<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - WORKING 4 THE COMMUNITY - NBC4 Celebrates Black History Month]]>Copyright 2018http://www.nbcwashington.com/contact-us/communityen-usTue, 20 Nov 2018 21:56:14 -0500Tue, 20 Nov 2018 21:56:14 -0500NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Anacostia Art Center Creates Space for Black Entrepreneurs]]>Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:02:35 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Anacostia_Art_Center_02218_v2_%282%29_1200x675_1171762243993.jpg

The Anacostia Art Center is creating a space for burgeoning entrepreneurs in the community. News4's Aaron Gilchrist hsa more on how the center helps kick off careers. ]]>
<![CDATA[NBC4 Celebrates Black History Month]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 05:50:17 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017+Black+History+Month.jpg

NBC4 continues to celebrate our diverse community with special programming during Black History Month.

Black History Month is recognized nationally in February as a time to reflect on historical and cultural achievements of African Americans in the United States.

Author and historian Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in February of 1926. The month of February was chosen because of the birthdays of abolistionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. 

The week was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. 

You can see what the Smithsonian has planned for February to pay tribute to African Americans here.

NBC4 is celebrating Black History Month in a variety of exciting ways. On Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m., we will broadcast a special, hosted by Cat Greenleaf: "Talk Stoop: Breaking Barriers."

The day before, on Feb. 10 at 9 a.m., News4 will air our annual Black History Month special.

NBC4 is proud to continuously celebrate our region's diversity with the help of our partner, the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

<![CDATA[DC Celebrates Frederick Douglass' 200th Birthday]]>Tue, 27 Feb 2018 12:59:06 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/frederick+douglass+statue+crop.jpg

This month marks the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass' birth. News4' Aaron Gilchrist shares how the District is celebrating.

Photo Credit: NBC4]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Museum Makes County's Black History Accessible]]>Tue, 27 Feb 2018 12:52:35 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/199*120/prince+georges+black+history.jpg

The Prince George's Black History Museum in North Brentwood, Maryland, makes sure students in the county know they rich history that surrounds them with its "Museum-In-A-Box" program. Click to learn more about the museum.

Photo Credit: Prince George's African American Museum & Cultural Center]]>
<![CDATA[Black Travel Guide Was Powerful Tool for Women Entrepreneurs]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 19:55:00 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/motorist+green+book+albertas+sister+12.jpg

Alberta Ellis ran a hotel in the 1950s that served African Americans who had nowhere else to go. 

She knew what it was like to be turned away because of the color of your skin. It happened to her own family as they drove more than 1,400 miles from Missouri to California.

"They would usually say there was no vacancy, even though their sign would be in neon lights saying vacancy," Ellis' granddaughter, Elizabeth Calvin, remembered. 

Ellis reported the hotels' actions but that did little to change anything, her granddaughter said. 

Determined to provide a safe space for African-American travelers, Ellis put together $10,000 in cash and bought an old hospital in Springfield, Missouri, at a city auction. She opened a small business she called Alberta's Hotel.

Calvin believes her grandmother purchased the hotel around 1954. That year, one of the first ads for the business appeared in "The Negro Motorist Green Book." 

The book, created in 1936 by Victor H. Green, helped black travelers across the country avoid "difficulties and embarrassment" while on the road. From 1936 until 1967, the "Green Book" listed hotels, restaurants and other establishments across the country that welcomed black customers.

The "Green Book" was more than a revolutionary way for African Americans to travel in this country; it was an economic engine for burgeoning entrepreneurs, particularly black women. 

In Washington, D.C., black women were also running successful businesses, and many of them were advertised in the "Green Book." 

"This is a time when there's very little ways for a black woman to move forward economically and professionally outside of domestic work," said Jennifer Reut, an architectural and landscape historian who runs a blog that maps "Green Book" sites.

'You Couldn’t Go to a Regular Hotel'

Ellis was already the owner of one successful business when she opened "Alberta's Hotel." 

But she was inspired to open the hotel because African Americans driving along Route 66 didn't have many options if they stopped in her city. 

"She built an empire, really, a tiny empire from this extremely skilled ability to look at the whole market and see what the need was," Reut said. 

"You couldn’t go to a regular hotel, so she probably saw it as a good business opportunity, as well as hospitality," Calvin added. 

The hotel was located along the business route for Route 66, an easy stop for travelers who were headed west. To get the word out, Ellis placed an ad in the "Green Book." 

Calvin said her grandmother was an avid traveler and likely knew about the "Green Book" before she advertised in it.

Soon, Alberta's Hotel was popular with travelers who passed through Springfield, including singer Nat King Cole and Harlem Globetrotter Reece "Goose" Tatum. 

Running a successful black-owned business in the 1950s didn't come without complications. Sometimes police officers brought prostitutes to the hotel to try and give it a bad name, Calvin said. 

"My brother remembers when white men would come to the hotel late at night with women, and my grandfather and grandmother would send them away," Calvin said. 

"This is not that kind of establishment. Don’t come in here looking for that," Calvin said her grandparents told them.

A land dispute also kept Ellis in court for much of the time she owned the hotel. 

"There was a wealthy man in town who was slated to get that hospital. But when she showed up to the auction with cash, they had to sell it to her," Calvin said. 

After about 10 years, Ellis lost the hotel to eminent domain. 

She didn't live much longer after losing the hotel. 

"Once that case was settled, she got sick," Calvin said. "She passed in 1966. She was only 56 years old."

'That Was Like the Black Downtown'

In Annapolis, Maryland, Florence Carr Sparrow and her sister, Elizabeth Carr Smith, ran two successful beach resorts. For nearly 50 years, Carr's Beach and Sparrow's Beach were safe havens for African-American families looking for a summer escape. 

Though they were already popular on their own, both beaches were listed in the "Green Book." 

In Washington, D.C., African-American travelers flocked to the Northwest quadrant for food, fun and somewhere to stay. 

"That was the main black area that had the most amenities. Theatres, clubs, florists. That was like the black downtown," said author and historian Patsy Fletcher. 

In the 1930s, Jean Clore opened the Old Rose Social Club on the corner of 7th and T streets NW. A few blocks away, she opened Hotel Clore.

Clore was young, attractive and had a knack for business, a 1938 article published in The Baltimore Afro-American said. 

"Ordinarily it takes the average club operator several years to build up such a business ... but Miss Clore has made her local reputation only since 1936," the article said.  

The hotel became a home for both travelers and celebrities performing at the nearby Howard Theatre. 

Clore was active in the National Council of Negro Women and other organizations. 

"She deserves recognition ... She was quite impressive," Fletcher said. 

Near Logan Circle, Myrtle Williams ran the Cadillac Hotel. The hotel on the 1500 block of Vermont Avenue NW opened in 1941.

But like Alberta's in Missouri, a cloud hung over the Cadillac Hotel and other black-owned businesses in D.C. 

Williams ran the Cadillac Hotel as a decent, respectable business, Fletcher said, but she was repeatedly accused of supporting prostitution. Like Ellis in Missouri, Williams discovered that undercover police officers brought prostitutes into her business and then arrested her guests if they solicited one of the women.

In 1977, Williams and a group of African-American residents in D.C.'s Logan Circle neighborhood organized to fight attempts to push them out of the area. 

People who wanted to buy the Cadillac Hotel's building repeatedly challenged the business' operating license so they could force the hotel out and later sell the building to middle-class whites, Fletcher, the historian, said. 

"Many urban renewal projects in the '60s targeted black neighborhoods," Reut, the architectural historian, said. "Lots and lots of 'Green Book' sites ended up disappearing because of this."

The passage of the Civil Rights Act also hurt some black-owned businesses.

As African Americans began going to places where they had been previously denied, some businesses were not able to bring in the revenue they needed.

The owners of many black-owned businesses were prepared, Reut said. 

"Everyone understood that when segregation was happening, these instruments were needed. But that when the time came -- and they were always pushing for this -- they won't need these things anymore. People understood that this was going to be the end of their business," Reut said.

