According to a press release from the office of non-voting DC Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has approved of the transfer of 15 acres of federal park land from the National Parks Service (NPS) to the District to build a much anticipated youth baseball academy at Fort Dupont Park, championed by City Council Chair and mayor hopeful Vincent “Count Orlock” Gray.
This land transfer would expand the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Southeast, built in 1976, already serving an estimated 10,000 boys and girls each year, hosting numerous skating and educational programs and in desperate need of more room.
The Syndicate thanks Count Orlok as baseball is America’s pastime, not football.
Here’s a nice reflection about baseball and black Washington from the July 2008 East of the River.
Now, let the fundraising (20$ million of which about 14.8 mill is committed) begin…!
In a scene from the documentary “Barry Farm: Past and Present” filmmaker Tendani Mpulubusi El asks a young man in the Barry Farm community if he is familiar with Howard University. The young man affirms he knows the campus located off Georgia Avenue NW is “uptown” and, with a small smile says, “There be some girls up there. That’s what I know.”
The Barry Farm community and Howard University are, in fact, linked by more than a 15 minute ride on the Metro’s green line; they are linked by a common history being brought to life in a new documentary, “Barry Farm: Past and Present”, that makes its world premier June 5th at the Historical Society of Washington.
Barry Farm History:
Potomac City, Howardstown, and Hillsdale were all past names for an area of the city now known in the vernacular as “The Farms.”
To put the film together Mpulubusi El, supported by a D.C. Community Heritage Project grant, went back to when the Anacostan Indians lived in present-day Barry Farm. Archaeological evidence discovered during the Anacostia Metro station construction provided insights into the area’s earliest inhabitants.
The Barry Farm community was originally part of, white farmers, David and Julia Barry’s Farm which extended from the Anacostia River to what is now known as Garfield Heights. In 1867, Union General Oliver Howard, then Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, utilized federal money to purchase the 375-acre site. The lots were then sold for $125-$300 per acre to families of freed slaves and refuges from the Civil War, creating the first African-American homeownership community in the city.
One of the stories brought to life in the film is the story of Solomon G. Brown, the first African American to work for the Smithsonian Institution, who lived on Elvans Road. Born a free man in Washington in 1829, he worked at the Smithsonian from 1852 to his retirement in 1906, at the age of 77. Over his 54 years of service to the Smithsonian, he held numerous positions of influence in the community.
He was a trustee of Wilberforce University, and was elected to three consecutive one-year terms, 1871 – 1874, as a member of the House of Delegates under the Territorial Government of the District of Columbia.
At the dawn of the 20th century, the Alexandria Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began to separate the original community from the Anacostia River and Poplar Point. By mid-century, the land between the tracks and the river had been converted to military bases, and following Ward War II, Interstate 295’s construction further isolated the neighborhood from the waterfront.
In 1954, the Redevelopment Land Agency acquired much of the remaining land and built public housing for displaced residents coming from the Southwest urban renewal and other areas of the city. That public housing remains today as an amalgamation of the 624 low-income units between Barry Farm and Park Chester, off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.
One of the most powerful scenes in the documentary is when nearly two dozen students from Howard University travel to the Barry Farm recreation center to have a meeting and conversation with their peers from the Barry Farm community.
Noted local historian CR Gibbs is seen in the film reflecting on the unique historic connections, “It also speaks to how closely linked together Barry Farm and Howard University were – they share a common history. The relationship between Barry Farm and Howard University – obviously founded by the same man – it is strange. It is troubling that Howard University, today, is not more closely involved in the Barry Farm community.”
The opportunity for Howard to get involved in present-day Barry Farms is closing, ever so slowly.
In November 2005, in conjunction with the Barry Farm Advisory Committee, the city began a public process to create a revitalization plan for the southeast community; known as its New Communities Initiative. The plan, which spans more than a decade, would change present day Barry Farm and the neighboring Park Chester.
In late December 2006, the DC Council approved the Barry Farm/Park Chester/Wade Road Community Revitalization Plan consistent with the New Communities Initiative, the eventual goal being to revitalize the public and low income housing developments and its neighborhood into a mixed-income, mixed-use community, according to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Planning and Development.
“The New Communities engagement is not effective. People either don’t know this is going to happen or they know it is coming and they don’t care,” says Mpulubusi El.
At 19, after graduating high school and briefly attending Guilford College in Greensboro North Carolina Tendani Mpulubusi El found himself homeless and being increasingly pulled into the temptation and allure of street life.
With a collection of friends attending local universities he was able to stay in college dormitories; rent-free. At the University of Maryland he would spend hours on end in the library researching and studying business, marketing, history, and politics.
