s Aid Society, and as a member of the board of trustees of colored schools of Washington and Georgetown the board of school commissioners. He died in 1896 and was interred at Congressional Cemetery.


WIKIPEDIA – On June 3, 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Brent informing Brent of his intention to appoint Brent as mayor of the city. Brent replied accepting the appointment that same day: “Altho I feel great diffidence in the talents I possess for executing that duty, in a manner which may afford general satisfaction, yet feeling it a duty to contribute my feeble aid for the public service, I will venture upon its duties.” Brent was reappointed to the position seven times by Jefferson and three times by James Madison, finally relinquishing the position in June 1812. (The position of mayor remained a presidential appointment until 1820.) During his tenure, the city established a system for taxation, established markets, public schools, and a fire department. Brent drew no salary for his service as mayor.



WASHINGTON AREA MUSIC ASSN – In over fifty years of singing and performing, the truly incomparable Ruth Brown, who was discovered in Washington D.C. at the Crystal Caverns on U Street, NW, virtually defined rhythm and blues, topping the charts throughout the 1950s and establishing the legacy of Atlantic Records such that the label became known as “The House That Ruth Built.” Her vocals inspired the likes of Little Richard, and set the stage for the emergence of Rock and Roll. Her contributions to the latter genre were recognized in 1993 when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ruth Brown is also an accomplished actress of stage, screen and television. During her long career, she influenced and was influenced by artists and other celebrities such as Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Clyde McPhatter, Bonnie Raitt, Muhammad Ali, Robert Altman and John Waters. In her autobiography, Ms. Brown notes that, “If they’re under a hundred, honey, I knows ’em!”


CULTURAL TOURISM DC Josephine Butler, a Statehood movement founder, served as chair of the Statehood Party in 1977 and remained a staunch advocate until her death 20 years later. Born in Brandywine, Maryland, Butler moved to Washington in the 1940s. As a laundry worker she helped to organize laundry employees in the city. After the local Bolling v. Sharpe case ended racially separate schools in Washington in 1954, Butler was instrumental in joining the Adams and Morgan elementary schools into one. Butler was also a major park and environmental advocate who led Washington Parks & People at the time of her death. The Josephine Butler Parks Center, 2437 15th Street, NW, honors her memory.

WASHINGTON PARKS CENTER – Daughter of sharecroppers and granddaughter of people who were enslaved, Josephine Butler (1920-1997) was one of innercity Washington’s most respected community leaders, who helped shape nearly every major social change initiative in Washington since the 1930’s. She started America’s first-ever union of black women laundry workers, she helped lead the integration of the Adams and Morgan Schools, she educated thousands of children about the hazards of air pollution a generation before the environmental movement began, she was a lifelong leader in pressing for health care reform, and she co-founded the statehood movement for the District of Columbia. She became a champion of park revitalization to give our communities a place to come together, our children a safe outdoor place to learn about the world, and our city a place to champion true home rule for the lands we cal home. Led by Ms. Butler at the time of her death, Washington Parks & People has named the historic building at 2437 15th Street, NW, after her — in the heart of the community in which she lived and worked for 63 years.

SAM SMITH 1997 – The last time I saw Jo Butler we discussed books. Though burdened with the cold, involuntary appendages of medical technology, Jo spoke with that same enthusiasm she typically applied to the latest political developments.

Or to the oldest. A few years back Jo uncovered some early congressional debates on the city’s status which she disseminated as though they were yesterday’s news, making you as excited about them as she was.

In fact, there was little — from earthworms to earth-shaking — that did not stir Jo’s curiosity and, when required, her compassionate and effective concern. Though her heart might be filled with the overwhelming political and social problems of our time, her eye was always on the sparrow.

Although she will rightfully be honored for her great strokes on behalf of the weak and the unfree, I particularly will remember running into Jo on the street — her bag overflowing with yet to be distributed documents of truth and her hat bedizened with buttons — those campaign ribbons from the endless battlefields where she had stood on the side of the fair, the decent and the just.

She carried the spirit of the city and the spirit of hope not as a possession or a totem, but as seeds to share with anyone who would stop and talk for a moment or two.

She would, from time to time, show up on my block of Connecticut Avenue, like some angel on a temporal inspection tour. We would talk, and laugh, and worry together and when I left her I would always feel more directed, more responsible for what was going on around me, but happier as well.

I will miss her and yet — because she always was an angel — I expect to bump into her spirit often again, at times both unexpected and necessary. And when I do, I will no doubt feel the same gratitude I always did for having known and loved Jo Butler.




ED WILEY III, BET – When conditions in Washington, D.C.’s Jail and prison system declined below constitutional standards, Bryant issued a copious list of court orders and appointed a special master to monitor progress. For more than a quarter-century, Bryant refused to dissolve the case, frequently blasting the D.C. Department of Corrections for failing to bring the system under compliance. By the time he lifted the orders in 2002, one of the most violent, unsanitary, and medically and nutritionally inept facilities in the nation had met the constitutional threshold.

Karen Schneider, who served as the special master for five years and the assistant special master for a half-decade before that, described Bryant as a brilliant defender of the Constitution, who put nothing ahead of fairness. . . .”

WILLIAM B. SCHULTZ IN WASHINGTON POST – Judge Bryant’s modesty was legendary. When outside the courthouse, he never identified himself as a federal judge but simply introduced himself as “Bill Bryant.” He saw his job as deciding cases, and he shunned all press attention, saying, “If you live by the press, you die by the press.” The judge used to say that “there is no end to the good a person can do if he is willing not to receive the credit,” and he meant it. . .

Judge Bryant was an incurable optimist. At 93 he bought a new car so he could drive himself to work. It was this optimism that drew countless visitors to his chambers, where he often greeted them by asking: “What are you doing down here on skid row?”


CAROL LEONNIG, WASHINGTON POST, 2004 – At the age of 93, U.S. District Court Senior Judge William Bryant still drives himself to work at the courthouse four days a week and pushes his walker to his courtroom. At a recent birthday party for Bryant hosted by Vernon Jordan, fellow Senior U.S District Court Judge Louis Oberdorfer remarked that there were “only two people in the world who really understood the Constitution” and how it touched the lives of real people. “That’s Hugo Black and Bill Bryant,” said Oberdorfer. He had clerked for Justice Hugo L. Black, who retired as an associate justice in 1971 after serving on the Supreme Court for 34 years. . .