Today, many businesses that were listed in the "Green Book" are gone and replaced with parking lots and shopping centers.

In D.C., some of the buildings that housed these businesses still stand. 

"The ones that tend to still be around are the ones that are in thriving business districts like Washington and the U Street Corridor," Reut said. "They haven't knocked these down yet."

The former home of Hotel Clore, located at 614 S Street NW, is now a multi-denominational church. The former home of the Cadillac Hotel, in Logan Circle, is now a luxury condominium complex. 

While many of these businesses no longer exist, the entrepreneurial spirit of these women lives on. Decades after Ellis' hotel shut down, her granddaughter moved back to Missouri and is following in her footsteps. 

"I bought an old horse stable and turned it into five units, and we rent out some of them as a B&B," Calvin said. "I learned from my grandmother."

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Calvin/NBC
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<![CDATA[Md. Governor Proclaims 2018 as 'Year of Frederick Douglass']]>Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:43:11 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/417px-Frederick_Douglass_portrait.jpg

The governor of Maryland has signed a proclamation declaring this year as the "Year of Frederick Douglass."

Governor Larry Hogan signed the proclamation Tuesday in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the famed abolitionist, writer, and orator. 

Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, in 1818. 

The abolitionist never knew the day of his birth, but he chose to celebrate it on Valentine's Day because of a memory of his mother, Harriet Bailey, bringing him a cake on that day.

Hogan said Douglass' contributions to society transcend race, nationality or religion, and that Douglass' fight for human rights and equality still resonates. 

Douglass was born in Talbot County, Maryland and his birthday is celebrated nationally on Wednesday. 

A press release says Hogan also announced the introduction of a driving tour, "Frederick Douglass: Following in His Footsteps."The 131-mile journey highlights sites and areas of Maryland that were formative and impactful on the life of Douglass.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: National Archives
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<![CDATA[Residents 'Heart Bomb' Mary Church Terrell House]]>Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:58:27 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Residents__Heart_Bomb__Mary_Church_Terrell_House.jpg

Residents decorated the Mary Church Terrell House in LeDroit Park with hearts to call for the house's preservation. Mary Church Terrell was a suffragette, a founding member of the NAACP and the first African-American to serve in a big-city school board. News4's Derrick Ward reports.]]>
<![CDATA['A Piece of History': NPS to Celebrate Douglass Bicentennial]]>Fri, 16 Feb 2018 04:31:30 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/frederick+douglass+statue+crop.jpg

Perched atop a hill in Southeast Washington, with the U.S. Capitol Building within sight, sits the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 

For 17 years, Douglass walked the halls of Cedar Hill, his home in the city. 

This weekend, visitors to the house will be able to walk those same halls as the National Park Service kicks off a yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of Douglass' birth.   

Guests will get to hear from Douglass' third great-grandson, see original photography equipment from the era and listen to historic African-American spirituals. 

Children in attendance can learn about the drill and discipline a Civil War soldier needed to "enlist," a process Douglass' two sons experienced.

Visitors can even explore the neighborhood Douglass once called home with a guided tour. 

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Anacostia has already seen an increase in visitors interested in learning more about the famous orator, said Vince Vaise, the chief of visitor services for the National Park Service. 

"The nice thing about a bicentennial is it wakes people up from their historical amnesia," Vaise said. 

"It's a Piece of History"

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery in Talbot County, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, in 1818. 

The abolitionist never knew the day of his birth, but he chose to celebrate it on Valentine's Day because of a memory of his mother, Harriet Bailey, bringing him a cake on that day. 

"Her visits to me there were few in number, brief in duration and mostly made in the night,' Douglass wrote in "My Bondage and My Freedom."

"The pains she took, and the toil she endured, to see me, tells me that a true mother's heart was hers," he wrote. 

Douglass and his mother lived on separate plantations. He recalled only seeing her a few times before her death.  

Douglass fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman, and then planned his escape. With Murray's help, Douglass was able to purchase a train ticket north in 1838. 

"She was a rock throughout his life," Vaise said. 

The couple eventually settled in Massachusetts, where they adopted the last name Douglass. 

Douglass became an orator and a leading figure in the anti-slavery movement, telling the story of his bondage in speeches and autobiographies. 

In 1877, he and his wife moved to Cedar Hill, a large two-story home on top of a 50-foot hill. The home was just a few miles from the U.S. Capitol, but offered the peace and quiet of a country home. 

The home also served as a place for Douglass' famous friends to meet and socialize. 

"It's a piece of history and memorial all at the same time," Vaise said. "It's right up there with the Washington, the Jefferson. This is where the history happened." 

During his time at Cedar Hill, Douglass served as a U.S. marshal and recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia. He also was the U.S. minister and counsul general to Haiti, a post known today as U.S. ambassador. His love for the country can be seen in the palm tree-print wallpaper lining the walls of the home. 

Bicentennial Weekend Will Bring History to Life

Cedar Hill will be the epicenter of the National Park Service's bicentennial celebration of Douglass' life.

On Feb. 17 and 18, guests can explore the historic home, watch re-enactors and dance to musical performances. 

The Anacostia Arts Center will serve as a satellite location, hosting a number of kid-friendly activities. There will be a puppet show and a historic photo studio, where children can take a photo like Douglass.

Photography in the 19th century was an elaborate process, especially when the subject had a darker complexion. Douglass would bring in the very best photographers to capture his image. 

At the historic photo studio, visitors will see what a photo session was like and they'll even get to use props to have their own photo taken. 

"There was a reason why he was the most photographed African American of the century," Vaise said.

Vaise says Douglass used photography in an attempt to obliterate the stereotypes of African Americans that persisted at the time. Portraits of a Douglass can be seen throughout Cedar Hill. In one photo, he's dressed in a dark suit, with only the right side of his face and graying hair visible. In another, Douglass stands among a group of prominent figures. Douglass, the only African American in the photo, is front and center. 

The celebration will not end after Douglass' birthday. A number of events will be held on the grounds of the historic home throughout the year.

The bicentennial events will culminate on Feb. 20, 2019, the 124th anniversary of Douglass' death.

"We're going to define the year," Vaise said. "A year in the life of Douglass."

Photo Credit: NBC4]]>
<![CDATA[Carter G. Woodson's DC Home Open for Black History Month]]>Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:26:20 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2018-02-08_1107_0011.png

For the first time, the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site is opening its doors to the public for Black History Month, the National Park Service (NPS) says.

The 140-year-old home, which is located in the Shaw neighborhood, was recently reopened after years of renovations, according to the NPS. During the month of February, visitors can take guided tours of the home, learn how to organize their family histories or take a walking tour through Shaw. 

Known as the "Father of Black History," Carter G. Woodson was one of the first scholars of African-American history and is the second African American to hold a doctorate from Harvard University, according to the National Park Service. 

Born to former slaves in 1875, Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926. He picked the month of February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. 

The week was extended to a month in 1976. 

Woodson's home will be open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

<![CDATA[Black Bookstore Opens in Southeast DC ‘Book Desert’]]>Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:14:19 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/021018+mahogany+books+3+copy.jpg

As Ramunda Young greeted customers at the grand opening of Mahogany Books in Southeast D.C. on Saturday, a man walked in and started to cry.

Young asked him if he was OK, and he told her what brought him to tears.

“I’ve never seen so many black books,” Young said the black man in his 50s told her.

She had tears in her eyes too as she told the story later Saturday.

“It feels like our legacy,” she said.

Mahogany Books is the first bookstore to open in D.C. east of the Anacostia River in more than 20 years, Young says. She and her husband, Derrick Young, first opened their store in the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road SE in late November. They held a ceremony Saturday, during Black History Month, to celebrate its opening.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, customers browsed through the bright, 500-square-foot shop and told the Youngs how much the shop meant to them.

Young, 42, said her family opened the store packed with books “by, for and about the African diaspora” because she wants African Americans, especially children, to see themselves represented.

