Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Melvin Deal Appears in People's District

Dancing Griot Discusses His Work With Community Youth

People's District founder, Danny, travels from ward to ward, neighborhood to neighborhood seeking stories. His findings, pieced together in his blog, form a living portrait of humanity, as poignant as it is raw. He doesn't look for subjects, but for friends, and fellow citizens. He does not ask questions; he listens and reports. The stories do not always glisten and shine, but they serve as a reminder that DC is populated by regular, everyday, unique, multi-dimensional characters. People's District lets readers get to know the city without giving them so much that they are not encouraged to go out and see it for themselves. 

Humanities Council honoree Melvin Deal was recently featured on the blog, discussing his work as a community youth leader, dance teacher, and cultural anthropologist. Deal, from his African Heritage Dance Center in Anacostia (formerly located in Deanwood), has helped countless children care escape neglect and self-doubt, encouraging them, through the performing arts, to be successful in all aspects of their lives. Click here for more information of the film, Dancing Griot: The Life and Legacy of Melvin Deal, funded, in part, through a Humanities Council of Washington, DC 30th Anniversary Special Grant. And check out the story and images captured by People's District inside Deal's Southeast dance studio.

As he continues to seek-out the agents of grassroots history, heritage, and culture in Washington, DC, Danny will doubtless encounter many individuals who have been affiliated with the Humanities Council. The People's District is an impressive digital humanities project and we applaud the effort to preserve the District's collective memory.

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