Saturday, January 13, 2007

Remembering Dr. King and the Tragedy of Gun Violence

Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr, CEO & Founder of ROOT Inc. remembers Dr. King and comments on the tragedy of today's gun violence.

I was born and raised in northeast Washington , DC , in a section known as Trinidad . I grew up on Owen Place , a street between Montello Ave and Trinidad Ave, NE. My family moved to Owen Place in 1945, and, ironically, was the first African American family to move onto the block.

I attended Wilson elementary school on the corner of 6th and K St, NE. Wheatley Elementary is on the corner of Neal St. and Montello Ave, NE , within two blocks walking distance of my family home. Yet I had to catch a bus to go to Wilson Elementary over a mile from home and by pass Wheatley every morning.

As a child, I would wonder why but it was one of those mysteries not clearly defined by my family to me and it seemed as a child to be no big deal. My family was from the south and shielded the inequities of segregation and the evils of racism from my brother, my sister, and me. Racism and segregation was a part of everyday life accepted by families like mine from the south as part of their existence.

I remember being in the first integrated class of Wheatley when I entered the 5th grade and still was not totally aware of the segregated society that I had been a part of. I remember studying history and not really seeing or being able to identify with Black people, because all history at that time being taught consisted of the history of western civilization and culture or American (White) history. We leaned about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Davey Crockett and Wyatt Earp were big frontier heroes. Even God was a white man with a flowing white beard and hair to match, and Jesus Christ was a younger white man with a darker beard and long hair down to his shoulders.

I succinctly remember one black person being taught as being a hero during the American Revolution, and his name was Crispus Attacks. I remember wondering at the time what made him a hero and why was he singled out. He happened to be in a crowd of people that were shot by English soldiers and he happened to be black. I never could figure out what was heroic about that nor, at the time, did I understand the significance of why he, of all the heroic Black people throughout history, was singled out and given to us (Black children) as being a hero.

This naivety of thinking remained with me up until my high school years. I remember about a black lady refusing to give up her seat on a bus. I remember about sit-ins and protests, about Medgar Evars being murdered, about a bombing of a church, and civil rights workers being killed. Even with all that atrocity my most vivid memory is of a remarkable man, a preacher, who began to become prominent as a spokesperson against all of the evils entwined with bigotry, segregation, and racism. He spoke eloquently yet forcefully and firmly. He spoke with a gentleness of conviction, and his powerful message of non violent confrontation as a means of battling racism began to resonate throughout America.

He stood up for us as African Americans perhaps as no other before him. He was, to me, our savior, our Christ. He led marches and protests against racist and segregation against some of the vilest and most ruthless people in this county. He was beaten, stabbed, locked up, attacked by dogs, and water hosed. Yet he seemed to rise, larger than life, above it all.

And he became my first hero. He opened my eyes like no one before me had. I began to listen to his speeches, enthralled by his every word.

I remember this great man being able to call a march on Washington and give perhaps the most magnificent speech ever delivered in the history of mankind, with the entire nation as well as the entire world enthralled.

And most vividly I remember that fateful day in 1968 when an assassin's bullet bought to an end the incredible life of this wonderful, magnificent human being. I remember crying unabashedly and unashamedly as if it was my own father that had been murdered. My first thoughts were how could they do this to this great man?

Now today I keep his philosophy and teachings ever fresh in my mind. For we are in a struggle today as important as the struggles that surrounded us in the 1960's demanding our civil rights. Just as the assassination of this hero by a gun, my son was murdered due to gun violence. And, coincidentally, his birthday is January 17.

Death by gun violence is the number one epidemic facing our young men today and it is not being addressed by our nation politic, just as our civil rights were not being addressed prior to the 60's. We must have a call to action, like Dr. King's movement, to address the epidemic of violence, of gun violence, of homicides, and of increasing incidents of youth violence if we have any hopes of pursuing Dr. King's dreams as a nation.

Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr., MS
ROOT (Reaching Out to Others Together), Inc.
811 Florida Ave, NW Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 332-ROOT . Fax: (202) 332-8250
Toll Free: (866) 570-ROOT
Photo taken on 27 August 2006 in Washington DC during the ROOT Rally for Public Safety & Against Gun Violence. Though Mr. Barnes is of no relations to me I have supported his efforts at ROOT Inc.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday's Photo of the Week . 12 January 2007

National Mall WDC . Sunday, 7 January 2007

2007 MAL Weekend, 12 - 14 January

Entering its 37th year, the Leather Weekend celebration, which now includes two evening dances, a Leather Exhibit Hall, and many other exciting elements, coordinated by the men of the Centaur Motorcycle Club has been sustained by the Washington community, a multitude of Leather/Levi clubs, and supporters from all over the world.

Celebrated over Martin Luther Kings Birthday annually in WDC, the 2007 Leather Weekend takes place from Friday, 12th - Sunday, 14th January. As usual, registration, the main host hotel and exhibit halls are at the Washington Plaza Hotel. For information regarding events visit their website at Or click photo.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dear Mr. President: Send Even MORE Troops (and you go, too!) ...from Michael Moore

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Dear Mr. President,

Thanks for your address to the nation. It's good to know you still want to talk to us after how we behaved in November. Listen, can I be frank? Sending in 20,000 more troops just ain't gonna do the job. That will only bring the troop level back up to what it was last year. And we were losing the war last year! We've already had over a million troops serve some time in Iraq since 2003. Another few thousand is simply not enough to find those weapons of mass destruction! Er, I mean... bringing those responsible for 9/11 to justice! Um, scratch that. Try this -- BRING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST! YES!!!

Click photo to read more from Michael Moore's 10 January 2007 Letter to the President and blog posting.

Baltimore Magazine celebrates 100 years

100 years ago, the first issue of Baltimore rolled off the presses, making it the oldest continuously published city magazine in the continental U.S. According to Steve Geppi, Publisher of Baltimore, "Starting with the Janaury issue and continuing through the next 11 issues, we'll bring you anniversary perspectives that we think you'll find insightful, revealing, and uniquely Baltimore."

The Snuff Film

The Snuff Film
Originally uploaded by AnomalousNYC.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2007 Inductees

New York -- On Monday, 8 January 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced its inductees for 2007:

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (Kid Creole, Cowboy, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Mr. Ness, Raheim)

R.E.M. (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)

The Ronettes (Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, Nedra Talley)

Patti Smith

Van Halen (Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth)

The five inductees will be honored at a ceremony on March 12, 2007 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Presenters and performers at the induction will be announced in February, 2007. “We couldn’t be more proud to honor this unique, diverse group of rockers, rappers, singers and poets. This is what rock and roll is all about,” said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President and C.E.O., Joel Peresman. Read more.

The above photo of Patti Smith is from her latest book, Patti Smith Complete 1975-2006 - Lyrics, Reflections & Notes for the Future which features never-before-seen photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Liebovitz plus original artwork and text by Smith.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Friday evenings at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe

In commemoration of my new year I began 2007 with the launching of several new ongoing documentary projects. One of which is Friday Nights in WDC.

Though I usually will glance through AOL Digital City and DCist Out & About: Weekend Picks having recently been acquainted with the Downtown DC Newsletter and looking for something new and different in the new year, on Friday afternoon I'd find many weekend events that interested me in the 5 January 2007 Downtown Events Update.

As a first installment of Friday Nights in WDC I stopped in at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe. Where every Friday evening the Atrium Cafe at the National Museum of Natural History presents live jazz music from local musicians and features a full bar and savory dinners and desserts, provided by Guest Services.

On this particular evening, 5 January 2007, the seven-piece Afro Cuban jazz band, Afro Bop Alliance, performed latin jazz music while also recording a live DVD. See photos.

While the public is welcomed, in many cases, these events are gatherings for social groups as will be the case on Friday, 12 January 2007 when The Brooks Tegler Quartet is scheduled to perform at an event hosted by the My Friends & I: 40 + Cultural Arts Social Club.