During a rare interview in his sixth-floor office in the federal courthouse, Bryant reached out for a pocket version of the Constitution covered in torn green plastic lying on the top of his desk. Holding it aloft in his right hand, he told stories of his struggling former clients and made legal phrases — “due process” and “equal protection” — seem like life-saving staples. Though he needs his law clerk’s arm to get up the steps to the bench, he is a fairly busy senior jurist. He handled more criminal trials than any other senior judge last year and still surprises new lawyers with his sharp retorts. “I feel like I’m part of the woodwork,” Bryant said. “I have to think hard to think of a time when I wasn’t in this courthouse.”


Buzzard’s Point got its name because it was a popular feeding place for buzzards thanks to the back eddies where the Eastern Branch (Anacostia) and the Potomac met, trapping waste food and carcasses. Among the sites at Buzzard’s Point is Ft. McNair. According to American Forts, it was originally known as Washington Arsenal. “It was first fortified in 1793 with a one-gun earthwork battery, and sometimes referred to as Fort at Greenleaf Point or Fort at (Turkey) Buzzard’s Point. It was refortified with 10 guns in 1814 as the British approached the city. It was destroyed by the British as they burned Washington. In 1826 the first federal prison was built here. Probably known as Post at Washington during the Civil War. President Lincoln’s conspirators were tried and executed here. It now serves as the Headquarters of the Military District of Washington.


Jean Camper Cahn (1935-1991) and Edgar Cahn (b. 1935) have been two important figures in the struggle for equal justice. They met at Swathmore College and were married in 1957. Both went to Yale Law School. In 1962, they helped establish Community Progress Inc., which included the nation’s first “neighborhood law office,” a pilot program funded by the Ford Foundation. In 1963, the Cahns moved to Washington, DC. Jean was hired as an attorney for the State Department and Edgar worked as a speech writer for Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In 1964, Edgar and Jean co-authored their landmark article, The War on Poverty: A Civilian Perspective, published in the Yale Law Journal. 7Building on Jean’s experience with the New Haven neighborhood law office, their article developed a new intellectual rationale for legal representation of the poor, one that stressed the role of lawyers in empowering poor people to better their lives. This seminal article gained instant attention, especially from Sargent Shriver, director of the newly established Office of Economic Opportunity.

After reading it, Shriver was convinced the “War on Poverty” should include a legal services component. He brought Edgar to OEO as his Special Assistant and chief speech writer and employed Jean as a consultant to help launch a legal services program. In late 1964, the American Bar Association was undecided on whether to support or oppose OEO’s proposed legal services initiatives. Shriver assigned Edgar and Jean to negotiate with ABA leader. The result was a partnership between OEO and the ABA, solidified by a unanimous resolution of support from the Association’s House of Delegates in February 1965.

When the OEO Legal Services Program came into existence in September 1965, Jean Cahn was one of the first appointees to the program’s influential National Advisory Committee. After leaving OEO, Edgar and Jean Cahn remained active in legal services and public interest law. In 1968, Jean created a public interest law firm at George Washington University called the Urban Law Institute. George Washington University later closed the Institute because it feared controversy from some of the cases the program brought in. The closing of the Institute fueled the Cahns’ interest in creating a brand or legal education that would promote legal aid. With this thought in mind, the Cahns started their own law school, Antioch Law School, in Washington in 1972.

In 1983, Edgar Cahn took a position as a professor at the University of Miami Law School. In the 1990’s, Edgar returned to Washington, joining the faculty of the District of Columbia Law School, the successor of the Antioch Law School the Cahns established nearly two decades earlier. The Cahns followed their seminal Yale Law Journal with other thought provoking writings about legal services and public interest law. – UDC LAW SCHOOL


Thomas Franklin Schneider, architect of some 2,000 DC buildings, built the Cairo in 1894 near the edge of Washington City (Boundary Street — Florida Avenue). The 1893 Transportation Building at the Chicago World’s Fair inspired him. Originally the hotel had a ballroom, bowling alley, billiard room, coffee shop, and rooftop garden. It received water from an underground spring. Visitors to the rooftop frequently dropped pebbles to the street below, causing horses to give carriage riders the scare of their lives. This led to the closing of food on the roof after just three years.

The building set off the firestorm over building height, and led to the law that has kept most of D.C.’s skyline low. Neighbors demanded a “wind test” be conducted to prove it wouldn’t fall, complained that it blocked their light, and were terrified of fire — no ladder could reach the top. The hotel was known for ballroom and mambo dancing on Saturdays. The room rates in 1953-54 were $4.00 per day for a single room with a private bath, breakfast was 45 cents, lunch 85 cents, and dinner $1.15. One resident reported that the last Queen of Hawaii lived in the Cairo while lobbying the U.S. to reclaim her throne.

By the 1960s, the hotel was a rundown brothel, with a telephone operator who listened in on calls for entertainment (the old plug-in switchboard).

A survey of in 1997 showed most residents were American (84%), from 21 different states, D.C., and Puerto Rico; 16% reported being from 11 countries and Palestine, and 42% reported being fluent in at least one other language besides English; 58% speak English only. Altogether, residents reported speaking a total of 15 languages. 65% of owners reported living in D.C. ten years or more. — Mark Richards


Elaborate fire call boxes like the one at left were first installed in Washington in the 1860s. They complimented a large system of gas street light illumination, first installed in the city streets in 1848. The peak of gas illumination was reached in 1926, when there were 12,371 gaslights burning in the city. Fire call box 17 at left was installed at 4 1/2 Street, and was typical of these early designs; a round cast iron base with a tall lamp post atop which concealed a gas burner. . .

This type of box required the sender to break the glass, turn the key and open the door, then pull down hook inside to transmit the alarm to a central alarm office where the box number tapped out on a bell, flashed on a red signal light, and punched out its number on a paper tape register much like a stock ticker. There was also a telegraph key and sounder inside each box, which the chief, or chief’s driver could use to order a greater alarm or fire all-out signal to the central alarm office. . .