“It’s not just a bookstore; we’re changing perceptions of how we see ourselves,” she said.

The Youngs named Mahogany Books after their 13-year-old daughter, and the store’s orange logo was designed based off a photo of her. In the photo Young took of her daughter at age 4, Mahogany reads the illustrated children’s book “Coretta Scott,” by Ntozake Shange.

The bookstore's logo shows her “little Afro puffs” over a large book, her mom said.

The Youngs, who live in Virginia, opened their store in Anacostia because they wanted to meet a need in a “book desert.”

Books, especially children’s books, are startlingly scarce in high-poverty neighborhoods. A 2016 study in the journal “Urban Education” found that in Anacostia, 830 children would have to share a single age-appropriate book, while only two children would need to share a book in the wealthier Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The Books From Birth program started in D.C. in February 2016 seeks to fight the problem. Any child who lives in the District can be signed up to receive a free book every month, from birth until the child’s fifth birthday.

Two additional bookstores planned for Anacostia also will make a difference. The local bookstore and cafe chain Busboys and Poets is expected to open a new location later this year on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, just blocks from Mahogany Books. Also, work is underway to create the Charnice A. Milton Community Bookstore, in honor of the 27-year-old community reporter who was shot and killed in the area in May 2015 as she waited for a bus.

In the meantime, a number of book readings and events are planned at Mahogany Books. On March 15, Beverly Bond, the founder of the youth empowerment organization Black Girls Rock, is set to speak. Go here to see the full list of events.

Young said she hopes the events and store will add to the cultural life of Anacostia.

“You can walk out of your house and go into a bookstore and look around, like you can do in other parts of town,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA['Poor People's Campaign' Readies Nationwide Mobilization]]>Mon, 05 Feb 2018 10:10:10 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_18029745969758-peoples.jpg

The renewed version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign to lift poor people is holding its first national mobilization, with actions and events planned Monday in 32 states and the nation's capital. 

Poor people, clergy and activists in the Poor People's Campaign plan to deliver letters to politicians in state Capitol buildings demanding that leaders confront what they call systemic racism evidenced in voter suppression laws and poverty rates. 

Among those who have signed on to the campaign is the Rev. John Mendez, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who recalled protesting in New York City in the 1960s. 

"I've been waiting for almost 50 years for this to actually happen," said Mendez, 68. 

The campaign is especially important now because the leaders who don't want to help the poor "should not have a free hand to say and do whatever they want and there be no resistance," he said. 

Led by the Revs. William Barber of North Carolina and Liz Theoharis of New York, the campaign officially began Dec. 4, 50 years after King started the first Poor People's Campaign. King was assassinated a few months later and "nobody really picked it up" until now, Mendez said. 

The letters to politicians call for a new course in government. "Our faith traditions and state and federal constitutions all testify to the immorality of an economy that leaves out the poor, yet our political discourse consistently ignores the 140 million poor and low-income people in America," the letter states. 

Barber, who will be among the group that delivers letters to the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the campaign is building toward a "season of direct action and civil disobedience" that begins on May 13 and continues through June 21, the anniversary of the slayings of three civil rights workers in 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. 

The actions, including a poverty tour, will be followed by more work as part of a multiyear campaign to build power "among the poorest and most powerless communities," he added. 

And on Feb. 12 - the 50th anniversary of the sanitation workers' strike that brought King to Memphis, where he was assassinated - fast-food cooks and cashiers plan to walk off their jobs in Memphis to support higher wages and union rights. Protesters plan to march from Clayborn Temple to Memphis City Hall, the same route the sanitation workers took. 

The most important part of the campaign is that the people who are hurting because of poverty and racism are its leaders, Theoharis said. "I feel very positive that the real heroes and heroines of our country are coming together to cross all kinds of lines that usually divide us like race, gender, economic status, political party." 

Leslie Boyd of Candler has followed Barber since he began the "Moral Monday" protest movement in North Carolina almost five years ago. Her son, Mike Danforth, was 33 when he died of colon cancer in 2008 because he lacked insurance even though he had a job and couldn't afford the yearly colonoscopies that he needed. 

Her hope for the campaign is that it changes what she sees as a national narrative that not only blames the poor for the poverty but uses religion to do so. Too many people believe that "if you were a good person, Jesus would bless you," she said. 

U.S. Census figures show that the poverty rate among blacks was 22 percent in 2016, while it was almost 9 percent among whites. But in sheer numbers, almost 17.5 million white people are classified as living in poverty, compared to 8.7 million blacks. The U.S. poverty rate was almost 13 percent in 2016. 

"It's not immoral to be poor," said Boyd, 65. "It's immoral to make people poor with our actions as a government and as a people."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

<![CDATA[Method vs. Message: How Sports Can Start a Movement]]>Fri, 02 Feb 2018 06:37:37 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/kaepernickfeuerherd.jpg

Colin Kaepernick's first two "protests" drew scant attention. He sat on the bench, out of uniform, virtually unnoticed. His third got some buzz after a reporter tweeted a picture of the 49ers bench that had nothing to do with the quarterback but caught him in the frame, sitting during the national anthem.

Meanwhile, the killing of a 12-year-old boy by police and the light it shined on the Black Lives Matter movement helped draw a reluctant LeBron James into the world of using sports as a vehicle for social change. But once he got there, James stayed disciplined both about the message he sends and the way he sends it.

Despite their vastly divergent methods, Kaepernick and James helped set a stake in the ground, declaring to athletes across all sports that their platforms could be — should be — used for more than fun and games in the 21st century.

Kaepernick's message — "organic" to some, "disorganized" to others — started a movement that has essentially linked the NFL with kneeling in a dramatic string of events that will play out for a final time this season, Sunday at the Super Bowl. James has also made an imprint thanks to the power of his own brand. Whose method worked better? The answer to that question figures to guide the direction of sports protests for the foreseeable future.

"Kaepernick didn't go into it knowing what was going to happen. He was doing what he thought was right but this was not something he expected," said professor Danielle Coombs of Kent State, who specializes in the politics of sports. "On the other hand, you have athletes, like LeBron James, who make sure they do it in a way that lets the message rise to the top."

Coombs and David Casillo co-authored a paper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues centered on James, whose precise, calculated brand of activism pressed for change, but in a way that would not negatively affect the bottom line.

Two years before Kaepernick, and two decades after the seemingly apolitical Michael Jordan once reportedly said Republicans buy shoes, too, James found himself in the middle of a firestorm in the wake of the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

James said very little about the killing, which occurred only miles from his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He took heat for his reluctance. But over the ensuing years, he branched out slowly and cautiously, and sometimes with others at his side. He joined Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade at the 2016 ESPYs and gave a well-received speech calling for an end to gun violence.

The speech was a well-thought-out, well-organized message timed for maximum impact, as was Steph Curry's impassioned defense of the stance that Kaepernick and others had taken on issues ranging from sitting during the national anthem, to the importance of showing team unity to foregoing White House visits.

"If I'm going to use my platform, I don't want to just be noise," Curry wrote in a Veterans Day blog on The Players' Tribune website. "I want to talk about real issues that are affecting real people."

The methods Curry and James use for getting out the message were almost the exact opposite of Kaepernick's. Turns out, Kaepernick made more headlines but also became more vulnerable to his message getting lost or distorted due to the timing and some of his own self-inflicted sideshows.

Some may say that by not being calculating and by playing from the heart, Kaepernick sent a truer message. He also backed it up by raising $1 million for charity — much coming in $10,000 increments from celebrities and sports stars.

But was it more effective? Can it be repeated?

"One of the keys for athletes is that they pick moments in time to make sure their message resonates," said marketing expert Joe Favorito. "Certainly, it has become easier for people to start a process. But it's become more difficult to follow through with it. These days, unless you have the biggest stage, you're competing against thousands of other people. It's not necessarily athletes. It can be anyone."

