June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month!

 

Caribbean Americans, like all immigrant groups, have made profound contributions to the U.S. The diversity of Caribbean people is seen through language, religion, race, and traditions. The Anacostia Community Museum collection includes works done in and about the Caribbean as well as work from and about notable Caribbean Americans.

It is this same diversity that has drawn many artists and scholars from the U.S. To the Caribbean. Our collection includes prints from my fellow Duke alum, U.S. born  Titus Brooks Heagins, who documented people of color throughout the world including the Carolinas, Belize, and with extensive work in the Caribbean nations of Cuba and Haiti.

This drawing, “Untitled,” is from famous Harlem Renaissance artist Ernest Crichlow (1914-2005).

Untitled by Ernest Crichlow charcoal, cardboard

Untitled by Ernest Crichlow
drawing: charcoal, cardboard , Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Collection

 

Although often referred to as an African-American artist, Crichlow is a Brooklyn born child of Bajan immigrants. That is not to say ‘African-American’ is an inaccurate identifier for him or his work; it is simply incomplete.

A strength of the Anacostia Community Museum’s collection is making international and national connections to everyday life in the D.C. area community. A perhaps lesser known but no less remarkable person in the ACM collection is Jamaican born Percival Bryant.

Bryant left Jamaica at the age of 18. He went first to New York, then, after 5 years, moved to Washington, D.C. where he settled east of the River in NE DC. He lived in DC until his death on January 27, 1996, just two days after his 90th birthday. Finding Aid for Pervical Bryant Collection

Percival Bryant poses with golf clubs in 1948. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Percival Bryant poses with golf clubs in 1948. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Percival Bryant holding a baby, circa 1951. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Percival Bryant holding a baby, circa 1951. Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

 

One of his first jobs in D.C. was as a driver for Attorney General Homer Cummings. Of the many jewels in this collection, his autograph book from his time as a taxi-cab driver holds over 160,000 signatures from his passengers!

Percival Bryan Autograph Albums, 1941 - 1993, Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Percival Bryant Autograph Albums, 1941 – 1993, Percival Bryant Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Archives

 

Happy Caribbean-American Heritage Month from the Anacostia Community Museum!

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About Caribbean-American Heritage Month from: http://www.caribbeanamericanmonth.org

In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort.

Since the declaration, the White House has issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month…

The Anacostia Museum Academy’s End of Year Performance

Designed to enhance reading, research skills, creative ability, and social and intellectual development, the Anacostia Community Museum Academy is a cultural arts enrichment program for youth ages seven to eleven in collaboration with schools in the southeast neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Our current partner is A. Kiger Savoy Elementary School. Using the expertise of Anacostia Community Museum and Smithsonian Institution educators, historians, curators, and researchers, as well as the talents of local artists, illustrators, and writers, the program incorporates classroom-based studies with field trips and experiential learning activities.

The Museum Academy gathered for a year-end program in which the students performed and recited works that were inspired but what they had learned throughout the school year.  Cake was served as well (see below).

 

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Mixed media inspired by the Anacostia River is one example of the rich arts program which distinguishes the Savoy School from its contemporaries. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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The students made a quilt using the Anacostia Community Museum has the central figure. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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Personal writing was recited. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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The students enjoyed sharing their work with the audience. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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Artwork the Museum Academy students made was exhibited at Savoy and made into a calendar for the Anacostia Community Museum. (You can still get yours). Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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Intern Marianna travelled from Egypt to work with the Museum Academy . Here she speaks with Education Specialist Linda Maxwell after the event at the Savoy School. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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Mixed media inspired by the Anacostia River is one example of the rich arts program which distinguishes the Savoy School from its contemporaries. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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Dance, music, and art, as well as hard sciences are foregrounded at the Anacostia Community Museum Academy. Photograph by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

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A student recites verse that she wrote summarizing her year at the Museum Academy. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum


With an additional focus on building and strengthening children’s self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, cognitive development, and critical thinking, the Museum Academy helps children to advance in personal and academic growth. The program introduces children to cultural resources and institutions in and beyond Washington, DC, as a means to open a world of possibilities and opportunities for the children to learn, discover, explore, and express themselves. The Museum Academy Program is sponsored in part by the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

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The joy and friendship that this group of cohorts develop over their time together is palpable in this year-end program. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum

 

 

The social construction of race, the “street” level reality of race

Dr. Nancy López, Co-founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of “Race” & Social Justice, housed in the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, traveled to D.C. as a guest speaker for the Smithsonian.