A 1923 decision to convert the gaslights to electric was gradually enforced over the following decade, and the last three gaslights were turned off on June 23, 1934. . .

The first call boxes installed Washington in the 1860s were painted black and kept locked. A sign over the box on the pole notified where the key could be found. Each key was numbered and trapped in the door until the department arrived so they could see who opened the box to send the alarm. . .

Police call boxes, on the other hand, were sealed boxes that a patrol officer would use a key to enter and flip a switch to notify a central command center that his patrol was proceeding as normal and that no assistance was necessary. Police officers pulled a different box switch on their patrol route every thirty minutes. . .

In most cities walkie-talkies and car two-way radios caused the downfall of the police and fire boxes. The call boxes in Washington were maintained by the Department of Public Works with many remaining in use until 1976, when the 911 system of emergency contact was established in the city. Most of the Fire call boxes were abandoned after the 1968 riots, when civil unrest destroyed many of those in the affected areas, and others were continually used for false alarms. – Cultural Tourism DC


THE CONGRESSIONAL BUNKER AKA ‘VISITOR’S CENTER’ IS being built to the depth of an six story building underground. It will be below the water table, complicating construction. Workers are subjected to retinal scans and magnetometer screening as well as normal security checks. This structure – providing a Capitol architect called “a perceived atmosphere of free public access” – is currently costing about $1 million a congress member. 4/06

ALAN M. HANTMAN, ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL, 1997: The Capitol Visitor Center is proposed as a project that will enhance the security and life safety in the Capitol, facilitate communication while improving appropriate levels of support services, convenience and a positive learning experience for the millions of people who visit here each year. . .

Therefore, the plan for this Visitor Center basically has a threefold purpose – one, to provide a structure located under the East Plaza with reception facilities, educational exhibits, amenities, auditoriums and other programs and support services; two, to integrate design concepts for a visitor center with the redesign of the East Plaza surface treatment in a way that is aesthetically and functionally appropriate; and three, to permit the adoption of appropriate measures to strengthen the security of the Capitol while ensuring the preservation of a perceived atmosphere of free public access. . .


MATT SCHUDEL WASHINGTON POST – David Carliner, a Washington immigration and civil rights lawyer who spent his career pleading for the rights of the country’s disenfranchised, died Sept. 19 of a heart attack at George Washington University Hospital — the same university that had refused to admit him more than 70 years earlier because of his outspoken political views. He was 89.

In his private law practice and as the first chairman of the D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Carliner took up causes that many considered unpopular or foolhardy. When few other lawyers saw merit in such cases, he challenged state and federal laws on segregation, mixed-race marriage, illegal immigrants and homosexuality. He was often on the losing side in court, but he lived long enough to see judges, legislators and public opinion adopt many views he had advocated years before.

In the 1960s, Mr. Carliner was chairman of the D.C. Home Rule Committee and helped shape a plan to give the city an independent government. . .

As a senior at McKinley High School, he was accused of trying to incite a riot by calling for a student rally. The school’s principal, Frank C. Daniel, asked the police to post a guard at every door and, according to a Post article, “to keep an eye on David Carliner, a senior he believes to be the leader of a chapter of the National Student League, alleged red affiliate.” The principal then suspended Mr. Carliner “until he is willing to stop agitating.”. . .

In 1940, he was expelled from law school when he was arrested for distributing the writings of Communist leader Earl Browder. Mr. Carliner returned to Washington and graduated in 1941 from the National University School of Law (later part of GWU).

During World War II, he completed Officer Candidate School but was denied a commission, he maintained, because of his political views. After the war, he became one of the first lawyers to concentrate on immigration law, and by 1954 he handled his first high-profile case, Naim v. Naim.

In 1952, a Chinese immigrant named Ham Say Naim married a woman in North Carolina and settled in Virginia. Two years later, she sought an annulment on the grounds that interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia.

Mr. Carliner argued that the anti-miscegenation law violated the Constitution, but in 1955 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state had the right to “preserve the racial integrity of its citizens” and “to regulate the marriage relation so that it shall not have a mongrel breed of citizens.”

The U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down Virginia’s interracial marriage ban in 1967.


Washington Post – Allen D. “Big Al” Carter, an immensely productive artist who defied stylistic trends and commercial expectations to pursue his singular vision on no one’s terms but his own, died Dec. 18 of complications from diabetes at Virginia Hospital Center. He was 61 and lived in Alexandria. . . His work is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and, during the past three years, was featured in museum exhibitions in North Carolina and Minnesota. . .

Mr. Carter sold some of his artwork to friends and collectors, but he was reluctant to part with much of it. Working feverishly at all hours of the day and night, he amassed a cache of thousands of paintings, drawings and collages that varied from wall-size murals to miniature watercolors that could fit in the palm of his hand. Most of his art has never been seen in public.

“Mr. Carter stood 6 feet 3 inches, weighed 340 pounds and possessed a gregarious, larger-than-life personality that made him an unforgettable character to many who knew him. He was known to one and all — including himself — as “Big Al” or just “Big.”

Much to the annoyance of curators and collectors, Mr. Carter did not date his paintings and offered only vague hints at when they were made. He painted on canvas, TV trays, lampshades, boat rudders and home-movie screens, and incorporated musical instruments, brushes, wood and other objects into works. He often used house paint and rummaged through trash bins behind art stores for half-used tubes of oil and acrylic paint.


JOEL SIEGEL – A deeply though unconventionally spiritual person, she viewed her talent as a gift and an obligation. Clearly, she inherited a predisposition for creative expression from her parents. Her father, Hugh, who taught special education at Prince George’s County, Maryland, public schools, is a bassist, cellist, and sculptor. Her mother Barbara, the couple met in Germany in 1960, comes from a family of craftsmen and decorators. When Eva, born in 1963, began drawing at 2 and 1/2, her sensitivity to form and color were immediately apparent. At 9, she became serious about music, singing and practicing guitar hour after hour. Hugh taught her the rudiments of guitar technique, introduced her to folk music, Buffy St. Marie, Josh White, Pete Seeger, and formed a family ensemble that combined four-part vocal harmony wth his bass, Eva’s guitar, and her brother Dan’s violin. . .