To learn more about Brooks Tegler Quartet view his bio at the Starland Cafe which is where he performs.

To host a group event or party at the Smithsonian Jazz Café, please contact Jennifer Lee at (202) 275-2371.

The Smithsonian Jazz Cafe takes place on Friday evenings from 6 until 10 pm in the National Museum of Natural History Atrium Cafe. Which is located at Constitution Avenue and 10th Street, in NW, Washington DC. Admission is $10. Children under 12 are free.

Cash Bar: 5:30-10pm. Dining: 6-9:30pm. Shopping until 7:30pm.

Included in Friday Nights in WDC, if clicked, the above photo of the Afro Bop Alliance links to my ongoing Smithsonian Jazz Cafe project.

Capturing the times with historic images

The Downtown Update Newsletter dated 9 January 2007 reports that The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has posted historic images of the city's past on its website for all to see. See F Street Downtown as it was during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

DDOT's preservation efforts are a part of a history project sponsored by the DDOT Research and Technology Development Office with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). To view these photos, visit District Department of Transportation and click on "Transportation Planning & Research" then click on “Historical Photo Archives”.

For more information or if you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact William P. Carr, at or 202.671.1371.

One of the reasons that I photograph, the way that I do, is because I am quite confident that, years from now, my historic images will be regarded as an important documentation of our times.

Click above photo to visit Historical Photo Archives.

Monday, January 08, 2007

J18-03 Photos Never Before Seen

On Saturday, 18 January 2003, I would document one of the largest anti-war demonstrations to have marched through the streets of Washington DC. Which in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday proceeded from a morning rally on the National Mall along Independence and Pennsylvania avenues, pass the US Capitol, through Capitol Hill and down 8th and M streets to the Navy Yard. Though the organizers, A.N.S.W.E.R. International, estimated half a million, the Washington Post and other press rounded the figure closer to 200,000. Which, in any case exceeded the 100,000 who, on 26 October 2002, marched onto the White House.

Click photo to view J18-03 never before seen images which, the film negatives, were not processed until today, 8 January 2007. 2002 and more 2003 WDC MLK Day photos may be viewed at my 2005 MLK Day Commemoration photoessay.

WMATA 2007

Since the first snow of December 2005 and not unlike my recent Rush Hour project seldom, in the course of my travels, have not photographed my journey along the subway. As was the case when on Thursday evening, 4 January that I'd rush to the Washington Post Building's Auditorium at 1150 15th Street in Northwest for the first Blogger Summit. Only to realize, once I got there, that I was a day early.

On the way to the Washington Post several delays were experienced along the blue line, from L'enfant Plaza to McPherson Square. For example, the train was on hold for more than 10 minutes at the Smithsonian Station before preceeding to Federal Triangle. And once at Federal Triangle and Metro Center the same train waited longer than usual. Perhaps 5 minutes at each.

On my return trip home I would take a series of photos, including the above. Which when clicked links to my WMATA 2007 project. Previous projects include WMATA 2006 and WMATA.

In DCist's Transit on Thursday/Friday: Remainder's Edition it was stated that "the pickin's of new Metro-related photos in the DCist Flickr pool were pretty slim (hint, hint)."

Well, that may be true, but in recent months the photos that I tag as DCist which often includes WMATA photos never seem to appear in DCist Flickr Pool.

Hint. Hint!

Yellow/Green line WMATA TRACK WORK / Gallery Place photos taken @ 4:05 PM

This WMATA Track Work series photo was taken at 4:05 PM at the Gallery Place Station, lower level, during which time announcements were made over the intercom that trains going in both directions of the green and yellow lines were using only one track. Which was the opposite track. While there may not be any connection, we now know that a train derailment had occured minutes before, just one stop north, at the Mount Vernon - Convention Center Station at 3:45 PM.

When snapping these Men At Work and WMATA photos at 4:05 PM I (and perhaps no one at the Gallery Place Station) had knowledge of the Mount Vernon - Convention Center Station derailment.