Years after the 1931 federal conviction for tax evasion that put Al "Scarface" Capone in prison and ended his career as Chicago's most feared mobster, he was known to complain bitterly about the man whose vendetta, in Capone's view, had put him behind bars. "That bastard Hoover," Capone would rant. But he suprisingly, he wasn't talking about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who, despite his heavily-hyped reputation as a gangster nemesis, had little to do with Capone's demise.
Instead, Capone saw his true mortal enemy as President Herbert Hoover. And unlike most of the people who harbor grudges against Presidents, Capone actually was right.
In the 1950s, Washington seems to have been a popular destination for UFOs, both actual ones and cinematic. Two popular science fiction movies, 1951'sThe Day the Earth Stood Still and 1956's Earth Vs the Flying Saucers, depicted alien spacecraft arriving in the nation's capital, to the consternation of both residents and the government. But those close encounters may have seemed a bit more plausible, given that the Washington area also was the scene of one of the most celebrated real-life UFO incidents ever--one that still intrigues those who ponder the possiblity of extraterrestrial visits to Earth.
Posted by Claudia Swain | Wednesday, July 16, 2014
When John Tayloe III was looking to build a winter home, his personal friend George Washington suggested the District. Tayloe commissioned William Thornton, who designed the Capitol building. Thornton designed a structure, costing $13,000, which fit neatly into the triangle lot it was situated on at 18th St. and New York Ave.
The layout of the building is quite imaginative, but today the house is not just known forits architecture. It's also known for the spirits that are said to linger on in the residence.
Today, soccer finally is a big enough deal in Washington that DC council is considering a proposed $119 million deal to acquire land at Buzzard Point for a new stadium for DC United, the district's team in Major League Soccer. The franchise has been playing since 1996 at antiquated RFK Stadium, which will turn 43 years old in the fall. But RFK always will have a storied place in local soccer history. In addition to serving as one of the host sites for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, it also was the home of a string of teams from the 1960s through the 1980s — forgotten names such as the Whips, the Darts, the Washington Diplomats, and Team America — who unsuccessfully tried to establish the sport here.
Of those ill-fated franchises, the most long-lived was the original Washington Diplomats, who played in the now-defunct North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1980.
Lloyd Cosby remembers standing on the plaza at Arlington Cemetery, inspecting a guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, when an elderly woman approached him. “Are the guards here at night?” she asked.
It was the late 1950s, during the year and seven months that Cosby served as the Tomb guards’ platoon leader. Later that day, the woman would tell Cosby about her son who had died at war, but had never been identified. The Tomb of the Unknowns was the only place she could come to pay her respects.
“Yes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Cosby told her. “Every second of every minute of every day.”
Posted by Phillip Jackson | Thursday, June 26, 2014
In 1964, SNCC focused efforts on black voter registration and education in Mississippi, which had the lowest percentage of African-Americans registered to vote in the country (a startling 6.7% as of 1962). The group recruited hundreds of volunteers from college campuses across the nation to come to the state to canvass.
The 1964 Freedom Summer movement in Mississippi does not generally conjure up images of the nation’s capital. But a few of the organizers had strong ties to the District.
This year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil already has produced some exciting matches. But one of the most thrilling goals in World Cup history actually was scored at Washington's RFK Stadium back in 1994, when the U.S. hosted the global tournament for the first time ever.
Shortly after 1pm on June 9, 1960 a biracial contingent of college students entered the People’s Drug Store at Lee Highway and Old Dominion Dr. in Arlington and requested service at the store’s lunch counter. Less than a mile away, a similar group sat down at the counter at the Cherrydale Drug Fair.
Both lunch counters promptly closed.
Still, the students did not move. In fact, they remained seated for hours, calmly reading books and Bibles until well after dark, in protest of the stores’ refusal to serve African American patrons at their lunch counters.
It was a long wait for sculptors and local politicians.
Since 2008, a seven-foot tall, 1,700 pound bronze statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass stood in the lobby of a building called One Judiciary Square. It remained there for five years while Washington officials fought to move it to another building less than a mile down the road: the U.S. Capitol.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the unveiling of Douglass’ statue in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall. The ceremony was the culmination of a fight spanning over a decade.
Posted by Phillip Jackson | Thursday, June 19, 2014
The court was closed off to students like it always was after basketball season was over. A sign over the floor read “Keep Off” and there was a still darkness inside of Cole Field House.
Students sat quietly in the top rows of the yellow seats in the arena, thinking, wondering. While some stared down at the court with wide eyes, others leaned back in their seats with their eyes closed.
Raw emotion spread across the arena as they came to remember the Maryland Terrapin legend, Len Bias.
Just a few days before, Bias had been on top of the world, the second pick in the NBA draft by the famed Boston Celtics.
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