In her teens, Eva sang and played with a pop group, Stonehenge, and spent a summer performing six shows daily with Dan as part of a country band at Wild World, a local theme park. . .

In 1986, she arrived at bassist Chris Biondo’s Maryland recording studio to sing for a demo by Method Actor, a soft rock band headed by her high school friend, Dave Lourim. “It was the middle of winter,” Biondo remembers. “She was so insecure, I had to go out to the parking lot and coax her to come inside.” He was impressed with her singing and invited her to return so that he could record her as a soloist. “For the next eight months, she’d come by on her day off from the nursery to sing and play. Just hearing her voice made me feel happy. She had no career goals in mind, except maybe having a demo cassette to help her get gigs as a backup singer.”

One day, Al Dale, whose job with the National Park Service included booking entertainment for outdoor concerts, dropped into Biondo’s studio. “I heard this wonderful, soulful voice but couldn’t see the singer from where I was sitting in the booth. When the musicians took a break, I was expecting a black woman, but instead out came this blonde, blue-eyed white lady. I told her how much I loved her singing and gradually we became friends. When I offered to help her with her career, she seemed astonished. The first thing she said was `Why would anyone want to pay to hear me sing?’ She had no idea how great she was.”. . .

Encouraged by Biondo and Dale, she formed the Eva Cassidy Band in the spring of 1990. At first, she felt uncomfortable on-stage, keeping her eyes downcast to avoid making contact with the audience. But as she came to realize how much people enjoyed her music, she gradually evolved into a more confident, outgoing performer. The group’s appearances at Blues Alley, the Wharf, the Birchmere, 219, Fleetwood’s and other D.C. area clubs attracted a hard-core following. . .

Frustrated by the record industry, Biondo and Dale decided to showcase Eva’s music on a self-produced CD, taped live at Georgetown’s Blues Alley in January 1996. Characteristically, she was unsatisfied with the results, and begged them not to release the album. After considerable persuasion, a compromise was reached. She agreed to let them issue the live CD if she could immediately begin working on a follow-up studio album. Her insecurity about Live At Blues Alley was unfounded. When the album appeared in June, Washington reviewers hailed it as one of the most accomplished solo vocal debuts of the decade. . .

Eva By Heart is Cassidy’s artistic testament, demonstrating the scope, versatility and depth of her talents. She was attracted to songs that express profound themes (love, loss, transcendence, redemption) drawn from a diversity of musical traditions which she transforms into haunting personal statements. . . One of the greatest voices of her generation, Eva Cassidy never regretted failing to achieve the recognition she deserved. People who knew and loved her feel that this private, stubborn, sensitive woman would not have tolerated the intrusions and inconveniences of celebrity, and probably would have pedaled away from the limelight on her bicycle.

JOAN ANDERMAN, BOSTON GLOBE – When she performed at Washington’s Blues Alley in July 1996 to promote her first solo record, ”Live at Blues Alley,” Cassidy was already walking with a cane – though the soreness in her hip was still a mystery. The next month she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.



Ryan J. Reilly, CU Tower, 2008 – The exorcism room in the attic of Caldwell Hall was open to students for tours on Halloween night, hosted by The House. The House welcomed over 350 students, a record number for House events this year, for a night of food, games and tours that retraced the steps of the famous exorcism that supposedly occurred in Caldwell Hall’s attic.

Rev. Robert Schlageter, the Chaplain & Director of Campus Ministry, helped The House receive special permission in order to open the attic, which is normally locked, to student tours for the night. Throughout the night House members Kelsey Flynn, Josh Baum and Jonathon Jerome led small groups of students up the stairs of Caldwell Hall and through the attic where students were able to stand in the room that the exorcism is said to have occurred. As students walked into the exorcism room they were able to view a bed and a kneeler placed in front of photos pasted on the wall with faces scratched out.

People generally consider the film The Exorcist when discussing exorcisms. Interestingly, the troubled priest in that film was played by Jason Miller, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and University alumnus. One of the stories told on the tours was the tragic death of Rev. William Fogarty in June, 1896. According to a Washington Post article regarding the event, a sick Fr. Fogarty could not sleep and had gone to the fourth floor of Caldwell to get fresh air when he lost balance and fell out of the window, falling to his death. When at the hospital, however, doctors found no bruises or cuts on Fogarty’s body.

Many students came dressed in their Halloween costumes. The House members dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, lightening the mood for those that came back white faced and anxious from their visit to the legendary exorcism room.


Wikipedia – The Cellar Door was a music club at 34th and M Street in Washington, D.C. from 1965 through 1978. It emerged from The Shadows, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. It was one of the premier music spots in Washington and was the genesis as well as a tryout for larger markets. Many great names in 1960s and 1970s music played there. It also was a venue for new talent.

Some of the names that played there live early in their careers are:

  • Linda Ronstadt (her band was made up of later members of The Eagles)
  • Neil Young
  • John Denver (He wrote and sang his “Leaving on a Jet Plane” there prior to being released by Peter, Paul and Mary.)
  • Miles Davis
  • Modern Jazz Quartet
  • Muddy Waters

Many other famous artists performed there such as B.B. King, Buddy Rich, John Sebastian, Steve Goodman, Tom Rush, Richard Pryor and Jimmy Buffett.

The club was the venue for The Cellar Door Sessions, a live album with Miles Davis. Many artists cut their professional teeth performing at the Cellar Door, while audiences delighted in being within a few feet of the stage at the tiny venue. Also recorded at The Cellar Door is Danny Gattons famous The Redneck Jazz Explosion album.

Warm–up acts included such performers as Donal Leace, Fat City (later to become the Starland Vocal Band), Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. Early 1970s audiences saw Tommy Smothers, Great Speckled Bird (Ian and Sylvia), Glenn Yarbrough, Roger McGuinn and many other singles from past groups. T



DON ROUSE – In the 50s, Bill Whelan led the band at one of the most popular jazz venues in DC, the Bayou. “Wild Bill” Whelan and his Dixie Six were locally famous and packed the place nightly. . .

In the 1940s Whelan was one of a group of kids at Western High (now Duke Ellington School of the Arts) in DC who turned to playing jazz. Fellow students who went on to play locally were Wally Garner, Charlie Howze, Larry Eanet, Jimmy Hamilton, Walt Coombs, Walt Gifford, and more. They were already jamming in the band practice rooms at Western.