The NFL was unprepared for the protests, though a five-page memo in 1966 written by a young black league executive to then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle predicted this could happen. The memo, which can be read in its entirety on theundefeated.com, warned that a team releasing a black player who'd been outspoken on civil rights issues could spark major protests.

Now even more than then, few platforms grab as many eyeballs as that of the NFL. And no league drapes itself in the American flag quite like the NFL. That's two reasons Kaepernick's gesture had legs.

When President Donald Trump took on the league this season, criticizing those who followed Kaepernick's lead, the debate became multipronged, with players, and even some owners, banding together to show they would not be pushed around by the president.

Meanwhile, TV ratings remained flat. Some fans tuned out and stayed away, enraged by what they perceived as disrespect to the flag, the military and American values.

Kaepernick's original message got mixed in with several others. Regardless, midway through the season, the NFL realized it had to do something. After multiple meetings with player representatives, the league announced it was funneling $90 million into social justice issues that are important to players. Just last week, it launched Let's Listen Together, an initiative designed to address some of the players' most urgent concerns.

The launch came mere days before the Super Bowl, where "The Star-Spangled Banner," always a big deal at the title game, will get extra attention for what players choose to do and not do.

Kaepernick, who started in the Super Bowl a mere five years ago, will be nowhere near the field this time. Nevertheless, his imprint will be felt.

"He realizes that someone has to be a sacrificial lamb in order to sound the alarm," said John Carlos, whose raised-fist salute along with Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics stands as a seminal moment in sports protest. "To have people start have some sort of dialogue, some sort of conversation."

Kaepernick's odyssey illustrated the conundrum athletes find themselves in at the start of 2018: Nobody has the perfect answer for what gesture — whether calculated or completely improvised — might make the difference between capturing a one-day news cycle versus sparking a movement.

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Butch Dill/AP]]>
<![CDATA[DC Commemorates 1968 Deaths of African-American Workers]]>Fri, 02 Feb 2018 05:25:13 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Man_Commemorates_Deaths_of_2_Workers_That_Sparked_69_Memphis.jpg

Fifty years ago, the deaths of two sanitation workers in Memphis sparked a strike among fellow black workers. The strike is what drew Martin Luther King Jr. to the city where he would be shot and killed. "He lost his life fighting for trash collectors," Maurice Queen said. Queen started working as a sanitation worker in D.C. months after MLK's death. Mark Segraves reports.]]>
<![CDATA[For NFL Players, Racial Profiling Often Personal]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:10:27 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-900117166.jpg

A son who saw a police officer hold a gun to his father's head. A husband whose wife was pulled over driving a Bentley. 

These unsettling scenes are among the stories from some of the NFL's marquee players, multi-millionaires sharing tales of racial profiling by law enforcement. It is a troubling concern for people of color that has been at the center of the protests begun in August 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

The protests have waned, but the ongoing issue for players - and the black communities they come from - has not. 

The Associated Press surveyed 56 of the 59 black players at last weekend's Pro Bowl game as part of its look at how African-American athletes have long used their sports platforms to impact social and political change. The AP asked the players whether they or someone they knew have ever experienced racial profiling. 

All said yes. 

"You can probably ask any black man out here and the answer is yes," said Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson. "It's not like this is just starting today or a new thing. It's gone on for a long time. I think African-American men have been (victims) of racial profiling for a long time, by either the things they wear or just by the color of their skin." 

African-American athletes have used their sports platforms for more than 100 years to impact social and political change. As part of AP's coverage plans for Black History Month, we will take a multi-platform look at look at how many have and continue to engage in activism, from Jack Johnson, to Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick. 

In protesting, Kaepernick and others attempted to highlight the killings of unarmed black men by police, an issue brought into the national spotlight by Black Lives Matter activists after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri , in 2014. But the message was quickly overtaken by fans offended by the players' decision to kneel during the anthem.

"That was the main thing with the protests, to bring awareness so people know what's going on," said Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. "That's the first step to trying to fix the situation." 

NFL players who have protested this season have been in the minority, and protests waned as the season went on. Some players are focusing on ways of addressing injustice off the field. 

"If it affects that many people by taking a knee, just stand up, it's that simple," said Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. "Taking a knee during the anthem, in my opinion, changes nothing. Giving back to the community, being around the kids and people in poverty, I respect that." 

For many players, the issue is not one of patriotism, but is personal. 

"At the end of the day, we're not trying to disrespect nobody," said Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye. "No matter what happens, I feel like somebody is not going to be happy, but we have a lot of respect for our country and respect for the game." 

Bouye was among the players who recounted firsthand experience with racial profiling. 

"My dad, when I was growing up ... gun to his head and everything," Bouye said. "That's why it hits close to me. We know that there are issues going on, and maybe some people don't want to bring awareness to them, but we'll find a way." 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said he, his father and his wife have all been victims of racial profiling - even after he became a successful athlete. 

"It happened to my wife in the past couple of years," said McCoy, who was drafted in 2010. "She got pulled over. She was driving a Bentley. Nice neighborhood, and they pulled her over. All her stuff was right and they just didn't have any reason. It just wasn't right." 

Black athletes have been finding a way to fight for social change for more than 100 years, from Jack Johnson, to Muhammad Ali to Kaepernick. 

Their fights have come at great personal expense, from alienation by fellow Americans to incarceration to the loss of their careers. 

NFL players faced backlash of their own in 2017. 

During the season, President Donald Trump referred to the players as "sons of bitches" and suggested they be fired. And Trump again condemned the protests in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, juxtaposing the campaign against the patriotic efforts of a white child who has planted thousands of American flags on the graves of veterans. 

A recent AP-NORC poll showed most Americans think refusing to stand for the national anthem is disrespectful to the country, the military and the American flag. Most African-Americans polled were more likely to approve of the players' protests. Only 4 in 10 Americans polled saw refusing to stand for the flag as an act of patriotism. 

Players have pointed out that the protests are allowed under free speech, one of the cornerstones of American democracy. Martin Luther King Jr. framed civil disobedience as a commitment to conscience tied to founding revolts of our country like the Boston Tea Party. 

The issue has loomed over the entire NFL season, which culminates with Sunday's Super Bowl. And a year into his presidency, Trump's Department of Justice has abandoned talk of police reform in favor of support for law enforcement and criticism of activists. 

Of the players surveyed at the Pro Bowl, 42 said they would support the idea of the NFL going back to keeping teams in the locker room until after the anthem is played, a practice that was changed in 2009 - not that they believe they have much say in what decision league owners will make. 

"The league does what the league does,'' said Jackson. "I don't have any say in it, so I don't care."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maryland's Black Beaches Make Their Mark on History]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 11:56:20 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/192*120/Highland+Beach+.jpg

When Fats Domino came to Carr's Beach in Annapolis, Maryland, traffic was backed up for 30 miles. When James Brown came, he performed like only he could. And when Jackie Wilson took the stage, he left women in the audience swooning.  

"Jackie Wilson was a ladies' man, and Jackie Wilson had this thing about coming off the side of the stage and kissing women passionately," Carroll "Mr. C" Hynson laughed.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, Carr's was one of the few beaches in the D.C. area where African Americans could swim freely and without the fear of discrimination.

"We couldn't go anywhere else. We weren't allowed anywhere else. We weren't allowed at Sandy Point, Bay Ridge or any of the other local beaches," Hynson said.

During the week, the beach was a place for families and church groups. But on Sunday, crowds of people would press against the stage at the beach’s pavilion for WANN’s "Bandstand on the Beach" broadcast.

"Sunday was the day to get in there. You had to go through a gate, and of course, everybody tried to put people in the trunk of their car and go through the gate," Hynson recalled. “One of the best groups that ever came there was from one of the high school in Washington, D.C., called the El Corols. That was a heck of a band for teenagers.”

Hynson, an Annapolis native, started working for WANN and Maryland legend Charles “Hoppy” Adams in the 1960s.

