"Lift Every Voice"
— Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —
"I used to come home every night, get a quarter from my mother, run to Griffith Stadium, and sit in the bleachers," Abe Pollin once said. "I would look out at these good seats and say, ?Some day, maybe I will get a good seat.' "When Pollin's MCI Center opened downtown in 1997, the respected real estate developer got himself - and gave his city - thousands of good seats.
Griffith Stadium occupied this block until it was razed in 1965. (Howard University Hospital opened here ten years later.) During the 1940s, Griffith crowds cheered batting superstar Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays, the Negro League team that won more games than any other hometown team. Here ace pitcher Walter Johnson led the all-White Washington Senators to their only World Series victory in 1924. While Griffith was one of DC's few public venues open to all during segregation, the races sat separately.
Griffith also hosted the Washington Redskins (1937-1961), student cadet competitions, Boy Scout jamborees, National Negro Opera Company performances, and mass baptisms conducted by Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, whose Church of God still stands just across Georgia Avenue. The charismatic Michaux organized affordable housing, had his own radio show, and served bargain meals at the Happy News Caf?.
In 1946 impresario David Rosenberg hired prominent African American architect Albert Cassell to design a music hall at 815 V Street. Soon after, Duke Ellington lent his name to a nightclub there. By 1952 WUST Radio occupied the facility, hosting evangelical broadcasts, jazz, and later, reggae and go-go concerts. After WUST moved to Virginia, the 9:30 Club relocated there from 930 F Street.
Homestead Grays power hitter Josh Gibson at bat. Library of Congress
Walter Johnson photographed in 1924, the year the Senators won it all. Library of Congress
High School Cadets participated in separate competitive drills at Griffith Stadium, 1940s. White cadets march [above], and a company from the "Colored" schools stands in formation [at left]. The Washington Post
* Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Elder Solomon Michaux's Church of God, 1949, across from Griffith Stadium. Upper right, a baptism begins at Griffith Stadium. Upper left, Elder Michaux welcomes diners in his Happy News Caf?, 1727 7th St., 1937. Library of Congress * Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History * Historical Society of Washington, DC.
WUST Radio DJ Steady Eddie was a Howard University senior and member of the Howard Players, 1952. The WUST building, far left, became the "9:30 Club" in 1996. The Washington Post * Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University