Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Personal Reflections on Malcolm X - Master Teacher"

The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library is pleased to present a talk by Shaw neighborhood resident A. Peter Bailey

From a press release distributed by the Watha T. Daniel Neighborhood Library...

When: Monday, February 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Where: Watha T. Daniel Shaw Neighborhood Library
1630 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
For more information:
(202) 727-1288

Professor A. Peter Bailey was a founding member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity which was founded by Malcolm X in 1964 after his separation from the Nation of Islam. He was editor of the OAAU's newsletter and was in the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965 when Brother Malcolm was assassinated. He was a pall-bearer at his funeral.

Bailey, once a strong supporter of the mainstream civil rights movement, has said: "My awareness of Brother Malcolm was strictly as the bogeyman that you read about in the newspapers...All of that changed in the summer of 1962 when I heard him speak for the first time."

Bailey knew, worked with, and supported Brother Malcolm before joining Johnson Publishing's New York office where he wrote for Ebony and Jet. Mr. Bailey was the 2010 Visiting Playwright in residence in The Department of Theatre Art at Howard University.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Humanitini Comes to Axum Restaurant and Bar!

Happy Hour Conversations On Today's Hot Topics

Our signature think-and-drink event is back starting Tuesday, February 21st and then every Tuesday after until March 13. The Humanitini is a relaxed discussion between a panel of experts and a happy hour audience on topics of timely interest or importance. Topics will include:
The final two programs will take place at Axum Restaurant and Bar at 1934 9th Street, NW!
  • Caps, Nats, Wiz, and 'Skins: Finding Community Identity Through Sports - We'll take a humanities spin on local sports fandom. Our panelists and the audience will explore the District's unique sports identity. Can a city with a large transient population attract dedicated home-team supporters? Confirmed panelists include Brian Tinsman from The Redskins Blog, Kyle S. Yeldell from National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, Howard University Soccer Head Coach, Michael Lawrence, American football tight end Leonard Stephens, and Edwin Henderson from the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. The panel will be moderated by Amy Saidman of SpeakeasyDC. This Humanitini will also feature Demont “Peekaso” Pinder, local artist well known as being the art director for JIVE recording artist Raheem DeVaughn. He will paint a sports themed piece during the panel discussion and it will be auctioned off at the end of the program.
  • Occupy DC: What is the Price of Freedom? - This program will take a street-level look at the Occupy DC protest, examining its origins and goals as well as the effect it has had on local businesses and city agencies. Confirmed panelists include community activist and lobbyist Erik Jones, and Sinclair Skinner, Legba Carrefour, and Megan Brett from Occupy DC Media team. This panel will be moderated by Andy Shallal, founder of Busboys and Poets.  
  The events are completely free and open to the public (donations accepted).

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today in the Humanities... National Orchestra; Baha'i Celebration; and Ghosts of DC

A Dose of Humanities Happenings and Happeneds for the DC Humanist

An initiative to connect the NSO and its musicians to the residents of Washington, D.C., with performances by the full orchestra and small ensembles in untraditional spaces and multi-disciplinary collaborations.

Baha'i Faith Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India
On Nov. 12, the Baha’is of Washington D.C. and their friends will celebrate the 194th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith.  This celebration at the Josephine Butler Parks Center in the nation’s capital will join with similar celebrations in over 100,000 localities around the world.

Thanks to a couple readers for sending the great photos of the Howard Theater sign going up right now. Howard Theater is located at 7th and T St, NW and plans on reopening in April 2012.

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to announce the 29th Annual Larry Neal Writers’ Competition, which commemorates the artistic legacy and vision of cultural understanding of Larry Neal, a renowned author, academic and former Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The competition honors the artistic excellence of emerging and established DC writers with monetary awards for submissions in poetry, essays, dramatic writing and short story. Awards will be presented at the 29th Annual Larry Neal Writers’ Awards Ceremony on May 4, 2012, in partnership with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

This blog is about uncovering stories that have long been forgotten. I walk by buildings every day, and it’s hard not to imagine what happened there fifty or a hundred years ago. I want to learn about lost neighborhoods like Swampoodle and Murder Bay, find out who lived in my neighborhood when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, and understand the fear of seeing confederate flags ominously flying within site of the Capitol, across the river in secessionist Virginia.

Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail is undergoing a facelift! So if you see a blank sign, don’t fret. A new panel wil be in place soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who Lived Here?

Houses in DC Live Many Lives. Research the History of Your Home or Another Intriguing Property.

The most important history lessons are deeply personal, and invoke an emotional response. This explains the popularity of documentary film, with its flair for the dramatic, and genealogy with its immediate personal connections. It also explains why some people are so willing to passionately defend a community's architectural look and feel, and the unique intangible identities their neighborhoods develop through tradition and memory. 