"My job Sunday was to be a board operator for Hoppy Adams, because we broadcasted live at 2 o'clock in the afternoon for Ballentine Beer. My job was to run the board, so Hoppy could say, 'We’re live from Carr's Beach. Everybody come on down.'"

By 2 or 3 o'clock, there would be a massive crowd. Sometimes thousands of people had to be turned away.

But today, only photos and memories remain. A luxury condo community has since taken Carr's Beach's place along the shores of the Severn River. 

"I’m saddened because there’s no more African-American-established locations like that, but money speaks loudly,” Hyson said. “They wanted to put condos out there. People wanted to live on the water. Eventually, all things change.”

Carr's Beach is not the only location whose history has been washed away.

Other historically black resort towns across the country have met the same fate or are struggling to be recognized for their past contributions to the African-American community.

NBC4 visited three area beaches that, once having catered exclusively to African Americans, are now in different stages of existence. But where some have failed, others are actively working to make their mark on the history books.  

"It's American history, and for too long, our American history only included one side," Annapolis historian Janice Hayes-Williams said. "American history is these beaches that provided an economic engine for the lives of the people who attended them." 

'This Land Was Worth So Much'

Carr's Beach was founded by Frederick Carr's family in 1926. Five years later, his daughter, Florence Carr Sparrow, founded Sparrow's Beach on land she inherited just north of Carr's Beach. Sparrow and her sister, Elizabeth Carr Smith, ran both resorts as separate businesses, according to BlackPast.org

For nearly 50 years, the beaches were safe havens for African-American families looking for a summer escape. 

"Folks would be coming from as far north as New York, Pennsylvania, as far west as Ohio," said Andrew Kahrl, author of "The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South".

By the 1950s, Carr's Beach was under new management and was a major stop on the "Chitlin' Circuit." The "Chitlin' Circuit" was a group of entertainment venues -- mostly in the South -- that were safe places for African-Americans entertainers to perform during segregation. 

"Carr's Beach was the mammoth, the big, big gorilla," Hynson said. 

But that all changed after desegregation. As African Americans began going to places where they had been previously denied, venues like Carr's Beach were not able to bring in the revenue they desperately needed. 

During the same time, Kahrl says real estate values were skyrocketing, leading to the decline of African-American resort towns across the country. 

"It was sort of a perfect storm for many of these African-American communities," Kahrl said. "It had real devastating effects on their ability to hold on to these places."

Kahrl said George Phelps, an African-American businessman who ran security at Carr's Beach, tried to buy the property, with plans to develop it into a black-owned, modern-day resort community. But he didn't have the capital to compete with one of the largest developers in Maryland.

"They got paid for the property. It was probably less than it was worth," Kahrl said. "Much of this land was worth so much. The African Americans who owned it never really got a chance to realize the wealth-generating potential that it had. Instead, it became an engine of wealth creation for other people."

‘It’s About Legacy’

The year before Carr's Beach was founded, developer Walter Beams acquired land in Prince George's County to create a resort community for middle-class African Americans from the Washington, D.C. area, according to a publication by the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission.

Eagle Harbor, whose name was derived from a weekly newspaper, was incorporated a few years later in 1929. 

The tranquil, waterfront community is about a quarter of a mile long and sits on the southeasternmost point of Prince George’s County.

There are no restaurants, no convenience stores -- just peace and quiet.

But that serenity comes with a price. The lack of businesses means Eagle Harbor can’t generate the revenue most communities can.

“No businesses. That creates a tremendous challenge in improving things,” Mayor James Crudup said at a meeting between town officials and the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission.

With just 65 year-round residents, the town is now working to make improvements to their community and ensure others know its rich history. They’re also working with the state and county to acquire grant money that will help them reach their goals.

“We’re proud of our history, and we want people outside to get to know our town,” Crudup said. "I see the importance of having something our forefathers founded and put a lot of work in. I don't think the pain they went through should be lost." 

But some of the town’s history has been lost to time.

“We had a historian, but when she passed, the records got lost,” Crudup explained.

“We're in the process of filling in the gaps,” town historian Lynwood Eaton said. "A lot of our owners now are elderly. I made the mistake in my own family of not capturing the history."

Eaton is one of the town’s newer residents. After a career with the State Department, Eaton was looking to buy property. He says Eagle Harbor’s history drew him to the area.

“The main thing that drove me here was the history,” Eaton said.

Other residents have called the area home for years.

Crudup first came to Eagle Harbor with a friend in 1963.

"He owned a store and was the mayor in the time. He actually mentioned at the time that I should buy property down here, but I said, 'I’m going to buy a Corvette,'” Crudup laughed.

Crudup and his family eventually bought a cottage in the community a few years later.

"The family came down in the 70s -- probably about ‘75 or ’76 -- to attend a cookout. We walked around the community and my wife said, 'You know we ought to buy one of these.' And that's what we ended up doing,” Crudup said.

"This place used to be bustling," added historical committee member Dorothea Smith, who also first visited Eagle Harbor in the 1960s. "We would go house-to-house and play cards.”

Among the town’s many plans is getting historical designation from the county, but that’s a process that can take more than a year to complete. But the town’s residents are willing to put in the hard work.

"We're planning for the long run. A lot of things we're talking about we may not see, but that's the way things go,” Eaton said.

“It's about legacy. That's what people don't understand," Smith added.

Weathering the Storm of Progress

One community that has been able to maintain its identity despite changing times is Highland Beach in Annapolis. 

Highland Beach was founded by the children of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1893 after they were turned away from nearby Bay Ridge resort because of their race. 

"They went and told their father, and Frederick Douglass said, 'I need you to go back down there and try to find a piece of land that's adjacent to that resort that turned us away,'" Annapolis historian Janice Hayes-Williams said. 

Douglass' son, Charles Douglass, purchased a 40-acre tract with 500 feet of beachfront and began selling lots to family members and friends, according to the town's website

Bay Ridge resort later caught fire and one of the town's first homes was built using wood salvaged from the property. 

"It's a powerful story of a community built out of Jim Crow's disenfranchisement," Hayes-Williams said. "The purpose was to build it right next to the place that discriminated against them."

In 1922, Highland Beach was incorporated, becoming the first African-American municipality in Maryland. Ray Langston, one of the town's former mayors, credits the beach's ability to withstand the test of time to its status as a municipality and support from elected officials.


"Incorporation gives us what people in D.C. have been trying to get for years -- self-governance." Langston said.

"Anne Arundel County has two municipalities. One is the City of Annapolis and the other is Highland Beach," Hayes-Williams added. "In your own municipality, you get to create your own laws. There's stuff you just can't do."

Kahrl says the community has also been able to protect their space along the Chesapeake Bay by physically rooting their identity in their history.

"Highland Beach has actually done a remarkable job of really holding on to their identity," Kahrl said. "Talking to some of the long-time residents of Highland Beach, one of the things that stood out to me was the fact that they were able to sort of gain their foothold."

Unlike some beach communities, Highland Beach still has a physical property that is connected to Frederick Douglass. Twin Oaks, one of the summer cottages built on the land, was constructed in 1895 for Douglass, but he died before it was finished.

"It's much more difficult for a developer to come in and plow over a place like that because it's a real historic landmark," Kahrl said. "Highland Beach is one of the few examples of a place that has been able to weather the storm of progress."

The affluence of its residents has also helped the town when it comes to matching grant money they've been awarded.

"That's what it takes. You have to have people to support. That's the hardest part, and with Highland Beach, that community is an affluent community," Hayes-Williams said. 

Twin Oaks was restored in the 1980s, and in 1995, the house was deeded to the town. Today, it operates as the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center. 

"All of the house is original, except the kitchen. Even the glass in the windows dates back to the 1800s," Langston said as he pointed out the wood-framed windows. 

The museum is filled with pictures and artifacts that belonged to the Douglass family and other families that still call the beach home.

"Eighty percent of our current residents are descendants or close friends of the original families," Langston said. "We have traditionally passed down our history from generation to generation."