Whelan’s first long term successful venue was at the Charles Hotel (Willis Conover emceed). The Charles proved to be a venue so popular that the band outgrew it, leading Whelan to gravitate to the cavernous ancient warehouse on the Georgetown waterfront that eventually bore the name “The Bayou” (its name and ownership got changed after a murder there). . .

One night at the Charles, Bill recalled, a pianist sat down and played during intermission. Ever gregarious, Bill went over to him and said, “You know, you sound good. Keep it up, and I think you’ll make it.” Shortly after, Duke Ellington, the pianist, was introduced to the audience. Later Duke went over to Bill, smiled, and said, “So, do you really think I’ll make it?”.



NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is one of the most intact and impressive survivals of the American canal-building era. The C&O Canal is unique in that it remains virtually unbroken and without substantial modification affecting its original character for its entire length of 185 miles. The C&O Company was chartered in 1825 to construct a shipping canal connecting tidewater on the Potomac River in DC with the headwaters of the Ohio River in western Pennsylvania, thereby providing an economical trade route between the eastern seaboard and the trans-Allegheny West. The company acquired the rights of the Potomac Company, formed by George Washington and associates to improve navigation on the Potomac. That venture had attempted to achieve its objective by deepening the channel and cutting skirting canals around impassible rapids, but the flow of the river proved too erratic to make these measures successful. This experience led C&O promoters to adopt plans for a separate canal paralleling the river. President John Quincy Adams turned the first spadeful of earth in ceremonies at Little Falls, Maryland, on July 4, 1828. On the same day, construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad westward from Baltimore was begun-a move that would have significant implications for the ultimate fate of the canal and the canal era generally.

From the start, numerous difficulties retarded the progress of the canal construction. An acute labor shortage forced the company to campaign for workers from other states. Numerous disputes arose with landowners that resisted efforts to purchase the right-of-way. Between 1842 and 1847, construction was at a standstill. The canal was finally completed to Cumberland, Maryland, in 1850, bringing the total cost of the project to over $11 million.

During the years following the Civil War, the coal trade increased rapidly until in 1871, the peak year, some 850,000 tons were carried down the canal. During these few profitable years more than 500 boats were in frequent operation on the canal. In the late 1870s the canal trade began to decline as many of the Allegheny coal operators began to ship over the B&O Railroad, the canal’s greatest competitor. This development, together with the effects of the nationwide economic depression in the mid-1870s and major floods in 1877 and 1886, again put a severe strain on the finances. In 1889 an enormous flood forced the canal company into receivership, and the B&O Railroad emerged as the majority owner of the company’s bonds. In 1924, by which time the railroad had captured almost all of the carrying trade, another damaging flood struck. This time the repairs necessary to resume operation were not made, and the active era of the canal came to an end.

In 1938 the railroad, hurt by the Depression, sold the entire canal to the United States government, and the canal was placed under the National Park Service. In 1961, President Eisenhower proclaimed it a national monument. An act of Congress in 1971 authorized the acquisition of additional land and establishment of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

The canal survives as an excellent illustration of 19th-century canal-building technology. The magnitude of the engineering achievement is exemplified by the length of the canal, its 74 lift locks to accommodate a rise of 605 feet, the 11 stone aqueducts spanning the major Potomac tributaries, 7 dams supplying water to the canal, hundreds of culverts carrying roads and streams beneath the canal, and a 3,117-foot tunnel carrying the canal through a large shale rock formation.

The C&O Canal runs along the Potomac River west from Rock Creek The Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park is located along the C&O Canal from Rock Creek Park to the DC boundary and extends into Maryland. The park is open during all daylight hours. Some of the park’s five visitor centers operate on a seasonal schedule.

Matthew Logan, C& O Canal Trust, letter to the Post, 2008 – Surprisingly few Washingtonians realize that the C& O is a national park, let alone one of America’s most heavily used recreation areas. In fact, it receives more visitors every year than Acadia, Everglades, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah, Yellowstone or Zion national parks. Its enormous popularity — both with out-of-town visitors and local residents — is due in large part to the accessibility afforded by its distinctive, ribbon-like configuration. The park stretches for 184.5 miles along the eastern bank of the Potomac River, from Georgetown in Washington to Cumberland, Md., yet in many places it is no more than 50 yards wide.

Most of its 3 million visitors come to enjoy recreational opportunities such as hiking, birdwatching, fishing, cycling, etc. But to view the canal as merely a place to exercise is to miss so much of what makes it unique. From an ecological standpoint, the park is of incalculable value to the health of the Potomac River (the source of most of the region’s drinking water) and, by extension, the Chesapeake Bay. . . . The park is also home to one of the East Coast’s biodiversity hotspots: the Potomac Gorge, which provides habitat to more than 1,500 species, including nearly 200 that are listed as rare, threatened or endangered. The park also has more than 1,300 historic structures in various states of repair. They account for fully 5 percent of all historic structures within the entire national park system.



WASHINGTON POST – Before they became limousine famous, Emmylou Harris and Bruce Springsteen played in a litany of run-down, no-name joints, where small, unsuspecting audiences got that rare chance to see, hear and touch undiscovered genius. In Washington, that joint was the Childe Harold, a cozy, wood-lined saloon in Dupont Circle, where, in its heyday, patrons filled every nook and cranny, the bathrooms reeked of marijuana and everyone talked for years after about whom they saw perform there. . . After 40 years, the Childe Harold shut down for the last time. The owner made no announcement, saying he was too grief-stricken over losing something that has been in his blood since he was a teenager washing dishes in the kitchen and, later, broiling steaks for Springsteen between sets. . . At its creation in 1967, the Childe Harold was christened for a Lord Byron poem celebrating a young man’s world travels. The saloon soon became associated with one of its first owners, Bill Heard Jr., a whiskey-drinking raconteur whose brawling ways had gotten him kicked out of a host of gin joints across town. At his own place, though, Heard was free to rant and rave, sometimes at his customers, including George McGovern, who wandered in one night in 1972 looking for French food only to get an earful from the owner about how his presidential campaign was doomed.