Looking for direction, a cousin of his worked for the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) and he was recruited to join the AmeriCorps Program. The ECC began in 1989 as an outgrowth of a White House domestic policy initiative, and in 1992 the Hollywood environmentalist Bob Nixon took over and invested his own money. Nixon, who produced “Gorillas in the Mist”, integrated multi-media arts education into ECC’s curriculum.
It was with the ECC that Mpulubsi El was first exposed to the transformative power of film. The self-described, “historic preservationist” has come a long way from then until now, but he is by no means a newcomer to the local arts scene. He currently serves as the Ward 8 Commissioner on the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and is an active multi-disciplinary artist with multiple public works featured throughout the city.
Mpulubusi El, who has worked at DCTV and interned at National Geographic, said as he discovered elements of the neighborhood’s history, doing research at places like the Martin Luther King Jr. Library’s Washingtoniana Division, he would ask his peers if they were familiar with the history of where they live. More often common knowledge concerned the criminal justice system, not the neighborhood’s history.
As Mpulubusi El uses the June 5th screening to promote an awareness of his film and the history of the Barry Farm community, Cultural Tourism DC is in the active process of generating its Anacostia Heritage Trail.
Jane Freundel Levey, Director of Heritage Programs, says the heritage trail will consist of 15 – 18 signs placed throughout Anacostia that taken together create a self-guided tour.
Through a process that mixes long-time and more recent residents, community members work hand-in-hand with professional historians. Their next meeting will be held later this summer and completion of the heritage trail is estimated to take 18 months.
“Anytime there is an obvious transition going on people become interested in history. This is what has been happening in Washington,” says Levey, “Our first heritage trail was on U Street NW. We began the process in the early 1990’s. As people see change happening, they want to know what came before, and what they might lose.”
By hosting the world premier of “Barry Farm: Past and Present” the Historical Society of Washington (HSW), founded in 1894 and located in the Carnegie Building at 801 K Street NW, is helping to create new audiences for people interested in the city’s history says Dottie Green, Director of Public Programs and Education.
He caught her attention at an event the DCCAH held at the HSW where he mentioned a film he was working on.
Ms. Green approached him and they spoke about screening the film at the HSW and making it an interactive presentation where the audience would be encouraged to share their own personal stories giving the event an added dimension according to Ms. Green.
“Our mission is not only to serve as an archive for DC history, but also to make Washington’s history a relevant part of contemporary life,” says Ms. Green, “Tendani has recorded a very rich part of DC’s history and his film is a creative documentation of this important history.”
Mpulubusi El sees the June 5th screening of his film as the first step in many more to take which will include submission to a wide range of film festivals and exploring local broadcast opportunities.
After a couple of years relaxing in his high chair at Pepco, former Ward 5 City Councilmember and failed 2006 mayoral candidate Vincent Organge is back in the city’s political mix. Last week Orange announced he would oppose the lightweight Kwame Brown in the struggle for perceived power that is the DC Council Chairmanship.
For what Orange lacks in “electablity” he makes with the pure novelty of his existence. In this interest of spectacle, The Syndicate appreciates Orange’s old school blitzkrieg of littering the street with his omnipresent campaign signs. On South Dakota Ave NE there are still signs from his 2006 mayoral effort and Friday morning, less than 12 hours after his campaign announcement, Orange signs were everywhere throughout the main thoroughfares of the city’s southside.
The above license plate is that of former 4-time Hampton University Student President, Historic Anacostia Block Association co-founder, River East Emerging Leaders co-founder, and all around good dude Charles Wilson.
Affection in Ward 8 for Marion Barry, plus the presence on the ballot of four challengers, is seen as ensuring the former mayor’s victory. A better choice is Charles Wilson, a consultant and president of the Historic Anacostia Block Association who is waging a campaign keyed to getting the community involved in solving its problems. Mr. Wilson is eloquent in talking about his love for Ward 8, and he has the energy to take on its biggest challenges.
Barry won and is still getting into a good amount of trouble. And nobody in Ward 8 really seems to care or object to the blatant embarrassment that is the Mayor 4 Life.
Rumor on the street is Barry’s son, Chris Barry, is being groomed for 2012.
Charles Wilson is the southside’s only hope, but long-time community stalwart Sandra Seegars is getting good profile in her efforts to thwart former Cease Fire Don’t Smoke the Brothers member Ron Moten and the Peaceaholics in their most recent strong-arming tactics.
A couple of weeks ago I was riding down South Capitol Street to drop off a friend on Forrester Street when I noticed a large group of Guardian Angels gathered directly across the street from where three folks were untimely murdered on March 30 as part of a larger raise-the-crime-and-murder-rate effort by a group of parasitic dumb-dumb EBT yungins. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a photo with my iPhone, but I’d guestimate they were at least t 10 – 12 deep.
