Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 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

On Becoming Trusted Partners

Arrington Dixon greets Dr. Charles Burrows as Josh Burch looks on.   Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Arrington Dixon greets Dr. Charles Burrows as Josh Burch looks on. Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

On Saturday, March 28th 2015, 30 panelists representing such organizations as Groundwork Anacostia River, The Anacostia Watershed SocietyThe District Department of the Environment,  The  Federal City Council , The University of the District of ColumbiaThe Louisville Waterfront Development, and LA’s The City Project gathered  at  Thurgood Marshall Academy  for a day- long symposium to address  the issues of: Education & Practice, Recreation & Environmentalism, Models in Grassroots Leadership, Collaboration TechniquesWaterfront Development, and Gentrification & New Urbanism.The gathering of environmentalists, community leaders, civic leaders, educators, scholars, and DC metro area residents was the culmination of one of the driving forces of the Urban Waterways Project whose primary goal is the exploration of the various relationships between urban rivers and the people living along their banks.

This emphasis on communities… people, proved to be a re-occurring theme throughout the day’s discussion. The very nature of water, a multi-dimensional element which touches past, present, and future, up-river, down-river, tourist and resident, Alexis Goggans of DC’s Office of Planning pointed out, requires us to reconsider how we envision the nature of cities.   Such visions can and should be driven by the needs of those living in areas which are the most impacted by issues surrounding the redevelopment of urban waterways and their environs.  Communities must appoint themselves as stewards, owning and taking the lead on issues in their own neighborhoods.  The cultivation of community ownership best takes place in an atmosphere of trust in which engaged residents, educated in the issues which impact their lives, have a sense of place. Irma Munoz of Mujeres de la Tierra describes this as a sense of integrity and who you are.  It is this sense of ownership and stewardship which allows communities to recognize and embrace their possible roles in the changes taking place along their waterfronts.

An attendee speaks during one of the sessions. Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
An attendee speaks during one of the sessions. Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

The power of residents’ ownership of such changes is reflected in the experiences of Louisville’s Waterfront Development Corporation which has recognized the importance of the inclusion of everyone from the beginning.  “Build interest, engage the media … each step of the way must have things that appeal to the public… this is of interest to you.”  The importance of such engagement was echoed by Baltimore Parks & People’s Lisa Schroeder who underscored the growing necessity of collaboration among the communities along urban rivers, as beleaguered cities have fewer resources to address all of the issues involved in creating and maintaining healthy, sustainable neighborhoods.  If riverfronts are to be the centers of public and community life, stakeholders must take a multi-disciplinary approach, with the understanding that the traditional attitudes of “healing”  communities from without doesn’t necessarily work  in all situations.

Raul Macias of LA's Anahuak Soccer Association speaks during a panel on Recreation and Environmentalism Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Dayana Molina of The City Project listens as Raul Macias of LA’s Anahuak Soccer Association speaks during a panel on Recreation and Environmentalism Courtesy Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

If collaboration between stakeholders and the inclusion of all stakeholders is the key to success, both panelists and attendees understand the importance of paying attention to who is being served, and who has been denied access to urban waterfronts. The distribution of resources must reflect the communities sharing their lives along urban rivers.  Polices are needed to provide a framework for change.  Cultures of stewardship need to be created and maintained. The discussions which took part at the Urban Waterways Symposium should serve as the start of ongoing conversations and collaborations.  The next practical step: getting people to the riverbanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Other images from the day.

Irma Munoz of Mujeres de la Tierra listens as Inez Robb of Baltimore's Watershed 263 Council responds to a question during the panel on Models in Grassroots Leadership. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Irma Munoz of Mujeres de la Tierra listens as Inez Robb of Baltimore’s Watershed 263 Council responds to a question during the panel on Models in Grassroots Leadership. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Alexis Goggans of DC's Office of Planning  takes part in a panel on Waterfront Development. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Alexis Goggans of DC’s Office of Planning takes part in a panel on Waterfront Development. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Former DC mayor Anthony Williams gives the keynote at the Urban Waterways Symposium. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Former DC mayor Anthony Williams gives the keynote at the Urban Waterways Symposium. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

 