DC ROCKS – I don’t know how many times I heard Rodney the bartender bellow last call at the Childe Harold, but it’s more than I care to count. Another Washington Institution is gone, and this one at a relatively young age considering it opened in 1967. . .

Everybody knows that Springsteen and Emmy Lou Harris played there long before they were big wigs; they even named sandwiches for them, but not everybody knows that The Ramones played there as well. And lots of local acts like The Insect Surfers, Razz, The Nurses, Catfish Hodge, and The Bad Brains. (Nobody named a sandwich for them.)

Marshall Keith of The Slickee Boys remembers this: “Since it was a tiny club, it made it really exciting, because people were packed in and falling all over each other. I saw The Ramones there. There was no punk rock in DC then. They were inspiring. Their stage moves seemed choreographed to me, which at first was disconcerting, but it was so effective that they were great. They (and anything punk) was panned in the Washington Post. It took a few years and Joe Sasfy before favorable punk reviews made their way into the mainstream. . .

Root Boy Slim and The Sex Change Band was also a frequent performer. Slim would change clothes between sets wearing anything from zoot suits to hippie togs. Sometimes he had strippers with him just in case his show wasn’t wild enough on its own which is hard to believe if you ever saw him.

The music ended long ago, unfortunately, and the guy who started it, Bill Heard Jr. is gone as well. So are Rodney and Root Boy Slim. Maybe they are off some place-all having a drink together where there is no last call.


WIKIPEDIA –Chocolate City is the name of a 1975 album by Parliament. It features the classic P-Funk combination of George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and Eddie Hazel and the debut of the Horney Horns consisting of Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley. The album has a theme of love of Washington DC where P-Funk was particularly popular – with the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial both featured on the cover as well as a sticker titled “Washington DC”. The album reached the top 20 of the Billboard black charts but only reached #91 on the album charts.

The album takes its name from the term Chocolate city which had been used to describe Washington DC where blacks were a majority. The term had been used by Washington’s black AM radio stations WOL-AM and WOOK-AM since the early 1970’s to refer to the city. Bobby “The Mighty Burner” Bennett, a DJ on WOL, told the Washington Post in 1998 “Chocolate City for me was the expression of D.C.’s classy funk and confident blackness.”

George Clinton used the concept in the title track using the black domination of the inner cities as a positive message in contrast to concern over white flight. The lyrics of the song refer to “there are a large number of chocolate cities around/We got Newark, we got Gary/Someone told me we got L.A./ But you’re the capital D.C.” All of the cities referred to had black mayors at the time . . .

Clinton’s lyrics referred to Chocolate City as “my piece of the rock” as opposed to the “40 acres and a mule” that slaves were promised after the Civil War. He contrasted the chocolate city with the “vanilla suburbs” a term first used on the track.

KENNETH CARROLL, WASHINGTON POST, 1998 -“You will not refer to the nation’s capital as D.C. in my classroom,” screamed Mrs. Hillman to the 25 brown faces populating her third-grade class at the Lucy D. Stowe Elementary School in Northeast. Had I not been 8 years old and a coward, I would have told Mrs. Hillman that for us, Washington and D.C. were entities separate and apart. Washington was the White House, monuments, slick museums, ornate embassies; it was where our parents worked. D.C. was neighborhoods, playgrounds, stores, churches and relatives. It was where we lived.

After April 4, 1968, not even Mrs. Hillman could put Washington and D.C. back together again. If the city had been two distinct places for us before the riots, then afterward it became many Washingtons and multiple D.C.’s. In the mid-’70s, however, black Washington coalesced around an idea voiced by the glib tongue of a funk maestro, a idea that momentarily fused D.C’s divisions with a vision:

We didn’t get our forty acres and a mule,
but we did get you CC . . .
A Chocolate City is no dream,
it’s my piece of the rock and I love you CC. . .

Walk up to any black person who was in D.C. in the ’70s and ask if they remember Chocolate City. If they stare at you blankly or mention Hershey, Pa., you know you are dealing with a mutant strain of squareness or, God forbid, a ‘bama-an individual rank and unrepentant in his or her backwardness. But the reaction is likely to be a smile and shared memories of Parliament-Funkadelic, the struggle for home rule, whist games and the hand dance called the bop. . . Chocolate City was a cultural muscularity flexing itself in images like Gaston Neal and the New School of African American Thought hosting Sun Ra in the middle of 14th Street. . . It was a pop cultural expression of hope. . .


WIKIPEDIA – William Christenberry (born November 5, 1936) is a photographer, painter and sculptor who works with personal and somewhat mythical themes growing out of his childhood experiences in Hale County, Alabama. Christenberry received his Bachelor’s (1958) and Master’s (1959) degrees in fine arts from the University of Alabama, studying under noted abstract expressionist Melville Price. Since 1968 he has taught at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C..

His artistic career began with the painting of large abstract-expressionist canvasses, but gradually he began to be drawn to material that spoke about the place of his childhood. Though he was raised in Tuscaloosa, Christenberry spent his summers with extended family in rural Hale County. After graduating from the University of Alabama and beginning a promising, if not immediately rewarding, artistic career in New York City, he came across the 1941 book Now Let Us Praise Famous Men in which James Agee describes the experience of living among the dirt-poor farming families of Hale County during the Great Depression. Some of the photographs from the book which were taken by Agee’s collaborator Walker Percy made a deep impression on Christenberry.

Shortly after beginning a professorship at Corcoran College, Christenberry began making annual visits to Hale County in the summers to visit family and to explore and make photographs. Originally these were all made with a Kodak Brownie camera given to him as a child, but he later moved to a large format Deardorff view camera in order to capture more detail. On one notable occassion in 1973, Walker Evans, who had encouraged Christenberry to take his photographs seriously, accompanied him. This was Evans’ first and only return to Hale County since 1936.

One of the results of this pilgrimage has been a series of remarkable photographs documenting the decay of individual structures, which are photographed as nearly isolated objects. In 1974

Christenberry began translating some of these photographed buildings into incredibly detailed models which accurately reproduce their state of decay and patina. The bases for these models are often set in actual soil from the place. On many of these trips Christenberry has collected old advertising signs and other found objects which inspire him. Some of these are incorporated in his work while others hang in his studio.

