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March 31, 1999

Moving to Anacostia

Dear Movers (and Shakers):

In early March 1999, Mayor Tony Williams announced that he wants to move the University of the District of Columbia from Connecticut Avenue in northwest Washington to Anacostia. In late March 1999, Williams announced that he wants to move Duke Ellington School of the Arts from Georgetown in northwest Washington to Anacostia. In April 1999, Williams will announce that he wants to move the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department from the Municipal Building in Judiciary Square to Anacostia. In May 1999, Williams will announce that he wants to dismantle the John A. Wilson District Building on Pennsylvania Avenue brick by brick and reconstruct it in Anacostia. At that point, radio commentator Mark Plotkin will announce that he is sponsoring an initiative movement to change the name of the city from Washington, District of Columbia, to Anacostia, District of Columbia.

Gary Imhoff


UDC and ... Brooklyn Tech??
Harold Goldstein,

Ed Barron suggests that UDC be remolded in his image; one “that will provide opportunities for our high school graduates to develop some real skills that are in demand in today's marketplace.” Once again this totally misses the boat. Graduates of the DC public school system are not ready for a school that will do all of the above, and by remolding a University into a glorified technical school that will finish the job the DCPS system is supposed to do is no favor to anyone, least of all the kids who are the real victims of all this political voodoo.

The public schools are a disgrace and that is the root of our problem. UDC can't work as it should until that disgrace has been addressed. And building a new “Brooklyn Tech” is no solution either. That would only drain the talent from the rest of the system; no, we've got to really get tough on standards and drive the system from within. UDC could have been a part of that solution but it has been emasculated and has become almost irrelevant; clearly a view the mayor finds pleasing.

Brooklyn Tech (of which I am a graduate) is also a poor example since it is a case of a formerly great High School that was 1/2 vocational and 1/2 college prep that became a failure when standards disintegrated and came back when standards were re-created. Here in DC we have no standards and that must come first.


The District’s Native Roots
Mark Richards, , Dupont East

When Captain John Smith first visited this area in 1608, it was inhabited by “Indian” tribes, most part of the Piscataway confederacy. The natives were traders and had routes as far away as Canada. The name Potomac in the Algonkin language means a place where something is bought, or trading place. It appears that the early explorers thought the people from the village of Potomac said the river was called Potomac and called it that since. Most tribes belonged to the Algonquian linguistic family, described by one linguist as “tiny imagist poems.” The language distinguishes between animate and inanimate categories. Inhabitants usually spoke more than one dialect, few of which exist today.

Nacotchtanke, the main settlement in the District, was the residence of a chief and 80 warriors. Smith wrote that “the people did their best to content us.” In 1642, Jesuit missionaries baptized the chief and others of the tribe. They latinized the name as Anacostan, now Anacostia. Under the Cromwell government, Catholicism was outlawed and the Piscataway mission closed. The Piscataway were increasingly driven from their lands and plantations by settlers, their cattle and hogs and hunted by slave-catchers. They were killed by smallpox and other imported diseases and raided by the Susquehanna tribes to the north, while forbidden to own guns. In 1666, they addressed a petition to the Maryland assembly: “We can flee no further. Let us know where to live, and how to be secured for the future from the hogs and cattle.” Reservations were established for twelve villages, but encroachments continued. In 1697, their numbers reduced from thousands to hundreds, they fled.

There was a Patowomeke village located in the valley on the eastern side of the Anacostia (Benning). The principal part of the village is thought to have been almost due east of the U.S. Capitol, while a smaller village was located south of the Capitol between 1st and 2nd Sts., SE. Anthropologists found “inexhaustible” supplies of relics at Chain Bridge, at Piney Branch “just beyond the village of Mt. Pleasant,” and at Rose Hill “near Tennalytown.” The quantity of material indicates “a long continued occupancy.” Estimates indicate there are over 7,000 people of Piscataway descent living, many concentrated in Prince Georges, Prince Charles, and St. Mary's counties. It seems there is a Piscataway Indian Nation at Port Tobacco. Also, there are many urban Indians from hundreds of tribes living amongst us in D.C. I have an friend from a Wisconsin Indian Nation; people think he's Asian. Anyone know where the monuments are that honor D.C.'s indigenous roots?


Mayors of Washington City — Correction
Mark Richards, , Dupont East

In my last posting, I said I thought the Washington City mayors between 1812-1870 were elected by the City Council. That was the case between 1812-1820, but in 1820 the charter was revised so that the mayors were chosen by popular vote of white male property owners. I've prepared several one page handouts that are available by request (E-mail): Washington City Mayors, History of Local Govt. in DC, DC Neighborhoods, US Public Opinion on DC Voting Rights, and Democracy in DC Poster. Also available, an unpublished article comparing governance in DC and Paris.


Reference to a Reference Web Site
Matthew Gilmore,

Just so everyone knows, a list of all the former mayors of DC, along with a list of all the commissioners, can also be found on our web site: under “frequently asked questions.”