H/t to WUSA9 who beat me to the story here.
As a youngster in the ’90’s I can remember the Guardian Angels patrolling the red line and being received with mixed reviews.
One time a young D-boy challenged a member of the DC Guardian Angels to lay a finger on him. Even though he was a self-professed “nephew with rocks for my many Uncles”, he openly made fun of the Angels with the support of his young friends. The Angels didn’t respond and instead at the next stop switched cars. On the other hand, I can remember two young people loudly arguing about something meaningless. The GAs boarded the train and an older lady quickly got their attention and asked them to quiet the young people down. As soon as the GAs walked toward the young people they quieted down. One of the GAs then sat directly across from the young couple giving them a stern gaze. The young couple looked the GA up and down and simply got up and moved to the other end of the car. The exited at the next stop. Even though those memories are more than a decade for some reason they left a lasting impression.
Years ago, ’03/’04 I used to see the GAs around the Columbia Heights metro and surrounding area. A young guy I went to high school with, who was always a little off, was amongst the GAs at the time. He was wild and strong enough to bust your head, if he had to. Not sure where he is now, but hope he is well.
And, I saw the GAs down at the baseball games a couple times last year. They didn’t look like too ferocious, but looks can be deceiving. Photos so you can render your own opinion.
Back to the present — with last Wednesday’s shooting on the U2 bus as it navigated its route in East Washington, the MPD, with support of the GAs and ATF, is deploying its “All Hands on Deck” strategy this weekend.
Not sure if this effort will stop worthless, parasitic, social justice marching, EBT dependent, wannabe Lil’ Waynes who need to get their hair cut and learn to write, read, and speak the King’s English from clapping at a young college student who doesn’t give you her phone number — for which you probably wouldn’t even be able to call if your game was tight and you stepped right, because if it’s not the 1st or the 15th - you haven’t paid your Boost or T-Mobile bill.
The Syndicate does not know if the GAs will be given bus passes now as in the past they have been told to pay their fares due to the associated liability issues for metro. Charge it to the game of urban crime fighting.
A great cover story from the old City Paper about the Guardian Angels in the city circa 1998 HERE.
To all, in sincerity, be safe out there.
According to a flurry of reports from The Post, Fox5, WUSA9, and WTOP it appears Montgomery County Police aren’t playing around as warrants were served this morning in connection with the murder of Shaw Jr. High’s principal Brian Betts.
Mo. County detectives have spent a lot of time in the city investigating and MPD hasn’t gotten in the way. Details are yet to emerge but good work MCPD and MPD, as we offer advanced recognition.
It looks like arrests have been made on 3rd St. SE in the Washington Highlands neighborhood and on 5th St. NW in the Petworth neighborhood. Police are still looking for more folks. Expect more doors to be kicked in as Mo. County isn’t playing.
No charges have been filled yet according to reports.
More info to come throughout the day.
Latest from The Post here.
Guest Post By: Southeast Jerome
The other night one of my mans handed me a flyer for a RIP GoGo. (It whadn’t for Dr. King, son. Rest In Peace)
I usually let them shits just slide through my hand and drop to the ground, but I actually looked at this one for some reason. I used to wild out in the GoGos. I was like 12. I been on the scene as a lil’ slim and I knows it. I retired years and years ago from beating my mafughun feet. I just turned 23. I’m too grown for the ignence of my hood and beatin’ my feet. We can’t dance and party ourselves to the promised land. Feel me?
My mans saw my face get screwed up when I read the flyer. He said, “Naw son. It’s all good. It’s for charity son. The money go to the families of them yungins who got hit up.”
Bullshit son, and who really cares. I sure don’t. If you know like I know, you better get off the damn corner and educated yourselves. What I care about their family when I got my own family I take care of and am responsible for?
“I feel their pain, but, man, fuck their families. Just another sad story I don’t care to hear about. I got my own family and if something happens to someone or something happen to me, you know who’s to blame? The Lord God,” I said.
“What you mean, fuck their families? Come on Jerome, that’s some fucked up shit to say out your mouth, man,” my mans said.
“I ain’t speak no blasphemy. When my older sister was killed, and when my younger brother were killed ain’t nobody shed any tears outside our family. We dealt with it with nobody’s help and support. No gogos, no donations, no media. Nutsin. So nobody can tell me what to feel.”
“Tru dat. Your brother, man, the good die young. Alright then, I’m get up out of here. Be safe Jerome,” my mans said.
“Will do. Good luck with the show,” I told my mans.
He said, “Aight,” as he walked across MLK and passed out more flyers and yelled to lil’ Curtis, “Hey, lil’ Curt! Tell your girl, I got that!”