Another series of works was provoked by a terrifying incident when, out of curiousity, he tried to attend a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. Confronted at the door by a glaring masked figure, Christenberry fled. Though he destroyed his first two Klan paintings, the subject occupied him for many years, resulting in a dense multi-media construction adjacent to his studio that came to be known as the Klan Room, which was mysteriously burgled in 1979. Christenberry has largely reconstructed the room, which is filled with paintings, found objects, drawings, sculptures, dioramas, and a series of fabric dolls of klansmen in their hooded robes.

Known now more as a photographer and multi-media artist than as a painter, Christenberry continues to teach painting. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows around the world and is the subject of several monographs.


CHANNEL FOUR – The Church of God on Georgia Avenue in Washington has had radio sermons and church services on the air since 1929. That’s longer than any other service except for the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “The Happy Am I” theme song begins the church’s early morning broadcast at four on Sunday’s on 103.5, WTOP radio. Assistant pastor Walter Roman leads the service, which is recorded Thursday night for Sunday morning’s broadcast. Lightfoot Solomon Michaux founded the church in the early 1900s. He died in 1968. The church, which has a rich history of gospel choirs and service, has scene many famous visitors over the years, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and boxer Joe Lewis.



CICADAVILLE – Here are some quick answers to frequently asked questions about the Cicada.

What do Cicadas eat? Human children are the primary source of nutrition for Cicadas.

Are Cicadas poisonous? Yes, Cicadas have a deadly venom that is injected through a small bone like tube known as the “Cicada deadly venom tube”. The venom can kill a human being instantly. In 1987, the last time the Cicadas emerged in Cincinnati, over 7 million people died from Cicada injections. Many people escaped but most perished.

How do Cicadas mate? The female cicada injects her eggs under the skin of a small human child. The cicada pupae then grow inside the child until they reach maturity. Unless you protect your children they may become host to thousands of deadly Cicada pupae.

With minor surgery and a little makeup can a large Cicada be made to resemble Ryan Seacrest? Yes, there are many documented cases of Cicadas being successfully altered to look like Ryan Seacrest.

How large are Cicadas? Many of the Cicadas in this year’s strain stand over 3 feet tall and weigh over 50 pounds.

Do Cicadas make that loud buzzing sound to attract a mate? No, that is a common myth. Our research indicates that sound is actually a battle cry that roughly translates as Kill the Humans. When you hear that sound, take cover! It means the killing spree is about to begin.

How do Cicadas make that loud buzzing sound? This is a part of our research that is not complete yet but we suspect the sound is generated deep within their evil soul.


SCOTT W. LANGILL, DC H-NET – The Civilian Conservation Corps in the District of Columbia was under the jurisdiction of the Army Reserve Third Corps Area with headquarters at Baltimore. The Third Corps also had jurisdiction over Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The first camp, NP-7, was constructed in 1933 near Anacostia Road and E Street, S.E. in the northwest corner of Fort Dupont Park. There were two other CCC camps: NP-11 at 28th Street and Morris Place, N.E. and NP-14 in Rock Creek Park at 5801 Oregon Avenue, N.W.

In addition to improvements at Fort Dupont, workers at NP-7 were assigned to the Arboretum under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and to the Anacostia Flats . . . the site of the eviction of the Bonus Army’s Camp Marks the year before, an event which played a significant role in Hoover’s loss of the presidency to FDR.

The workers at NP-14 were responsible for many improvements to Rock Creek Park including construction of the stone house now used by the Park Police.

Other notable projects of the CCC in the District included reconstruction of Fort Stevens and the restoration of Roosevelt Island and a 22-mile sector of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (from Georgetown to Seneca, Maryland. . .

There were two footnotable incidents involving the CCC in the District:

– A one day hunger strike in 1938 to protest the number of eggs served at breakfast.

– In 1939, during a baseball game in Anacostia Park between CCC NP-7 and the Carefree Circle Nine, there was a brief sit-down strike by CCC players when a “red-head girl” took the mound. The CCC players then struck “chivalrously” at every pitch. She retired after three strikeouts for the sake of “peaceful relations.”



PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES -Stephen W. Coleman is the Executive Director of Washington Parks & People, a grassroots alliance of D.C. community parks partnerships. He has helped mobilize thousands of volunteers in support of community park reclamation, beginning over a decade ago with the dramatic transformation of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park from one of the capital’s most violent parks into one of its safest. In 1999, he led the establishment of the Josephine Butler Parks Center inside the former Hungarian Embassy – a permanent 18,000-square-foot “greenhouse” for seeding community reclamation of the District of Columbia’s long forgotten community green spaces.


MARC FISHER, WASHINGTON POST – A series of political and financial disasters have virtually wiped college radio off the air in our region. Only the University of Maryland’s WMUC (88.1 FM) remains, and though it boasts its share of cutting-edge programming, its weak signal doesn’t carry far from College Park. (It can be heard online at http://www.wmuc.umd.edu.)

Once upon a time, Georgetown, Howard, American and the University of the District of Columbia had stations that either were student-run or broadcast lots of student-produced programming.

American’s WAMU (88.5 FM), where Washington radio legends Willard Scott and Ed Walker met as student DJs, evolved into a professionally run station, a flagship of National Public Radio offering news and talk programs. Howard had no station until The Washington Post donated its FM outlet, WTOP-FM, to the university in 1971. The university initially gave students a prominent role on the station, but WHUR (96.3 FM) soon became a big, professionally managed moneymaker for the school and remains one of the city’s most popular commercial music stations.

Georgetown’s WGTB was one of the most important pioneers of the underground radio movement of the early 1970s. To the horror of the university’s Jesuit administration, the station became a purveyor of radical politics, alternative electronic rock, way-out jazz, gay and feminist shows and even, in 1975, public service announcements for an abortion referral service. That last agitation was the beginning of the end. Georgetown’s administration cracked down on the station, fired its general manager and tried to restore control over programming. The students kept pushing the limits, and in 1979 the Jesuits sold the station to the University of the District of Columbia for $1.

UDC used the 90.1 frequency to create a jazz station that was staffed primarily by professionals but included students. But in 1997, under pressure from the city’s congressionally imposed financial control board, UDC sold Jazz 90 to C-SPAN for $13 million.

