civil_war_museumOn July 16, 2011 the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum will launch its Grand Opening celebration of the new and permanent site of the African American Civil War Museum. The Museum will host three days of commemorative activities from July 16 –18 at the new location at 1925 Vermont Avenue NW, directly across from the African American Civil War Monument.

The theme of the celebration is ‘Civil War to Civil Rights - the Path to Racial Healing. On the Saturday the first day, the keynote speaker will be U.S. Rep John Lewis (D-Ga.) for the Conference on Racial Reconciliation in America. On the next day, there will be an all day film festival on different aspects of Civil War to Civil Rights. There will be a ribbon cutting and reception on Monday, the final day where D.C, Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will be keynote speakers.

In 1992 the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation was incorporated and in 1998 Dr. Frank Smith and General Colin Powell lead the groundbreaking for the African American Civil War Memorial. In January 1999, the African American Civil War Museum opened to the public with photographs and documents helping visitors to understand the African American's heroic and largely unknown role in maintaining the Union and securing the blessing of liberty for all Americans. Today the new African American Civil War Museum showcases a new exhibit that reveals one of the best kept secrets in American history.  In 2007 the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum published a three volume set that lists the 209,145 names drawn from official records of the Bureau of US Colored Troops (USCT) at the National Archives. These names are engraved on the Wall of Honor at the African American Civil War Memorial.

The Executive director of the African American Civil War Museum is Frank Smith, Ph.D. who served four elected terms with the Washington District Council where he laid the basic groundwork to establish a national memorial for African American troops who served in the Civil War. The curator of the museum is Harry Jones. For more information, visit afroamcivilwar.org.

Susan_MashibeWorld Economic Forum has honored a Tanzanian woman, Susan Mashibe, Founder and Executive Director of Tanjet as a 2011 Young Global Leader (YGL). The honor, bestowed each year by the forum, recognizes up to 200 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2011 were chosen by a selection committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and comprised of respected international leaders from business, government and media.

marquisNorm Jenkins, NABHOOD board member and President, of Capstone Development, LLC, along with its development partner, Quadrangle Development, LLC broke ground on the long awaited Washington DC Marriott Marquis headquarter hotel on November 10, 2010.  The $540M, 1,175-room hotel is being developed adjacent to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  The hotel will include over 100KSF of meeting space, six food and beverage outlets, 400 parking spaces and will include an underground pedestrian connection to the convention center.  Here are a few of the project highlights:

* $540M public/private partnership
* 1175-rooms
* 110,000SF of meeting and banquet space
* 6 Food and Beverage outlets
* 400 onsite parking spaces
* LEED Certified building
* 1 of 3 Marriott Marquis properties in the world
* First Marquis development in 25+ years
* significant job creation (construction and permanent) for local residents

This highly anticipated deal will be one of the most significant hotel transactions of 2010, and after its 42-month construction period, will be the largest hotel in Washington.  The Marriott Marquis also promises to make its mark on the local economy by creating new jobs for DC residents. The project is also expected to spur other redevelopment projects for the continued economic revitalization of the historic Shaw neighborhood, which the Convention Center calls home.

About Capstone

Capstone Development is a Washington, DC based commercial real estate development and acquisition company. It targets urban, high barrier markets and seek to control all facets of the underlying asset. Targeted asset classes consist of nationally branded hotels and mixed use assets located near transportation hubs and/or multiple demand generators.  Its primary investment focus is centered on the top 25 metropolitan areas in the United States, and uses private equity to fund  projects.  Capstone has two affiliated companies, Capstone Management Services and Capstone Procurement Services.

jenkinsThe founder of Capstone is Norman K. Jenkins.  Mr. Jenkins is a 20-year hospitality veteran, having held management and executive roles at McDonald’s Corporation and Marriott International.  While at Marriott, Jenkins was a corporate officer and served as Senior Vice President, North American Development.  Jenkins other executive roles include, Vice President & CFO, Ramada International, Vice President, Global Operations, Ramada International, and Vice President, Owner & Franchise Services.  Mr. Jenkins is a frequent industry conference speaker and serves on numerous boards.  Mr. Jenkins holds a BA from Howard University, an MBA from George Washington University and is a CPA. Mr. Jenkins resides in suburban Washington, DC with his wife and two children.

katrinaNEW ORLEANS – The room is lit by flashlights, an escape hole chopped in the roof with an ax lying nearby. Steps away, rising floodwaters seep down a levee wall; across the way, a storm diary written in black felt marker on a housing project wall bears testimony to the hellish days after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Those items and more from the monster hurricane that battered New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,600 people, are part of a stunning new exhibit opening Oct. 26 at the Louisiana State Museum — "Living with Hurricanes, Katrina & Beyond."

  The $7.5 million exhibit at New Orleans' French Quarter museum recounts tales of the 2005 hurricane, its chaotic aftermath and recovery. It also explores lessons Katrina taught, and the science and technology arising since to counter future storms.

"We see this as a game-changer for the museum," said its director, Sam Rykels, who came up with the idea for the show days after Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005. "We had become a somewhat staid museum, but no more."