The museum even has a small gift shop -- something the mayor of Eagle Harbor says he would like to have for his own community one day. 

"I like what's going on in Highland Beach," Crudup said. "We're making progress, but not like I think we should be making progress."

Photo Credit: Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrating Black History Month]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:09:11 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/199*120/PicMonkey+Collage48.jpg

Photo Credit: Prince George's African American Museum & Cultural Center/ Alexandria Black History Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Making History: Gospel Artist Helps Community Through Music]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:08:15 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2017-02-24_0557.png

Name: Tim Bowman, Jr. 

Education: Wayne State University 

Occupation: Grammy-nominated gospel artist
Assistant Spirit of Faith Christian Center Choral Director

His Story: Born into a family of musicians, Bowman was destined for musical success. His father, Tim Bowman, Sr., is a noted smooth jazz artist while his aunt, Vicki Winans, has topped the gospel charts for years. The Detroit native found his way to D.C. through love. He currently lives in the D.C. area with his wife, Brelyn Freeman, who is the daughter of Spirit of Faith Christian Center founder and pastor Dr. Mike Freeman.

Making History: Tim Bowman, Jr., has a voice known to heal souls. He's not a traditional gospel artist -- sonically speaking -- which is why he has become so successful. Tim began his music career in 2012, with the release of his debut album, "Beautiful." Since then, he has continued to rise and landed his first Grammy nomination for best gospel album this year. Outside of being a singer/songwriter, Tim is one of the choral directors at Spirit of Faith Christian Center, as well as a mentor.

<![CDATA[Making History: Tony Lewis Shares His Story, Mentors Youth]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:09:21 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/201702+Tony+Lewis+Jr.jpg

Name: Tony Lewis Jr.

Education: Gonzaga College High School, The University of D.C.

Occupation: Vocational development coordinator, Chairman of the Mayors Commission on Reentry and Returning Citizen Affairs, author, community activist, mentor and advocate for children with incarcerated parents.

His Story: D.C. native Tony Lewis Jr., known to some as "Slugg," lived a comfortable life until his father, Tony Lewis Sr., was arrested in 1989. Tony Lewis Sr. is serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary for his role in a crack cocaine distribution network led by his partner, Rayful Edmond III. Crack ravaged D.C. in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, when the murder rate skyrocketed. 

Making History: Tony Lewis Jr. was just nine years old when his father was taken away; his life became traumatic. His family moved back to Hanover Place in northwest Washington. Prison visits became the new normal. There was violence in his community, and his mother began suffering from mental illness. But Tony beat the odds, and now mentors young people who are trying to reclaim their own lives.

For more information, visit his website.

<![CDATA[Making History: Male Ballet Dancer Inspires Next Generation]]>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:58:47 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/2017-02-28_0555.png

Name: Brooklyn Mack 

Education: Pavlovich Dance School
Kirov Academy of Ballet 

Occupation: Dancer with The Washington Ballet 

His Story: Originally from Elgin, South Carolina, Brooklyn Mack first wanted to be a football player. But after learning how ballet could help his game, he told his mom he’d take ballet if she would take him to tryouts. After auditioning for the Pavlovich Dance School and receiving a full scholarship -- something that was unheard of at the time -- Brooklyn Mack never looked back. At the age of 15, Brooklyn began training in Washington, D.C., with the Kirov Academy of Ballet. After graduating, Brooklyn danced for several companies before finding his way back to D.C. and dancing with The Washington Ballet. 

Making History: Brooklyn Mack is redefining what it means to be a black male ballet dancer. He has shattered stereotypes, received countless awards and made history with Misty Copeland as the first black leads in The Washington Ballet’s production of "Swan Lake." During his free time, Brooklyn travels the world dancing and working with different charities in an effort to inspire others to join dance too.

<![CDATA[Keeping the Faith: An NBC4 Black History Special]]>Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:01:36 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170224+Keeping+the+Faith2.jpg

D.C.'s historic black churches are finding ways to keep the faith in changing neighborhoods. Often, that means finding ways to reach out to new members -- while maintaining the communities that they have fostered for decades.]]>
<![CDATA[The Woman Who Was a 'Hidden Figure']]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:48:58 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Katherine+Johnson+Hidden+Figures.jpg

At 98 years old, one of the three inspiring female African-American mathematicians the Academy Award-nominated film “Hidden Figures” is based still has a head for numbers and would like to be back in her chair at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The book and movie “Hidden Figures” tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, who were among the first African-American women to work for NASA during the space race in the 1950s and 1960s, when their job assignments in the segregated computers division at Langley were far beneath the heights they would eventually climb through excellent work and perseverance achieving equality.

Johnson’s first job at NASA was as a computer programmer in a segregated unit of all African-American women, where her brilliant math skills were recognized.

“I miss working,” she says. “I worked all my life, all kinds of jobs.”

The bigger challenge was overcoming racial prejudice.

John Glenn trusted Johnson’s telemetry calculations over those from computers that were relatively new at the time.

“Yes, he was like me,” she said. “He didn't trust … the computers.”

He knew her equations done by hand had worked for some very high-stakes missions.

So how did she feel about so much weight riding on her arithmetic?

“No problem.”

Math never stumped Johnson.

She is a legend now at NASA, where a lot has changed since her 33 years there. She was a major catalyst for that change. Her brilliant mind for math led to great strides in the race to get to space and back.

She says she was just doing her job, but her parts putting America out front in the pioneering days of the space race and bringing her race from the back of the bus when they rode to work both earned a place in history.

The movie offers only a glimpse of Johnson's life away from NASA. The single mother of three daughters has a new husband who is still in her life.

Christine Darden was hired as a computer programmer in 1967, two years before NASA put a man on the moon. As a trained mathematician, she eventually wanted to do more.

Turned down by her immediate supervisors when she asked if she could work in an engineering group, she had the courage to go to a more senior supervisor because of the shoulders of women she stood on, like those of Katherine Johnson.

“We were enabled to move up in our jobs because of what they did and the way they worked,” Darden said.

She rose to the rank of supervisor and retired as head of the department of education and legislative affairs.

Engineer Julie Williams-Byrd is one of the women NASA designated a "modern figure." Right now, NASA is looking at sending people to Mars.

“Thinking about sending humans to Mars, we start with a concept, right, we start visualizing,” she says.

Williams-Byrd has her name on the door at NASA, something Katherine Johnson may have dreamed of when she was creating trajectories in her head.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Alexandria Honors Three Men for Mentorship]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:47:24 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170223+Alexandria+Rec+Department.jpg

Three Alexandria men will be honored for their efforts mentoring youth, News4's Pat Lawson Muse reports. Lawrence "Lucky" Elliott, Traverse Gray and Jackie Mason worked for Alexandria's Recreation Department, where they helped young men during some of the most difficult times for men of color after integration. For more information about the event, click here.]]>
<![CDATA[NBC4 Celebrates Black History Month]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:47:37 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170223+Rushern+Baker.jpg

NBC4 joined leaders from throughout the region to celebrate Black History Month at the African-American Museum of History and Culture in Prince George’s County. Among the speakers was County Executive Rushern Baker. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Sallie Elam: Celebrating Black History Month]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:34:59 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170223+Sallie+Elam.jpg

Meet Sallie Elam, national tournament director for the American Tennis Association, the oldest African-American sports organization in the world.]]>
<![CDATA[Austin Lee: Celebrating Black History Month]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:39:16 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170223+Austin+Lee.jpg]]><![CDATA[NBC4 Celebrates Black History ]]>Mon, 29 Jan 2018 14:11:53 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017+Black+History+Month.jpg

NBC4 continues to celebrate our diverse community with special programming during Black History Month.

Black History Month is recognized nationally in February as a time to reflect on historical and cultural achievements by African Americans in U.S. history. 

NBC4 is honoring Black History Month in a variety of exciting ways. On Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. we broadcast an NBC network special, hosted by Lester Holt: "Talk Stoop: Modern Day History Makers."

