Eastcoast Trek v2019 – A Recap


The District of Columbia was created by Charles L'Enfant and it's famous quadrant layout was completed by Benjamin Banneker, noted African-American scientist and city planner

trek

/trek/

verb

gerund or present participle: trekking

  1. go on a long arduous journey, typically on foot.

Our 2019 EastCoast Trekkers. Maryum Robinson (my aunt), Willie Cravins, Del Huff, FT3, Judith, Renie

We just completed our EastCoast v2019 trek.  It is called “EastCoast” because we normally cover the states of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  This year we were gifted with five days and decided to spend it all in D.C.  Trekking is not for the weary or those not flexible or those needing lots of pampering.  Indeed it is a vacation but not the kind that you might imagine.  It is better!!!!  Trekking requires you to get off your butt or comfort zone, immerse yourself and explore.  Normally trekking requires a commitment to public transportation (the Metro) and some good old-fashioned walking.  For our 2019 version we included some Uber/Lfyt and even got snakebit taking a taxi.

If someone had told our crew before they made the journey the trek would require walking 20-25 miles……..Judith and I would have been by ourselves.

In addition to Judith and myself, we were joined by our good friend Del Huff, her friend Willie Cravins, who is now considered family and of course my aunt Maryum, who over the years has elevating her trekking skills and ranks with the best.  In 2012 when the long-awaited MLK Memorial was completed and ready for unvieling, Hurricane Irene had other plans.  Through that incident I was blessed to meet Renie Hale…….at all places, Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Since then he has joined our family and from his perch in Laurel Maryland always fits in to round out those making the journey.  He has been an active participant ever since then.

What’s so special about the EastCoast or DC?

Our commitment to HBCU’s

Judith and I first visited DC in 2005 as we were exploring Howard University where our son, Fred IV wanted to attend (He eventually decided on Bethune Cookman University).

DC is a city full of national history.  Ever since then we have annual visits centered around the last week of August, which coincided with the historic March on Washington which was August 28th.   It is our gesture to pay homage and reflect on a small piece of our heritage.

Original March on Washington Button

The Foodie Craze

Each trek has offered a different blessing.  Starting in 2010 as the foodie craze became popular, we added a foodie excursion to our agenda.  In 2019 we were not disappointed as in five days we covered ALL quadrants that DC had offer.

Managing the NMAAHC

Fortunate enough to attend the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture which happened to be President Obama’s last official event ceremony we have tried to warn folk on how to manager their experience to the museum.  YOU CANNOT DO THE FULL MUSEUM IN ONE DAY, that is if you are truly serious about absorbing the history!  This year we carefully planned our trek to include three visits to the museum.  The plan payed off.

A Rarity at NMAAHC

The National Museum of African-American History & Culture runs smooth like a fine-tuned machine.  Call it intuition, luck or just plain blessed but I knew there was a reason we were lucky to have tickets to the museum for three days during our trek?

Saturday’s are the busiest time for the museum.  Having arrived early for our 12 pm tickets we noticed a line but that is not out of the ordinary.   Shortly thereafter, I met the customer service extraordinaire Seymour who was part of staff and had been dispatched to deal with the folk waiting to get into the museum.  Seymour had the responsibility to tell folk, the museum would be CLOSED FOR THE DAY, due to some type of power issue.  For us it wasn’t that big of a deal as one down, two to go.  Po’ Seymour was mortified in explaining to folk who had made financial and personal sacrifices for THAT DAY that they would not be getting into the museum.   Anyway, the issue was resolved and the museum promptly opened up on Sunday.  Hats off to Seymour as somebody had to communicate with the crowd and he did a remarkable job.

Photos and Media

Finally, as you can imagine, a trek is not complete without lots of photos and documentation.  We split our media into categories for easier consumption.  Simply click on the link and you will be directed to the appropriate page.

EASTCOAST TREK V2019 HISTORICAL PLACES

EASTCOAST TREK V2019 PEOPLE & PLACES

EASTCOAST TREK V2019 FOODIE EXCURSION

EASTCOAST TREK V2019 GOODMAN LEAGUE

God willing EastCoast Trek v2020 is right around the corner and we look forward to sharing another journey with you.

EastCoast Trek v2018 – District of Columbia


Approximately ten years ago we were able to adjust our schedule to allow for a trek to D.C.  We picked the last week in August to commemorate and pay homage to the March on Washington.  Each trek allows us to visit usual sites and reconnect with friends and over the years we seek out new venues to add to our journey.  During our 2018 five-day stay here are several of the sites we visited.


March on Washington Commemoration

 

Commemorative March on Washington button used as fund-raiser to generate funding for march operations

Even though the original event was held at the Lincoln Memorial, ever since the MLK memorial was erected activities have shifted there.


Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture

The NMAAHC continues to be a jewel at the national mall.  This year our focus was visiting the new Oprah Winfrey exhibit as well as witness the musical rendition commemorating the murder of Emmett Till.

The Obama’s

We added to new venue to this year’s trek; seeing the portraits of President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the National Portrait Gallery

The Obama’s left the White House in January 2017, so this year we added a visit to see their new residence.  Due to high security you will not be able to walk down the street but it is located in the Northwest section of the District.  The street on Belmont Road is one way and barricaded.   If you are familiar with the Dupont Circle neighborhood, it is northwest (lots of embassies and larger properties).  Of course, there is secret service on watch to ensure privacy


Anacostia

Anacostia is located in what is known as Southeast.  The Anacostia river separates the main part of the District and this area.  Many who visit the District miss visiting this community for various reasons.  No doubt, it has been stigmatized due to poverty and other elements which foster negativity.  But, for those who truly seek hidden jewels, even that will not stop them for trekking through the community.

 

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum has an outstanding exhibit to help you better understand how communities all over the District were transformed following de-segregation.


Barry Farms is a historic part of Anacostia where African-Americans took up residence.  Although much of the community has fallen on hard times and you can see some tough images or extreme poverty, there are still many historic sites you can see.  Similar to many communities scattered throughout the United States the community is made up of regular hard-working, law abiding folk.   The biggest issue is feeling safe as you venture throughout the community, so while people are people it is not the type of place you just wander about without precautions or maintaining common-sense.

 

Inside the Barry Farms community is the legendary Goodman leagues outdoor basketball complex.  It is world-renowned for its fierce competition featuring some of the best hoop action in the region.  Many professional basketball players (those currently playing or those retired or no longer playing) make this a regular stop to mix-it up with regular neighborhood stars.  The complex is a testament of how committed people focus on positive attributes to create sacred zones that many communities would love to have.