Four African visitors to the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, now Anacostia Community Museum, July 1970. The visitors, from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast (Côte d’ Ivoire), Chad, and Mali, were in the United States as part of an Operation Crossroads Africa/State Department educational tour. Balcha Fellows (third from right), a special assistant to the museum’s founding director, John Kindard, arranged the Anacostia Community Museum portion of the tour.
Both collections contain photographs of social activities in the community sponsored by the local recreation center. Among the charming activities for the children were “Tom Thumb Weddings,” where children played the roles of bride, groom, minister, wedding party, and guest. Other activities documented in the collections are dance recitals, sporting events, hobby shows, and the annual soap box derby. The images challenge perceptions of life in public housing during the 1940s by illustrating the positive aspects of life in the projects.
The exhibition explored the immigration of people of African descent from Central and South America and the Caribbean to the Washignton Metropolitan area. The show focused on several issues including: Identity; the African Diaspora in the Americas; memories of home; race and color at home; migration/immigration; music; and community life in Washington.
To view the exhibition and research records from this exhibition contact: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Percival Bryan was a leading autograph collector from Jamaica who settled in the northeast section of Washington, D.C., east of the Anacostia River. In 1941 Mr. Bryan became a United States citizen and started his career as a driver. His interest in collecting autographs began while serving as chauffeur for U. S. Attorney General Homer S. Cummings. F or Bryan, his autograph books provided a record of the “pulse of the public” and contributed to the nation’s history.
The Percival Bryan collection at the Anacostia Community Museum contains 298 of his autograph books. Within these books are the signatures of known and unknown individuals, poems, sketches, and a few watercolors. By the end of his career Bryan was a D.C. cab driver and had collected over 160,000 signatures. He encouraged everyone from members of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cabinet to participants in the 1963 March on Washington to make their mark in his books. Bryan even sought the “John Hancock” of everyday passengers in his cab. You can help us identify the famous and not so famous signatures in Bryan’s collection by transcribing his very first autograph book. Select the link below to look inside and transcribe!