On Saturday, February 18, the Humanities Council, in partnership with the DC Public Library, the DC Historic Preservation Office, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, will host a House History Day during which DC residents will learn how to research the past lives of their homes. House history research is powerful because it provides that personal connection to the past that few other types of historical research can; it allows anyone to forge a strong sense of connection with their neighborhood and their community whether they have called DC home for years, or just moved in last month. 

Next month's workshop will feature hands on instruction from expert archivists and historians; researchers will have time to practice their new skills as well, and are encouraged to bring along as much information about their house's history as they can. 

Sessions include: DC Maps, Historic Building Permit Database, Photo Archives, Microfilm, and DC Digital Museum/Neighborhood Context. The day will consist of two identical workshops in which participants will rotate to each of the sessions. The morning workshop lasts from 10am-12pm and the afternoon workshop from 1pm-3pm.  Lunch will be served between the morning and afternoon workshops. 

To register please visit http://dchousehistory.eventbrite.com

Please register for only one of the two workshops. House History Day is free, but we ask that you only register if you are sure you will be able to attend. The workshops are very popular and space is extremely limited. For more information please email info[at]wdchumanities[dot]org.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today in the Humanities... MLK Jr. Day of Service; OccupyArchive; and Colonial History in PG

History, Literature, Philosophy, Ethics, and More Wrapped Into a Regular Blog Feature

We want to know how you served on MLK Day 2012. You can share your story here, on our Facebook page, or by sending an email to MLKDay@cns.gov. Your stories will help us highlight the many ways Americans are honoring Dr. King through service, improving lives, and making a difference in our communities.

Currently, the archive includes a growing set of collections of webpage screenshots, movement documents, and digital images. These collections were built with a combination of individual contributions and automated feed importing. Now, with the launch of the OccupyArchive.org website, individuals can contribute and geolocate their stories and files from the movement. Together, these materials will provide an historical record of the 2011 Occupy protests.

Each week, two writing workshops called “Writing for your Health” are offered for people with cancer and other community members in the Nina Hyde Resource Room. One begins at 11:00 am Tuesday during morning clinic and the other in the evening at 6:00 pm. For the morning session, patients are invited to the Resource Room for a brief demonstration of expressive writing while waiting for their appointments.

This year, the Chinatown Community Cultural Center will have a full day of program along with live cultural performances on Sunday, January 29th 2012 from 12pm to 5pm. Visitors will be able to browse the many displays that will teach about the traditions for New Year, participate in a hands-on arts and crafts project, and enjoy the live martial art performances and Chinese musical instrument all of which will be packed in throughout the day and coinciding with the parade.

Each student researches and acts the part of an historic character from the 1860s and traces President Abraham Lincoln's steps as he considered emancipation and its alternatives. These scenes are videotaped and transferred to a DVD for the class to keep. This field trip experience invites students to explore notions of bondage and freedom within the real historic spaces of Decatur House.

The district, located off Livingston Road between Oxon Hill and Fort Washington roads stretching along the Potomac River, considered to be the area first settled by colonists in the Washington, D.C., region, currently is recognized by the county as a historic site and includes Harmony Hall, a Georgian country house dating to the 18th century.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Today in the Humanities... The Giver, Ethics, Soviet Monuments, and 100 Year Old Sound Recordings

Humanities News and Events from DC and Beyond

Children's book author Lois Lowry used to store her rough drafts in the crisper drawer of her refrigerator so that if the house burned down, she wouldn't lose what she was working on. After a book was published, she'd toss her manuscripts in the trash. She figured they had no value.

The Undersecretary for History, Art, and Culture, and the Director of the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum invite you to attend the 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Program featuring keynote speaker Harry E. Johnson.

"Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield," Amanda Poppei. Join Amanda as she uses Dr. Martin Luther King's anti-war work as a springboard for thinking about America's military, the ethics of support for the military generally and for individual troops, and WES's own involvement in conscientious objector status work.

Soviet Monument in Sofia, Bulgaria
The destruction of the monuments of the Soviet past and a buildup of new monuments was supposed to be an indication of the new values that came to the post-Soviet societies after the collapse of the Soviet system. However, not everywhere and not always did it happen to be true.

That collaboration has resulted in unlocking experimental sound recordings made more than 100 years ago by Alexander Graham Bell and associates. The recordings, now available for listening by the public, can be found at http://irene.lbl.gov/volta-release.html.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The How and Why of Community History in Shaw

Footage in DC Digital Museum Archive Shows a Community Determined to Preserve its Heritage and Culture

The collection of the DC Digital Museum is diverse because it essentially reflects the Humanities Council's grantmaking activities since the organization was founded in 1980. Combing through the archive, has been a great way to get to know the city on a very human level. 