The sale disturbed then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, who wondered whether other colleges “under pressure to bring in revenues” would also “sell off their noncommercial stations? With what result for the public?”


RYAN HOLEYWELL, WASHINGTON POST, 2006 – On any given day, the District’s 199-year-old Congressional Cemetery — the final resting place for the remains of nearly 55,000 people — is likely to be teeming with Labradors, schnauzers and retrievers, all of whom are very much alive. . . Hundreds of families pay a yearly fee for the privilege of letting their dogs off the leash to roam amid the stone obelisks, crosses and religious sculptures that dot the 32-acre landscape just a few blocks from the D.C. jail and the old General Hospital. The fees are used to fund lawn-mowing expenses at the sometimes cash-strapped cemetery where many military leaders, senators, House members, cabinet officials and D.C. mayors lie. . .

The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Congressional as one of its 11 most-endangered historic sites in 1997. At that time, the cemetery — which boasts longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, U.S. Marine band conductor and march composer John Philip Sousa, and Declaration of Independence signer Elbridge Gerry among its denizens — was “suffering from increasing neglect, vandalism and theft,” according to the National Trust.

Since then volunteers have been activated, and Congress has created a $2 million endowment and allocated several million dollars for vault repairs, tree removal and road fixes, said Linda Harper, chairwoman of the cemetery’s board. In the last 10 years, about a quarter of the vaults have been repaired, 300 new trees planted and more than 300 headstones restored, Harper said. While caretakers once had to worry about keeping visitors safe from “falling in a hole or having a monument falling on them,” Harper said, now they can spend time studying how they can best tell its story.

BRYAN BENDER, BOSTON GLOBE, 2007 – Two centuries after the Congressional Cemetery was established on a bluff just a few miles east of the US Capitol, the unique repository of American history is largely forsaken. Missing from most tourist maps, and located in a neighborhood long associated with urban crime, the privately run cemetery was cited in 1997 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most endangered national landmarks. The trust said, “the site is suffering from increasing neglect, vandalism, and theft.”

Efforts to rehabilitate and safeguard the historic place, however, have met with little success. A century-old church on the grounds was vandalized last month, its stained-glass windows smashed. Desperate for cash, the cemetery raises about $90,000 a year — barely enough to cut the grass — by renting the space as the only off-leash dog park in Washington. In 2000, a cemetery official was fired after allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from the cemetery foundation. . .

Despite its name, the cemetery was not established by the government, but was among the first private cemeteries in Washington, open to the celebrated as well as the common deceased. Lore is that it was dubbed the Congressional Cemetery in hopes of securing federal funding. It is still a functioning cemetery. . .

Amid cracked stone pathways and muddy plots lies the grave of Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, who signed the Declaration of Independence and later served as vice president under James Madison. His practice of “gerrymandering” congressional districts in favor of the party in power is still relied on today. . .

Other sunken graves are those of war heroes, villains, explorers, and Indian chiefs such as Push-ma-ta-ha of the Choctaw Nation, who served with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans in 1814 and died of croup during a diplomatic mission to Washington in 1824. . .

“There are a lot fascinating stories in that cemetery,” said Douglas Owsley , an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution who was called in last year to solve a mystery: Was the skull kept in a D.C. councilman’s office that of William Wirt , a US attorney general and the Anti-Mason Party candidate for president in 1832?

“It is his skull,” said Owsley, whose findings will appear in the magazine Washington History later this year.

Not far from [J Edgar] Hoover lies Sergeant Leonard Matlovich , perhaps the most famous gay member of the military, who was discharged from the Air Force in 1980. His tombstone reads: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.”

There is also Belva Lockwood , who famously was nominated for president in 1884 by the National Equal Rights Party as a way of drawing attention to the fight for women’s suffrage. . .



INSIDE THE BELTWAY, WASHINGTON TIMES, 2005 – National Park Service biologist Ken Ferebee, who is assigned to Rock Creek Park. . . spotted his first coyote there in 2004 when it darted across the road. Now, Inside the Beltway has learned that coyotes likely have moved outside of park boundaries, building dens in exclusive Washington neighborhoods. “The sightings [in Rock Creek] are not as frequent as early 2005 and 2004, so my assumption is that they’ve dispersed a little, perhaps into other areas of the city,” Mr. Ferebee said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We have had some reports in different parts of the city, so my thinking is that some of these younger ones went out and established their own little areas. . . Not to worry — if you’re human. Pet owners, on the other hand, might make it a rule to keep dogs and cats indoors at night, as coyotes — gray to tannish, with long snouts, large erect ears and a bushy tail with a black tip — are known to hunt domestic animals. . . For the 1,755-acre Rock Creek Park, which runs through the heart of Washington and is popular with rush-hour commuters, the reintroduction of coyotes into the ecosystem has been a welcome development. “I think they help us control some of the small mammal populations that have gotten out of hand,” Mr. Ferebee explained.


COUNTRY GENETLEMEN MEMORIAL- If Bluegrass was indeed ‘folk music in overdrive’, then The Country Gentlemen was the catalyst that kicked it into a higher gear….Their concerts were the stuff of which legends were made.

The birthplace of The Country Centlemen is Washington, D.C. because lead singer and founding member Charlie Waller was raised and started his musical career in this area. He was born in Texas and lived in Louisiana but moved to D.C. at age 10 in 1945 to rejoin his mother, who had relocated to find employment with the Potomac Electric Power Company. Charlie got his first guitar then, a $15 Stella guitar. “It took me a long time getting started because I didn’t know how to tune it,” he recalls, “and I couldn’t find anybody to tune it for me. But I finally got it right, and when my friends would stop by the house I’d pick up the guitar and they’d say, ‘Oh no, we’re never gonna get out of here, now!’ But later it was just the opposite; they all wanted me to pick some. My first good guitar was a small Gibson. I paid $35 for it off a friend.

Charlie quickly advanced from playing for his school buddies to singing before real audiences, At just 13 years-of-age, he launched his nightclub career in a smoke-filled beer joint in Washington. He was part of a trio of other 13 year-olds. “It was not a nice place for young kids to be in, but they paid us,” says Charlie, who then earned $3 a night plus tips playing twice a week. . . .


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