Jim Foster of the Anacostia Watershed Society and fellow panelist Charles Burrows  of the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club and John Quail of Friends of the  Chicago River take part in a discussion of Education and Environmentalism. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Jim Foster of the Anacostia Watershed Society and fellow panelist Charles Burrows of the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club, John Quail of Friends of the Chicago River, and Christina Bradley of Baltimore Parks & People take part in a discussion of Education and Environmentalism. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Robert Garcia  of The City Project and Raul Macias of  the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Robert Garcia of The City Project and Raul Macias of the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Sabine O'Hara,University of the District of Columbia, moderates a panel on Collaborative Techniques. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Sabine O’Hara of UDC moderates a panel on Collaborative Techniques. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Urban Waterways PI Portia James converses with Dennis Chestnut of Groundwork Anacostia River. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Urban Waterways PI Portia James converses with Dennis Chestnut of Groundwork Anacostia River. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Leslie Fields of the Sierra Club listens to one of the day's sessions.  Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum
Leslie Fields of the Sierra Club listens to one of the day’s sessions. Susana Raab Anacostia Community Museum

 

Panelists at the end of an exciting day of discussion. From left, Dayana Molina of  The City Project, Raul Macias of  Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, Leslie Fields of The Sierra Club, Camille Akeju of ACM, Dennis Chestnut of Groundwork Anacostia River, DC, Irma Munoz of Mujeres de la Tierra, Derrick Evans of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, Vernice Miller-Travis of Skeo Solutions, Robert Garcia  of The City Project, and Dan Smith of  The Anacostia Watershed Society.  Courtesy of The City Project
Panelists at the end of an exciting day of discussion. From left, Dayana Molina of The City Project, Raul Macias of Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, Leslie Fields of The Sierra Club, Camille Akeju of ACM, Dennis Chestnut of Groundwork Anacostia River, DC, Irma Munoz of Mujeres de la Tierra, Derrick Evans of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, Vernice Miller-Travis of Skeo Solutions, Robert Garcia of The City Project, and Dan Smith of The Anacostia Watershed Society. Courtesy of The City Project

 

 

 

“Contrabands” African American Refugees in Washington During the Civil War

An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 enslaved African Americans fled from Virginia and Maryland to Washington during the Civil War. They were originally called “contrabands.” This was a term coined by the press after General Major General Benjamin Butler’s decision in 1861 to not return three fugitive slaves who had come to Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads in Virginia. Rather than sending them back to their owner—where they had been building a Confederate artillery position—Butler opted to hold them as contraband war loot. Ironically, this legal loophole allowed Union soldiers an opportunity to grant escaped slaves a type of freedom by continuing to treat them as property.

In Washington, these new arrivals were first thrown into jail by the city’s authorities and later taken under the care of the military and interned in a sequence of camps. Subjected to crowding and unsanitary conditions they were decimated by contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, smallpox, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and cholera. Infants died due to fevers, diarrhea, and convulsions.

Children often were separated from their families. Some of them were taken in by the military and served as servants for the officers. Others were sent to the Orphan Home located in Georgetown where conditions were as bad as they had been in the camps. Still others were hired out to people who promised to provide education, health care, housing and clothing in exchange for their service, but who, in some instances, mistreated them badly.

Out of these desperate circumstances emerged after the Civil War a population, often identified as “Freedmen,” who made their home in Washington determined to live a new life as free people. In 1860, the African American population of Washington was 14,316, by 1870 the number had raised to 35, 455, an increase of over 200%. These newcomers were the first wave that would make of Washington a majority African American city in mid-20th century.

Today, 150 years after the Civil War, Washington is changing again. Fast-paced gentrification, which has brought into the city a number of young, affluent residents of many ethnicities, has reversed the trend and Washington is no longer a majority African-American city.

 

 

 

 

African American refugees at Camp Brightwood
African American refugees at Camp Brightwood

Smithsonian 2015 Latino Museum Studies Program Seeking Applicants! Deadline April 17!

Scholars in Wards 7 & 8 and beyond: Please consider applying to the Smithsonian’s 2015 Latino Museum Studies Program.  The program seeks scholars and emerging leaders in the fields of Latino history, art, and culture. You can come to Anacostia and use our resources to broaden your understanding. More information can be found bellow or by visiting www.latino.si.edu.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Footsteps from North Brentwood

Brentwood30North Brentwood community member conducting tour of exhibition, 1996.  Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

Footsteps from North Brentwood, an exhibition which documented the growth and development of the first municipality in Prince Georges County, Maryland incorporated by African American citizens, opened on July 12, 1996 at the Anacostia Community Museum.  The show was developed by the museum in collaboration  with the North Brentwood Historical Society.  It included a collection of photographs, documents, and artifacts collected by the North Brentwood Historical Society over a three year period.  In addition, the exhibit featured oral history interviews with community members which speak to individual remembrances of growing up in North Brentwood.