Sometimes researching and archiving a raw collection can be challenging and surprising at the same time. Earlier this week, we unearthed a couple of VHS cassettes labeled "Shaw Neighborhood History: The Whitelaw Hotel." A search in the old database brought up a record for these tapes that indicated they were copies of a documentary film on the Whitelaw and its relatively recent preservation as an apartment building. It seemed like a great topic for a documentary, and we were eager to digitize it, determine its creators and provenance, and make it available through the DC Digital Museum. 

We were disappointed at first to see that the tapes contained no such documentary. The footage was shot at the then newly renovated Whitelaw, but it was of a planning meeting, led by historians Kathy Smith and Marya McQuirter, involving residents and former residents of Shaw and the greater U Street Neighborhood. The audience had been brought together to discuss a planned history exhibit at what was to become the Thurgood Marshall Center for Heritage and Service; they were discussing how to best represent their memories as a historical narrative .

The footage is not just a record of the collective memories of Shaw community members, it is a fascinating text that shows how people seek to use the histories, preserved through memory, architecture, tradition, and human relationships, to actively pursue social improvement in the places that mean the most to them. 

The clip below represents only about one fifth of the conversation that occurred that evening April 10, 1996 at the Whitelaw. Please leave a comment if you or anyone you know participated in the planning meeting. What role does history have in Washington, DC's neighborhoods today? Is it different than it was 15 years ago?

The museum exhibit based, in part, on this community conversation is housed in the Thurgood Marshall Center for Heritage and Service at 1816 12th St, NW and is open to visitors during the day. Call (202) 462-8314 for exact hours.

The conversation also provided Smith and McQuirter valuable information as they compiled a guide to Shaw's Historical Resources, available in the DC Public Library's Washingtoniana Division.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today in the Humanities... Igloos; Internets; and Cultural Tourism's Top 12 of 2011

Catch the Latest Humanities Stories and Check Out Some You Might Have Missed

The Kiplingers, a prominent Washington business dynasty, started collecting rare photographs and prints of Washington in the 1920s. They assembled work dating back to 1791, added the work of Civil War photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, and then gathered examples of Washington history through the mid-20th century.

The prestigious Carnegie Corporation of New York and New York Times "I Love My Librarian" award goes to D.C. public librarian Venetia V. Demson.  Demson is one of 10 librarians in the country and the first in this region to receive this annual award.

Most of us leave breadcrumbs behind us online. Say you’re shopping online and a pair of leather boots catches your eye. You zoom in, reading reviews. Finally, you refocus and click a link to a Washington Post article. There, in an ad box to the right, are those boots. It’s like they are meant for you, calling out to you.

One of the few things that we can be sure about in this period of accelerating change is that the monumental advances in communications technology spawned by the invention of the computer and the chip have epochal implications for human learning. A revolution has commenced where science and technology are melding with the humanities.

Students from the Arts & Technology Academy, a public charter school in Washington, recite portions of Frederick Douglass’s 19th-century speeches in annual contest.

Although there may be extremely cold temperatures outside an igloo, amazingly the inside can be as warm as sixty degrees due to the natural insulation properties of the snow. But igloos aren’t the only type of snow buildings. From hotels to castles to entire villages, people are building all sorts of snow structures around the world. 

The Top 12 of 2011 DC Insiders list gives you a sample of some of the many different activities there are in the city.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today in the Humanities...

Streep for Women's History Museum; Anthropology and Philosophy on the Defensive; DC Government Ethics; and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

This new regular feature funnels current humanities stories from Washington, DC and around the world to your computer!

Known for her film work, Meryl Streep is going off script to rally for a National Women’s History Museum by the National Mall in Washington, D.C. She’s donated $1 million to the cause, but money isn’t the only requisite. Congressional approval is required for the location.

2011 featured pernicious political posturing over what we know and how we discover it. Florida Gov. Rick Scott told the state’s universities that they should be educating students in areas “where people can get a job in this state.” Accordingly, he intends to invest higher education dollars in physical science, math, engineering and technology departments, and let the humanities, arts and social sciences go fallow. Scott singled out anthropology as an example of a job-less education, saying, “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.”

“Perennially, departments of philosophy are under attack,” said Andrew Light, the George Mason University professor who organized and monitored the panel discussion. “We’re always looking for better ways to sell the major.”

The D.C. Council will take a second and final vote Tuesday on the sweeping ethics bill that has dominated its agenda the past few months.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.