Amidou and Pap
Evan Roth,

Can anyone help me? I'd like some help from the kind souls who subscribe to themail. I'm currently living in France and so I can't do this myself: Some of you may know the men who set up a flower stand in Cleveland Park, by the Uptown Theater. They are Amidou and Pap. I'd like to get in touch with them. Amidou was manning a flower stand at 19th and L when I saw him last November. Pap was working at the Starbucks on Wisconsin Ave. in Cleveland Park. If anyone sees either one, could you ask them to contact me by e-mail, if they have access to the Internet. Just tell them Evan, who spoke French with them, wants to say hello. Tell them I'm having a great time. Thanks.



Presentation and Conversation on Research on Testing and Urban Students
Lynda Tredway,

Clifford Hill from Teachers College, Columbia, will share his national research on testing and urban students (particularly as it applies to fourth graders in his NYC study). He is currently a research fellow at the US Department of Education, OERI. I met Dr. Hill at the Teaching for Intelligence conference last year in NYC and was impressed by his research and understanding of testing, the kinds of tests that do or do not make a difference for students in urban contexts, and his understanding of how technology could be used for different kinds of testing.

The talk and conversation will be on Wednesday, April 7, 1999, 4-6 pm, at George Washington University, Monroe Hall, on G Street NW between 21st and 22nd (next to the fire station), Room 102. RSVP, or for more information, to


Free China Movement
Tim Cooper,

On April 1st, between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm, Democracy First, the Free China Movement, and a host of other organizations in Washington, D.C., are sponsoring the First Annual Democracy “Freedom Spring” World Candlelight Vigil at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. The vigil is supporting democracy in China, full democracy for the people of Washington, D.C., and the end of religious persecution in Tibet. Vigils will also be taking place simultaneously in 7 other cities around the world, including San Francisco, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Paris, France; Bonn, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; London, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Sydney, Australia.

Come stand up for democracy in China, full democracy in Washington, D.C., and call for the end of religious persecution in Tibet! April 1, 1999, 5:30-7:00 pm, Chinese Embassy, 2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. For further information, please call Timothy Cooper, 202/244-9479.


Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Spring Clean Up and Party
Ann Bond,

On April 24, volunteer an hour or so to help paint, clean, garden or generally beautify the building during the day, and at night, party with New Orleans music and jambalaya, a raffle, a silent auction, and many great prizes — everybody WINS. CHAW offers instruction in fine arts, performing arts, visual arts and more. It brings the arts to people of all ages and backgrounds, offering scholarships to those who can't pay. Please volunteer to help on April 24: email Ann Bond at or phone (202) 544-7272.


Tasting Society International April 1999 Calendar of Events
Charlie Adler, wine@TASTEDC.COM

1) April 6th — Spring Wine Xtravaganza — 100+ Wines!, Sponsored by Fresh Fields of Georgetown and Arlington, 7-9 p.m., Galleria at Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st St., NW, $35, in advance, $45 at door if available, 100 different wines to taste, Mediterranean food samplings from Fresh Fields, order wines on sale: bottles 10% off, cases 15% off; 2) April 21st — Wine Basics 101, with Michael Franz, wine columnist for the Washington Post, 7-9 p.m., Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P St., NW, $35, learn the basics — how to match wine and food, differences in grape varieties, how to purchase and order wine, and more! 3) Save the Date: May 19th: Embassy of Switzerland Wine Tasting with Michael Franz. Reservations: RSVP at (202) 333-5588 or email:  or the Reservation Form at our Web Page at



Travel Specialist
Patti Absher, Great Travels, Inc.,

Exciting position, part-time or full-time, in travel consulting, at the congenial Chevy Chase/Connecticut office of Great Travels, Inc. Consult and plan individual tours and group tours for Italy. Travel agent experience preferred but will consider anyone with the basic qualifications — knowledge and experience of Italy, well organized, good telephone presence, meticulous with details and record keeping. See web site, Please email or fax (202 966-6972) resume.


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
The School Board's Transition Game: School board President Wilma Harvey misses her car and driver. Lacking a car of her own, Harvey — who joined the board in 1986 — once relied on the school board's personal transit system to shuffle her to meetings at far-off schools that lay beyond the reach of Metro.
“It's impossible to get [to many schools] by public transportation,” says Harvey. “You may be able to get there by cab, but you can't get out.” When the control board in November 1996 seized control of the D.C. public schools and reduced the school board to an advisory body, however, it zeroed out funding for this precious school board perk.
Now Harvey wants it restored. In a letter outlining the school board's position on the eventual return of its oversight powers, Harvey pressed control board education czar Constance Newman on the “transportation” issue.
“I find nothing wrong with transportation being provided to board members,” says Harvey. “I find nothing wrong with that.”
Her fellow board members did. “All ten of us jumped up and down on her over this,” said a school board member.
Read the entire Loose Lips column this Friday at:

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
Thursday, April 8: A.S. Byatt, reads from and signs copies of Elementals at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Saturday, April 3: Japanese dancer Shizumi interprets traditional Asian literature, theater and dance for Western audiences. At 1 and 3 p.m. (the later performance is sign-interpreted) at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab. $10.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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