And on Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. News4 presents a commemorating Black History Month special.

Be sure to get active on social media this month, using hashtag #NBCBLK28 to celebrate the NBCBLK28, people who are "redefining what it means to be young, gifted, and unapologetically black."

NBC4 is proud to continuously celebrate our region's diversity with the help of our partner, the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

<![CDATA[Eleanor Traynham: Celebrating Black History Month]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:35:21 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/20170223+Eleanor+Traynham.jpg

Meet Eleanor Traynham, one of the founding members of the Prince Georges African American Museum and Cultural Center. ]]>
<![CDATA[African-American Playwright Brings Ancestors' Story to Life]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:22:43 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170222+Circus.jpg

Not everything was laughs and music behind the scenes of the nation's first African-American circus. But the love of the couple who founded it triumphed. Now, the love of their great-great-grandson has brought the couple's story back to prominence. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports on "The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus," on stage now at the Anacostia Playhouse.]]>
<![CDATA[Black History Month at the Capitol]]>Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:51:48 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/capitol+visitor+center1.jpg

The Capitol Visitor Center is hosting a series of free events to celebrate Black History Month.

Visitors don't need a pass to attend any of these events. To attend, meet at Exhibition Hall at the times below.

During Family Thursdays on Feb. 16 and 23,  you and your family can learn about Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent freedom fighters in American history. You’ll also get to make a collage to honor him.

The program begins at 11 a.m.; it lasts 30 minutes.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a momentous movement in 1963. Now, you can view archival film footage of the march. Seen on the Screen: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will take place on Feb. 17 at 11 a.m.

Matt Field, the curator of the Capitol Visitor Center, will talk about Congress and Anti-Lynching Legislation during the Progressive Era at an event titled Expert Testimony. The conversation begins Feb. 24 at 11 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington ]]>
<![CDATA[Artists Perform at DC-Area Airports for Black History Month]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 05:03:47 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-564111745.jpg

African-American musicians will perform at two airports in the Washington, D.C., area for Black History Month, officials say. 

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says in a statement that the musicians will make appearances at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport Thursday.

The musicians will perform from 10 a.m. to noon in National Hall at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the terminal on the ticketing level at Dulles International Airport.

The airports authority says performers include the Heritage Village Drum Ensemble, saxophonist Merlon Devine, pianist Ricardo White and hip-hop artist Drisco.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Museum Explores Changing DC Landscape Via Art]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:17:52 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/230*120/2017-02-06_1101.png

The tan building is almost easy to miss along busy Rhode Island Avenue in North Brentwood. But once you enter the Prince George's County African American Museum and Cultural Center, you'll find it hard to look away.

The walls along one hallway are decorated with black-and-white photographs of African-American families who once called Prince George's County home. In another room, devastating letters, informing a black soldier's family of his death nearly two months after it occurred, are artfully placed on a wall.

"Our mission is to preserve Prince George's black history," Chanel Compton, the museum's executive director, said. 

"Chocolate Cities," the museum's latest exhibit, debuts Wednesday. An opening reception, featuring giveaways by black-owned businesses, will be held Friday at 6 p.m. 

The exhibit and program series will examine cities around the United States whose population are or once were majority black. Prince George's County and Washington, D.C., will be a focus of the exhibition. 

In the 1970s, African-Americans made up more than 70 percent of D.C.'s population. Forty-five years later, the population was down to 48.3 percent, according to census data from 2015.

"We want to focus on what has been sustained through gentrification and how we continue to create," said "Chocolate Cities" curator Martina Dodd.

The art displayed throughout the exhibit explores topics like black fatherhood, violence in the community, urban renewal and city dwelling.

The exhibit, which features many local artists, showcases their interpretations of "chocolate cities," according to Dodd. 

One of the most striking series in the exhibit is Imar Hutchins' "Sacred Cows."

Inspired by the reverence given to cows in India, each portrait in Hutchins' series features a person from his life adorned with brightly colored jewelry and clothing.

The collage and mixed-media work is a commentary on the treatment of African-Americans in America, Dodd said. 

"He took people in his life and imagined them as sacred cows, creating them as deities," Dodd said. "But also thinking about cows in America and how they're a labor force."

Another collection features black-and-white photos of a famed checkers club in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. 

"In this area of Shaw -- among the shiny new businesses -- is a building with a mural of men playing checkers," Dodd explained. "The artist went there and learned it was a checkers club. They're still active and congregate every week to play."

"These stories are not unique, but it's wonderful to have an institution where we can preserve these memories," Compton said. 

The "Chocolate Cities" exhibit will also include a number of programs throughout the year. 

On Feb. 26, the museum will hold an event called "Well Rooted: Black Townships in Prince George's County. In July, "A Taste of Chocolate City" will explore the food and culture of those townships. North Brentwood, the neighborhood where the museum is located, was the first municipality in Prince George's County incorporated by African Americans.

"I would like people to walk away more curious than when they walked in," Dodd said. "I want the exhibit to spark interest, for people to talk to their grandparents, to meet someone in the community, to do their own research."

"The more you learn about a place and its history, the more you want to protect it," Compton added. "How can you not be inspired?"

Photo Credit: Imar Hutchins/ Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center
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<![CDATA[Taking a Stand: the 1939 Alexandria Sit-In]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 18:29:38 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/samuel+tucker+sit+in.jpg

It was a sweltering August day in 1939, and William "Buddy" Evans was face-to-face with a police officer in the Alexandria Free Library.

Looking up from the pages of his book, the 19-year-old had one question.

"What would happen if we don't leave?" he asked. 

Four other well-dressed black men were also in the library, reading quietly at different tables. They came to the Queen Street library together, but sitting apart was essential to their plan. 

They were there to make a statement: that every Alexandria citizen had the right to read at the public library. Their sit-in is believed to be one of the earliest in American civil rights history. 

Just a few blocks away, Samuel Wilbert Tucker sat in his law office, waiting for word about the protest he had organized. 

Tucker never went to law school; he studied for the bar exam on his own and was sworn in to the Virginia State Bar just five years before the sit-in. 

"Most people aren't aware of these small lawyers, but they were making a difference," said Audrey Davis, the director of the Alexandria Black History Museum.

According to the museum, the event was "an early crack in the wall of segregation" and paved the way for future African-American achievements in Alexandria. 

"Most people don't realize his legacy," Davis said. "He was doing a lot of civil rights work."

At the time of the sit-in, Tucker had a petition pending about the use of the library by the city's black residents. Media reports implied the case could have far-reaching influence on other segregated public facilities.

'It Was the Policy Not to Admit Colored Persons'

In 1937, the city built the Alexandria Free Library for its white residents. The city's black residents were denied access -- even though their tax dollars helped finance the library. 

"It was the policy not to admit colored persons," former librarian Kate Scroggins said in an interview featured in the 1999 film "Out of Obscurity."

Black residents who were interested in reading traveled to Richmond or Washington, D.C., to use libraries there, or they scrounged for books in their own community.

The library board later appointed a committee to look into the need for a blacks-only library in the city, but months went by without any decision on the matter. 

Sick of waiting, Tucker came up with a plan. 

He went to the library with George Wilson, and both men requested library cards. When they were denied, Tucker took Wilson's case to court, hoping to force the city to issue a library card. 

An article in a local newspaper said the case was likely to reverberate throughout Virginia and the "whole Southland."

Inspired by the civil disobedience of Mahatma Gandhi in India and the United Autoworkers Union strike in Flint, Michigan, Samuel Tucker organized the library sit-in to test whether the City of Alexandria could legally keep its black citizens out of the public building. 

Taking a Stand

On August 21, 1939, William "Buddy" Evans, 19; Otto Tucker, 22; Edward Gaddis, 21; Morris L. Murray, 22; and Clarence "Buck" Strange, 21, walked into the Queen Street library one by one and requested a library card. When they were refused, they each walked to a shelf, grabbed a book and sat down. 