Besides historical photographs and documents, Footsteps from North Brentwood exhibition records also contain portraits of community members taken by museum photographer.

 

It’s Our River

It’s Our River

Our cities and towns are situated along rivers and streams. Often these waterways mark the geographic boundaries and set the physical identity for the places where we live and work. We expect our rivers to be streams of fresh, flowing water. We look for natural beauty along the riversides, with birds wheeling overhead, fish swimming and jumping in the waters, and lovely flowers and trees along the riverbanks. We think our urban waterways will provide peace and solitude in the midst of our hectic daily lives in the already big—and in the still developing—cities that we call “home.”

It’s Our River.

We fish for perch and catfish and sometimes eat the fish, but most of the time we throw them back. We boat and paddle, in yachts, canoes, and kayaks, and we race in dragon boats and racing sculls. We go bird watching, and we seek out special flowers and orchids along the shore. We bike and hike and sit and meditate along the banks this river. The river calls us, and, guided by the river’s spirit, we commune with nature in the midst of urban hustle and bustle.

It’s Our River.

Dennis L. Chestnut, founding executive director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC, is a passionate advocate for education, nature conservation, and restoration of the Anacostia River. A mentor to young people in his Ward 7 northeast DC neighborhood and the region, Chestnut loves the outdoors and is a shining example of what one man of vision can inspire others to do. Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
Dennis L. Chestnut, founding executive director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC, is a passionate advocate for education, nature conservation, and restoration of the Anacostia River. A mentor to young people in his Ward 7 northeast DC neighborhood and the region, Chestnut loves the outdoors and is a shining example of what one man of vision can inspire others to do.
Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
David Saunders goes out early in the mornings on his days off to relax and fish for sport. An avid fisherman for more than 25 years, he often catches catfish (as well as rockfish in the Potomac), but he doesn’t eat them; he lets the fish go. Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
David Saunders goes out early in the mornings on his days off to relax and fish for sport. An avid fisherman for more than 25 years, he often catches catfish (as well as rockfish in the Potomac), but he doesn’t eat them; he lets the fish go.
Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
Charles “Bob” Martin has been an enthusiastic boatman since he was a boy. He built his first boat at age 12. The past commodore (leader) of the historic Seafarers Yacht Club in Washington, DC, Martin continues to inspire young people to love and respect the water and to take up boating.  Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
Charles “Bob” Martin has been an enthusiastic boatman since he was a boy. He built his first boat at age 12. The past commodore (leader) of the historic Seafarers Yacht Club in Washington, DC, Martin continues to inspire young people to love and respect the water and to take up boating.
Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
Xia Garner, as a third-grader at Maury Elementary School in northeast Washington, DC, and her classmates went to Kenilworth Park and Marsh to plant wild rice seedlings they grew in the classroom. The class participated in the Anacostia Watershed Society’s Rice Rangers program to help restore wetlands along the Anacostia River.  Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum
Xia Garner, as a third-grader at Maury Elementary School in northeast Washington, DC, and her classmates went to Kenilworth Park and Marsh to plant wild rice seedlings they grew in the classroom. The class participated in the Anacostia Watershed Society’s Rice Rangers program to help restore wetlands along the Anacostia River.
Photograph by Susana A. Raab, Anacostia Community Museum

 

 

 

Art & Culture Along the Anacostia – Festivals & Concerts

Festivals are wonderful ways to bring people together in celebration and recreation. While great strides had been made in cleaning up the Potomac River, then-Mayor Marion Barry saw the Anacostia River as the great social divide in Washington. In 1984 he inaugurated an annual river festival to get people from all walks of life to come down to the water and see the potential of the Washington riverfronts along the Potomac and the Anacostia.

Since that time, the river fest idea has evolved into the development of a park-like venue near the baseball stadium, “The Yards Park,” and a schedule that includes river clean-up celebrations, the Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival, and the Anacostia River Jazz Festival sponsored by the National Park Service. During the course of the year the Anacostia waterfront at the “Yards” plays host to numerous ethnic festivals such as the Global Nepal Fest and art shows and contests along the riverfront. All of these activities help the District celebrate in many ways the revitalization of the Anacostia River.