Dr. Nancy Lopez speaking at the Smithsonian on February 19, 2015

Dr. Nancy Lopez speaking at the Smithsonian on February 19, 2015

 

Her talk, “What’s your “Street Race-Gender”? draws attention to the ways in which we can self-identify on forms versus how we are treated on the street based on how we look/how others see us and ties the racial and ethnic data compiled from the census data to its uses in Civil Rights legislation.

Dr. López proposes the concept of  “street race-gender” , meaning your race or gender as viewed on the street, as a practical and innovative use-inspired measure that can be used to monitor and enforce Civil Rights legislation and advance equity-based policy research and practice that has to potential to capture the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of urban communities in the U.S. and beyond.

I invite all that are thinking about interpretations of race, ethnicity, racial performance, self-representation, identity, and group identification to watch her powerful presentation below.

 

The Anacostia Community Museum’s Annual Soiree at the Castle on the Mall

The theme for this year’s annual soiree was : “70s and 80s” which some people took more literally than others. It was held downtown in the original Smithsonian: the castle. The Great Hall was booming with the horn section of local band Phase II, cocktails garnished with Pop Rocks were served (anyone remember the urban legend of Mikey?), actor Danny Glover was in attendance to receive the John R. Kinard Leadership in Community Service Award, and it’s safe to say a fun time was had by all.

June 12, 2015 - Development Director Tykia Rodgers dances with Education Director Paul Perry at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Development Director Tykia Rodgers dances with Education Director Paul Perry at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution



June 12, 2015 - Honoree Actor Danny Glover with Director Camille Akeju at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Honoree Actor Danny Glover with Director Camille Akeju at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 - Anacostia Community Museum Advisory Board members Bennie Johnson and Tulli Moss share a laugh at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Anacostia Community Museum Advisory Board members Bennie Johnson and Mossi K. Tull share a laugh at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution



June 12, 2015 - Advisory board member Donna Gambril (far left) poses with friends at the  Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Advisory board member Donna Gambril (far left) poses with friends at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 - Mixed tape cookies were served at the 70s themed Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Mixed tape cookies were served at the 70s themed Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 -Director Camille Akeju with the members of the ACM Advisory Board:  HyeSook Chung,  Barbara Gambrell, Mossi K. Tull, Arrington Dixon, Director Camille Akeju, Larry Frazier, Alma Candelaria, Bennie Johnson and Tonya Kinlow at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -Director Camille Akeju with the members of the ACM Advisory Board: HyeSook Chung, Donna Gambrell, Mossi K. Tull, Arrington Dixon, Director Camille Akeju, Larry Frazier, Alma Candelaria, Bennie Johnson and Tonya Kinlow at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 -ACM Board Chair Larry Frazier shows off his 70s themed outfit on his phone to Allyn Kurin with Undersecretary Richard Kurin at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -ACM Board Chair Larry Frazier shows off his 70s themed outfit on his phone to Allyn Kurin with Undersecretary Richard Kurin at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 -ACM board member Tonya Kinlow, DC  Council member Vincent Orange and Dr. Marceé White at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -ACM board member Tonya Kinlow, DC Council member Vincent Orange and Dr. Marceé White at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

June 12, 2015 - MIstress of Ceremonies Maureen Bunyan chats with guests in teh silent auction area of the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – MIstress of Ceremonies Maureen Bunyan chats with guests in teh silent auction area of the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -The Commons area of the Smithsonian Castle houses cases of artifacts from many of the Smithsonian's museums and research center, and served as a dessert area at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -The Commons area of the Smithsonian Castle houses cases of artifacts from many of the Smithsonian’s museums and research center, and served as a dessert area at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 - Former Anacostia Community Museum employee Zora Felton with friends and family at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – Former Anacostia Community Museum employee Zora Felton with friends and family at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 - The band Phase II boogies down at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – The band Phase II boogies down at the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

Spouses of Smithsonian African Art Museum Director Johnetta Cole and Acting Secretary Al Horvath were clearly the MVP’s of the event, bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the dance floor.

June 12, 2015 - James D. Staton takes the dance floor with Charmaine Horvath during the  Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 – James D. Staton takes the dance floor with Charmaine Horvath during the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -Director Camille Akeju poses with members of Phase II the band during the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

June 12, 2015 -Director Camille Akeju poses with members of Phase II the band during the Anacostia Community Museum annual soiree held at the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Urban Waterways Newsletter Issue 4

Anacostia Boardwalk  Rendering courtesy of OMA + OLIN

Anacostia Boardwalk Rendering courtesy of OMA + OLIN

This issue explores the importance of community engagement in the creation of healthy, self-sustaining and equitable waterfront communities. Urban Waterways Newsletter Issue 4

 

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