Huddie William Ledbetter (January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949), better known as Lead Belly, was a legendary folk and blues musician known for his virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, powerful vocals and the huge catalog of folk standards he introduced. Inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, artists from Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin to Nirvana and the White Stripes have covered his songs and recognized his musical influence.
Somewhat less remembered, even locally, is Lead Belly's "Bourgeois Blues," a song written about his first visit to Washington, D.C. in 1937 — an incisive indictment of the city’s racial segregation conveyed in 3 minutes of rippling 12-string blues.
If Cupid strikes you in the heart today, you might decide to take a trip to a Las Vegas wedding chapel or your local courthouse for a quick wedding. If you wanted to get married in a hurry in the 1930s, however, there was only one place to go: Elkton, Maryland just inside the Delaware border.
So we beat on, boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
And with those beautiful words, one of the greatest American novels comes to a close. Most of you probably read The Great Gatsby at some point in school, but did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald has a local connection?
Indeed he did -- and a somewhat controversial one at that!
Repeal Day, December 5, 1933, was a day of wild celebration. The 18th Amendment was repealed, ending the great experiment known as Prohibition. Booze could finally start flowing again (legally) across the country and Americans were eager to imbibe. But, as kegs were tapped and bottles were uncorked from coast to coast, one place was left out of the party: Washington, D.C.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Redskins will play the Cowboys at colossal Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. With a seating capacity of up to 100,000, a retractable roof, and a 60 yard-long HD video board amongst other amenities, the stadium is something to behold.
But, when it comes to innovative stadium designs, the Cowboys have nothing on former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall.
Think the impacts of the Dust Bowl were only felt in the Great Plains? Think again. In the spring of 1935, a dust storm nearly blocked out the sun above Washington, alarming local citizens and spurring Congress to take action on soil erosion policy.
WETA Television and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are community-based public broadcasting stations serving the Washington area and supported by listeners and viewers. WETA is also a major producing station for PBS.