 

LUMEN8 Festival Photo Collage Photographs Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum, 2013
LUMEN8 Festival Photo Collage
Photographs Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum, 2013
Fat de Tour Bike Tour at Yards Park Photograph Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum, 2012
Fat de Tour Bike Tour at Yards Park
Photograph Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum, 2012
Poster for The Bluegrass & Folk Festival which takes place on Kingman Island
Poster for the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival

 

 

Boating in the Anacostia

Boating on the river has become increasingly popular. This recreational use provides a marvelous opportunity to learn respect for nature and the river and to value the river as a celebrated place. On the Anacostia, the Seafarers Yacht Club and the Capital Rowing Club have been instrumental in helping to develop public awareness of the Anacostia River as a place for kayaking, rowing, and pleasure-boating.

On summer evenings the Anacostia Community Boathouse is awash with dozens of groups of rowers, young and old, who come to test their mettle on the river. Local interest in canoeing on the Anacostia River brings people out in the late spring and summer to the Anacostia Watershed Society’s “Paddle Nights.” As anyone who has ventured forth on the river in a canoe will tell you, the Anacostia is a waterway of exceptional beauty teaming with birdlife and other animals.

Canoeing
The canoe has been a major medium of transport and commerce throughout human history. In North America native peoples, then European explorers, settlers, fur traders, and missionaries, used the canoe to carry goods and people far and wide in all kinds of weather and conditions.

Kayaking
Kayaking is a popular recreational exercise and sport. Participants paddle in closed deck boats as they sit forward and move the boat with a paddle that has a blade on each end.

Organization for Anacostia Rowing and Sculling (OARS)
Robert “Coach” Day began the Organization for Anacostia Rowing and Sculling (OARS) in 1988 to bring crew (rowing as a sport and recreation) to underserved teens from local high schools and at-risk youth along the Anacostia River. On the original site of OARS, ten (10) member rowing clubs and four (4) high school crews now call the Anacostia Community Boathouse home base.

Anacostia Invitational Regatta
In May 1992 OARS initiated the Anacostia Invitational Regatta; community activist Carl Cole made the banner and named the first single rowing scull donated to OARS. The scull is the Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, Sr., named for a former Anacostia resident, who was the third president of Tuskegee Institute (now University) and the uncle of local historian Dianne Dale.

Seafarers Yacht Club
Since 1945 the Seafarers Yacht Club has been an African American presence on the river. In addition to encouraging boating on the Anacostia, the club, considered the oldest black yacht club on the East Coast (if not in America), has been a pioneer in cleaning up 150 tons of debris along the river’s shore line. Seafarers also participate in community projects like financial aid to distressed flood victims and baskets of food for the poor at Christmas time.

Dragon Boat Paddle
DC Dragons, the adult dragon boat team of the National Capital Area Women’s Paddling Association, practices out of the Anacostia Community Boathouse on the Anacostia River. Dragon boat racing is an increasingly popular international sport, with 20 paddlers in 10 rows facing front, a drummer to set the pace, and a steersperson to navigate.

Sculling
Gabe Horchler, a law librarian at the Library of Congress, regularly commutes to work via the river: “Why not commute by boat, I thought . . . in less than one hour in my rowing shell? . . . March through November, my routine has been to bicycle from our home in Cheverly [Maryland] to the Bladensburg waterfront, row my boat to the Anacostia Community Boathouse adjacent to the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge, and then ride my second bike the 1.5 miles to the Library of Congress.”

Jon boat (or johnboat)
A jon boat is a small, flat-bottomed boat with square ends, made of aluminum or wood and suitable for use on calm bodies of water, especially on urban waterways. Jon boats are favored by fishermen and hunters.

Photograph; Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum 2013
Photograph; Corianne Setzer, Anacostia Community Museum 2013
Gabe Horchler, an employee at the LIbrary of Congress, begins his evening commute home to Bladensburg Waterfront Park via  the Anacostia Community Boathouse on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, DC.
Gabe Horchler, an employee at the LIbrary of Congress, begins his evening commute home to Bladensburg Waterfront Park via the Anacostia Community Boathouse on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, DC.

Section One  #36

Practicing with DC Dragons, a group of Dragon Boat Racers based out of the Anacostia Community Boathouse on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, DC.
Practicing with DC Dragons, a group of Dragon Boat Racers based out of the Anacostia Community Boathouse on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, DC.
Ryan Crowley, kayaks in his inflatable orange kayak along the Potomac River in Washington, DC.
Ryan Crowley, kayaks in his inflatable orange kayak along the Potomac River in Washington, DC.