Scratching the surface of Logan Circle

Dear President Trump,

It feels somewhat insane to be here in DC today just two days from when Hurricane Florence is set to hit the East Coast. Our VA Center of Excellence has a reverse site visit at Central Office to evaluate whether we are doing what the VA wants and whether our funding will continue. Thus, it was a command performance and we had to show up unless the powers that be decided to postpone, which they obviously didn’t. I was supposed to stay two nights but managed to get my return flight moved up so I leave tomorrow after the meeting.

I was kind of stir crazy so took a walk around Logan Circle after I got to the hotel and came upon a cool old church called Luther Place Memorial Church. It was built in 1873 as a memorial to peace and reconciliation after the Civil War. I didn’t go inside but apparently they have a pew dedicated to Grant and one dedicated to Lee. I wonder what kind of shape they are each in. Outside there is a larger than life-size statue of Martin Luther of Lutheran faith fame and in an alcove on one side of the building there is a painting of Martin Luther King Jr with a halo and the message “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.” On the other side of the church is another alcove with a painting of Dorothy Day with a halo and it says “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

In addition to Luther Place, the Circle is ringed with a host of historic places commemorating noteworthy African Americans like Mary McCleod Bethune (educator, humanitarian, civil rights activist), Charles M. “Sweet Daddy” Grace (minister, activist), and Belford and Marjorie Lawson (both were attorneys and civil rights activists and Marjorie was an advisor to President Kennedy and a circuit court judge). These were just the places I passed in a brief 30 minute walk where the gates were open and I could go up to the historical markers so there’s probably lots more right around there to know about. I know there’s no way you will ever venture out and take a real walk and check out where you live, but I wish you would. It’s such a good a way to connect with our rich collective history and we need you to connect with something real.

May we be safe from weather storms and civic storms.
May we be happy to wander around and take in new places.
May we have a healthy appreciation for our collective history.
May we pledge to keep marching in ways that are not easily dismissed.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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