The men did not speak and each sat at different table -- Samuel Tucker wanted to make sure they did nothing to warrant a disorderly conduct charge. 

Outside, 14-year-old Robert "Bobby" Strange watched the quiet protest from a window, running to Samuel Tucker's office to alert the young lawyer once the police had been called. 

Samuel Tucker called the media, and when the police escorted the five men out of library, over 300 spectators were waiting outside. 

The five protesters were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct -- even though witnesses testified the five were quiet and orderly during their time in the library. 

"Can't find law to fit case of Negro boys who went into 'white' library to read - not disorderly conduct, so what it is?," read an article in The Pittsburgh Courier in 1939.

Samuel Tucker defended the men at their trial, and the charges were dropped after the arresting officer admitted the men had been arrested for their race and not their behavior.

In Wilson's case, the court ruled blacks could not be denied access to the Alexandria Free Library, because no black library was available.

But the ruling didn't produce the results Samuel Tucker hoped for. 

Wilson and Samuel Tucker were issued library cards, but they could only be used at the new blacks-only library the city was rushing to construct.

Named for a freed slave and beloved Alexandria pastor, the Robert Robinson Library opened on the corner of Wythe and North Alfred streets in 1940, according to the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Constructed at half the cost of the Alexandria Free Library, the tiny, one-room building was filled with tables, chairs, a librarian's desk and shelves of used books. 

"When you compare the Queen Street Library with Robert Robertson Library, it was like comparing the mansion to the slave quarters," Samuel Tucker's sister, Elsie Thomas, said in an interview featured in "Out of Obscurity."

While many residents were pleased with the new library, Samuel Tucker was disgusted. 

"I refuse to accept a card to be used at the library constructed and operated at Alfred and Wythe streets," he said in a letter to the librarian at the Alexandria Library. 

"He never stepped foot into the Robinson Library," Davis said. 

Preserving the Past

The Robert Robinson Library closed in 1962, and today, it is the home of the Alexandria Black History Museum. 

The museum is the first site totally devoted to the city's African-American history. 

Samuel Tucker and the 1939 sit-in were featured in an exhibit in the museum in 2014. While the story is no longer featured prominently, the museum continues to tell the stories larger museums don't have the room to profile.

"There were people in every community standing up," Davis said. "We tell the smaller stories that they don't have the space to tell."

A current exhibit at the museum explores the day in the life of a slave and issues of preservation in the city. 

In addition to its main building, the museum includes the Watson Reading Room and the Alexandria African American Heritage Park, a satellite location that includes a sculpture garden and a one-acre 19th century African-American cemetery. 

Photo Credit: Alexandria Black History Museum
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<![CDATA[Postal Service Issues Stamp Honoring Dorothy Height]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:52:33 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Dorothy+Height+stamp+take+two.jpg

In celebration of Black History Month, the U.S. Postal Service is issuing a new "forever" stamp honoring civil rights icon Dorothy Height.

Height, a life-long activist, worked tirelessly for civil and women's rights until her death in 2010. President Barack Obama called her "the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement." 

The stamp will be a tribute to Height's "legacy of seeking equality and justice for all Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender or race," said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp during a ceremony at Howard University on Wednesday. 

The stamp is the 40th entry in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage series and features a portrait of Height done by artist Thomas Blackshear II.

Height helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington and shared the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and now-Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. President John F. Kennedy named Height to his Commission on the Status of Women and she attended Kennedy’s 1963 signing of the Equal Pay Act.

Height is also the recipient of the nation’s two highest civilian honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom delivered by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal awarded by President George W. Bush in 2004.

She was a guest of Obama at his 2009 inauguration.

Photo Credit: U.S. Postal Service]]>
<![CDATA[African American Museum Celebrates First Black History Month]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:53:13 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/National+African+American+Museum.jpg

The National Museum of African American History and Culture tells the powerful story of the African-American experience every day, but it still has exhibits planned to honor Black History Month. News4's Kristin Wright reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Making History Today: Tony Lewis Shares His Story, Mentors Youth]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:38:26 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017780569_1200x675_878652483590.jpg

Tony Lewis Jr. is mentoring a new generation.]]>
<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Kicking Off Black History Month]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:54:38 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017612708_1200x675_867930691599.jpg

Chris Lawrence speaks with Troy Johnson of WHUR about Black History Month and the civil rights and women’s rights activist Dorothy Height's honorary stamp, the 40th in the Black Heritage U.S. Postal Service’s stamp collection.]]>
<![CDATA[Black History Incorporated Into Art in DC Gallery Exhibit]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:55:02 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017642442_1200x675_869705283922.jpg

A new exhibition opened for Black History Month Friday at the Zenith Gallery in Northwest D.C. News4's Barbara Harrison introduces some of the African-American Artists whose work reflects the history they have lived through and incorporated in their art.]]>
<![CDATA[98-Year-Old Hidden Figure Katherine Johnson Still Has a Head for Numbers]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:39:18 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Katherine+Johnson+Hidden+Figures.jpg

News4's Barbara Harrison interviews the last surviving "Hidden Figure" who inspired a book and Oscar-nominated movie.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[5 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Baltimore ]]>Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:55:37 -0500https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Aquarium.png

If you're looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month outside the D.C. area, several events celebrating the contributions of African-Americans are being held just an hour north in Baltimore, Maryland.

From attractions at the National Aquarium to cruises on the Patapsco River, Charm City has a lot of ways to celebrate while you learn something new. 

We've rounded up a list of five fun things you can do this month: 

1. The National Aquarium's Black History Month Celebration

On Friday, the National Aquarium is hosting an evening of family fun. From 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., you can watch live performances and learn how African Americans have contributed to the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime and seafood industries. You’ll also learn the role African-Americans play in shaping the industry’s future. 

The event will include hands-on activities like oyster tonging. All of the festivities are included in your half-price Friday night admission ticket. Click here for more information.

2. Bob Marley's Birthday Soul Shakedown 

Celebrate reggae legand Bob Marley's birthday at a concert in Charm City. The annual dance party will be held Feb. 4 at Creative Alliance on Eastern Avenue. Creative Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes art in the city.

See-I, a reggae band founded by two brothers, will perform some of their hit songs. Local DJs Papa WaBe and Papa T will also be at the party. Jamaican food will be available for purchase. 

Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are on sale for $18. If you're a member of Creative Alliance, discount tickets are available for $15. 

3. Picturing Frederick Douglass

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is hosting "Picturing Frederick Douglass" as a part of its genealogy and history series. On Feb. 4, John Stauffer of Harvard University will examine Douglass' work and fight for African-American representation through 50 years of photographs. 

Admission to the event is included with your museum ticket. Tickets to the museum are $8 for general admission and $6 for senior citizens and children. Because the event is on the first weekend of February, you can get in for free if you are a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit holder by showing your card and ID at the door.  

4. Creativity Exchange - Intersection Between Black Artists and Black-Owned Businesses 

The Baltimore Museum of Art is inviting you to a day of discussion and networking at the Creativity Exchange on Feb. 11 from noon to 5 p.m.

Do you own a business? You can learn how to brand yourself and connect with customers during a workshop at 12:30 p.m. Because space for this workshop is limited, you'll need to RSVP in advance. 

You can also listen to a panel discussion about how to develop innovative projects. 

Throughout the day, afro-punk jewelry, bath and body products and apparel will be available for purchase at a vendor fair. The event is open to the public. 

5. Black History Month Lunch Cruise 

Cruise the Patapsco River during a 2-hour cruise Feb. 25. Spirit Cruises is hosting the Black History Month lunch cruise.

Participants can dine on a delicious buffet and enjoy beautiful river views while learning about important black history moments in the city. 

Tickets are available for $46.90, but if you want a better view, you can purchase a seat at a window table for $61.90. T

These are just some of the Black History Month celebrations happening in Baltimore. Check out other exciting events here!