Galleries and connecting areas move visitors through four major presentations: New Orleans' relationship to storms; firsthand accounts of people and predicaments of survival they found themselves in; a forensics gallery exploring the paths Katrina and Hurricane Rita took that year and the science of how the levees failed; and a final section on recovery and the technologies emerging since to combat the destructive forces of nature.

Bermuda’s late Minister of Tourism Davis Allen Honored during conference ceremony.

diaspora-1-23_wmA dedication ceremony erecting a plaque in memory of the late tourism Minister David Allen was a part of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 African Diaspora Heritage Trails (ADHT) Conference in Bermuda last month. Allen was the creator of the idea to establish an African Diaspora Heritage Trail in Bermuda, in hopes that this initiative would be invigorated within the African Diaspora around the world. Allen was honored with a tribute plaque in Bermuda’s St. George Square as the founder of the ADHT initiative and conferences.

At the unveiling ceremony, Bermuda’s Premier Dr. Ewart Brown said that Allen was a champion for social justice, equality and opportunity. “David could have stayed out of politics like many Bermudians do, but he was a visionary that sometimes saw things that were good for Bermuda that others weren't ready to grasp. He was courageous, a white man that united with his country to tear down institutionalized racism and unearned privilege."

david_Allen-165x267Dame Jennifer Smith, Chairman of African Diaspora Foundation in Bermuda, recalled how Allen was an avid traveler who saw first-hand the self-negating effects of colonialism and racism. “He joined the Progressive Labour Party and became actively involved in bringing about social and economic change in Bermuda,” said Dame Jennifer.

Throughout his lifetime, Minister Allen worked to remove the barriers between peoples and the borders between countries. Allen was not only interested in the countries he visited, but also in the culture of the people. During his travels throughout Africa, Allen often reflected on the shared bonds between Bermuda and Africa.

Through ADHT, Allen had the idea of creating a tourism product designed to appeal to a distinguished market segment seeking a culturally enriched vacation experience in regards to learning about the people and places of the African Diaspora. The ADHT conference has become a central forum for people of the African Diaspora worldwide to connect and share stories of heritage, arts, culture, history and the slave trade. The ADHT initiative is an ongoing work in progress and will always continue and develop as unique historical information is discovered and documented.


Top and Bottom photo courtesy of Bermnews.com
Middle, ADT Editor Kitty Pope with the late David Allen

Afro –Germans in Film

The rough estimate of about 500,000 blacks living in Germany is a vibrant community with a long history that is often overlooked. Referred to as Afrodeutsche (Afro-Germans), these people still struggle to be accepted as most people generally think of Germans as being all white.

People of African descent who live in Germany today have several different origins. Some are the children and grandchildren of Africans who emigrated from former German colonies in the early 20th century. Many Africans originally came as exchange students and workers to the former East Germany from then-communist countries such as Mozambique and still live in Germany today. Some Afro-Germans are the off-springs of US African-American soldiers in Germany during the post-World War II occupation, the Cold War and more recent military assignments. Still many blacks in Germany are simply immigrants and their descendants who moved here from different parts of Africa.  

slave_portraitThe National Portrait Gallery has launched a campaign to stop the export of the earliest known British oil painting of a freed slave.

It needs to raise £100,000 to save the 1733 portrait of Gambian Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, by artist William Hoare.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund and the NPG will all contribute to the total cost, which is £555,000.

The portrait, which has never been seen in public, has temporarily gone on show at the London gallery.

Robert_SmallsWith tour dates to include museums, universities, and historical sites around the country, "The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls Traveling Exhibit” is now at the Museum of African American History (MAAH) in Boston where it will be until September 20th. The traveling exhibit features multi-dimensional artifacts, pictures and other memorabilia of Robert Smalls, his life and his family. 

Other bookings have already been made in South Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and Georgia.  Robert Smalls was the first African-American hero of the Civil War who was later appointed to the rank of Major General in the South Carolina Militia during the Reconstruction period.

Robert Smalls and three other enslaved men escaped captivity in a courageous and well planned action during the Civil War. Smalls escaped to freedom when he commandeered a Confederate ship, the Planter, in Charleston Harbor posing as the ship's captain with his crew.



The Elegba Folklore Society, the cultural ambassador for Richmond presented Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration 2010 on June 19.  Beginning at 3 pm, this commemoration of Juneteenth National Freedom Day featured a full palette of performers and speakers doing African world music, songs, and stories of the African Diaspora.  The event included an African dance class, panel discussions, ceremonies, performances and the Freedom Market featuring food, art and imports along with special engagement for children.  

Dr. Shawn O. Utsey, who chairs the African American studies department at Virginia Commonwealth University was a keynote speaker.  Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration welcomed international guests, His Excellency, Daniel Ohene Agyekum of the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in Washington, DC and enstooled Ashanti priest, Nana Kwabena Faheem Ashanti.

nelson_stadium“We are in the year now when we, in South Africa, will host the first World Cup in Africa. Imagine what that does to the morale, the self-esteem of people. When we saw the way the world looked up to Nelson Mandela, we grew two inches. When we see how the World Cup is going to make us gel as a nation, we shall grow more than two inches.”  (Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu to an audience of 500 people near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, July 2009)




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