My hood is my hood and I love my hood. It’s made me the man I am today, but I wonder. Will throwing RIP gogos prevent another teenage pregnancy, another dropout, another parent selling their child’s back back to cop some smack, another victim, and another grief stricken family? When we take responsibility for regulating our own blocks and value education, that white people education, as oppose to living like nothing matters except gettin’ high, and gettin’ fresh, maybe something will change.
How many of these folks even read the paper? How many can’t even read? A lot.
When I take the 3o buses up Georgetown I’ve noticed some shit. It’s been the same for years. In SE folks listen to music or talk on they phones. I don’t have to have an Ipod to listen to music they way these yungins be crankin’ they music. But when the bus cross old man river and start to ride through downtown you see the white people, and sometimes black people too, reading. It could be books, newspapers, or some other shit, but they read. You know what we do? We talk shit, cursing, and crank our music. Whose fault is this? It’s ours. We ain’t livin’ right.
As long as my people throw RIP gogos, ain’t nutsin gonna change but the weather.
The Syndicate took an earlier neighborly stroll through its ‘hood (Washington Highlands) to explore and report.
Activity and chatter inside the Chesapeake Big Market at 6th & Chesapeake Street SE was lively. A young woman cursing the snow said, “This snow get on my nerves. It play too much.”
Men were filling out their daily lotto slips while asking for packs of Newport “longs”. Grape cigarellos were popular with teenagers from the neighborhood who said they were not fazed by the, now, officially, record DC snowfall. “It ain’t nothing but a little snow, you know,” a young man confidently boasted after exchanging daps with a circle of friends.
Outside MPD was seen patrolling Chesapeake Street and a stationary SUV sat on the campus of Hendley Elementary School. No compact cars or sedans were seen with traffic being limited to trucks or other four wheel vehicles.
Every brave soul who ventured to the Big Market was well layered, with the majority of young men in weather appropriate black ski masks. When asked if folks were outside to shake cabin fever an older man spoke for the collective mood of the city, “When my brother phones me and asks me what I did today, I’ll tell him I answered the call of the wild!”
An inconspicuous gentlemen in the corner respond, promptly, “Huh man.”
By: Napoleon Bushrod Uniontown Suggs III
Before world-renowned literary figure Oscar Wilde departed the world of the living in 1900, he observed, “There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
The Washington Informer (WI) keeps its “More Than 50,000 African American Readers Throughout the Metropolitan Area” informed of the “ignorance of the community” in its predictable agitprop reporting and elementary editorializing.
Granted the WI edition that hit the streets today has the usual fare —- a understandably uncompromising story on Michelle Rhee, a critical piece speculating that the general public’s interest in the Haiti rescue effort will wane as the UN has suspended their search for survivors to focus on delivering humanitarian aid, a regurgitated press release from At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown’s office stating for the public record he will “challenge” Mayor Fenty if Council Chair Vincent Gray ultimately declines to run, and a guest editorial from Majority Whip of the US House of Representative James Clyburn predicting that despite the problems of President Obama’s first year in office, “We will make positive history once again.”
The WI rarely, if ever, deviates from the most basic commonplace, rudimentary, worn-out aged conventional wisdom from the city’s old line old guard.
Although The Washington Post and The Washington Times, on life-support as it has abandoned its local coverage, have yet to cover the opening of Big Chair Coffee(BCC) at 2122 MLK Avenue SE, The Washington City Paper ran an article and photo in last week’s hard copy and was the first major news source to blog about BCC. DCist was quick to the story with most all River East bloggers have vigorously covered BCC, some daily; now the Washington Business Journal has jumped into the mix of local media who have deservedly covered the street news of Big Chair Coffee.
The reason Big Chair Coffee is news is because it provides further hard evidence that in River East, as Bob Dylan once sang, “Times They Are A-Changin’.”
For those who do not live in River East or even city proper or, even, for those who’ve not ever stepped foot on MLK Avenue, it is understandable to miss the social, political, historical, and economic implications of Big Chair Coffee’s opening. We understand if you don’t get it.
However, The Washington Informer’s address is 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE.
In not covering Big Chair Coffee The Washington Informer lets the community know, unequivocally, where they stand; right alongside the most ignorant and regressive members of River East’s old guard.
Update: February 4, 2010 And, Now Anacostia has a nice update of all the media, including the blog roll, that have devoted time and space to BCC. Still missing from the list is the Washington Informer. Is anyone surprised? Someone should please tell their advertising contacts at Pepco, DC Gov, DC Dept of Health, Macy’s, NBC4, etc. that the WI is NOT in contact with the community and they should immediately stop upholding such a faux newspaper that doubles as toilet paper in these tough economic times.