Excepts from Profiles
of Elderly Participants
is a retired teacher, and Little League and Boy’s Club coach. He currently
is a trustee for his church, Ward Memorial A.M.E. A native of Washington,
D.C., he has been married for forty-three years to his wife, Aretha, and
has three children and three grandchildren.
He wasn’t always that confident or accomplished. When Frizzell was in high school he was faced with a situation that would have a big impact on his life. His own counselor told him that he was too dumb to make it to college. Frizzell refused to allow those cruel words to determine his future. He set out to prove to the counselor what great things he was capable of and started work right after high school. He even turned down several scholarships to colleges, which could have given him great career opportunities. But in the end his hard work really paid off. After five years, he was offered to teach in the D.C. School System. Realizing the importance of a good education he went back to school and then started teaching.
In retirement, Frizzell is
still active but has also finds time to relax. In addition to coaching
baseball he also does a lot of things around the house. This includes collecting
figurines, making repairs, and constructing models. Frizzell is a jazz
enthusiast. On Saturdays he enjoys listening to jazz on WPFW.
|Isaac Fulwood was
born in April 28,1940 at Freedman’s Hospital and raised in Washington,
DC. He lived with his parents and nine brothers and sisters on Swann
Street, NW, initially, moving to Capitol Hill in 1948. During his
childhood he was member of Purity Baptist Church (1325 Maryland Avenue,
NE) Currently, he and his wife are members of Ebenezer AME Church in Fort
He was educated in the Washington, D.C. public school system during the time (1954) of the Brown vs. the Board of Education, which took him from segregated to integrated schools. After his 1959 graduation from Eastern High School, his first job was an apprentice to his uncles, Ted and Bob, at Linens of the Week, repairing laundry machines. After his June 6, 1962 marriage to Ruth Johnson and the birth of two children, Gary and Angela, he decided to take the exam become a fireman. However, the fire department was not hiring at the time so, at the urging of a police officer friend, Addison Davis, he joined the Washington DC Police Department in November 1964
[H]e was later selected Police Chief of the District of Columbia. With this job, came many responsibilities, which he handled with much enthusiasm, leadership, and authority. Not only did he perform his job well, he inspired other policemen to move forward. In 1992 during the Sharon Pratt-Kelly Administration, he was asked to become Executive Director of the Mayor's Youth Initiatives Program designed to coordinate all at risk youth activities in the city.
In October 1992, after 29
years of service, Mr. Fulwood retired from the police force. He enjoys
playing golf and watching all sports. In his spare time, he and his
wife have taken a class in hand dancing, which they find relaxing and reminiscent
of years ago. He is now an educator at the University of the District
of Columbia and also returns to Eastern High School, his alma mater, to
encourage and advise the youth. Mr. Fulwood continues to strive for
a better Washington and to help youth become better citizens.
|Ella O. Gray, [was]
almost 21 years old [when she] moved to Washington, D.C. for better job
opportunities...When Ella moved to Washington, she stayed with a friend
and two other roommates in a small apartment on the 1400 block of U St.
NW above a jewelry store. As a child, Ella was raised in the AME
church; therefore on her first Sunday in Washington, she visited and joined
the historic Metropolitan AME Church on M Street, NW. Her first government
assignment was with the Agricultural Department as a full-time elevator
One of the highlights of her early life in DC was the spring 1939 Marion Anderson concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Later that year, while working as an elevator operator at the Bureau of Engraving, she met Vernard D. Gray who migrated to Washington from Waverly, Virginia in the middle thirties. After a courtship lasting a year, they were married in her apartment at 1424 W Street, NW on November 7, 1940 by Reverend Harry S. Johnson.
Her husband died in March
1970 and she retired from the Navy Department in May 1971.
During her early years of retirement, she worked as secretary of Ward Church
and devoted significant time to the development of her granddaughters,
Jacinta, N’Dieye and Miya. Today at 86 years of age, Ella remains
active in her church and in her community as a member of Friends of Benning
Library. She feels it’s important to always maintain a positive outlook
and to take advantage of the many opportunities that life has to offer.
If she were starting over, she still feels that Washington, D.C. would
be a good place to start.
|Vivian Levin may
lead you to believe that she eats, sleeps, dreams politics– Republican
politics to be specific. However, if you visit her home it’s a different
story. Vivian’s family, religion and culture are the most important things
in her life. As you walk through the door a mezuzah announces you are entering
a Jewish home. The walls of the apartment are full of bookshelves, stuffed
with hundreds of books, the oldest one in the collection_ History of the
Jewish Republic dates back to the 15th century. Where books don’t cover
the walls, pictures of family and friends are placed.
Vivian was born on October 18, 1923 in Philadelphia, PA. The oldest of five children, Vivian has three sisters and two brothers. She graduated from Temple University with an undergraduate degree in psychology, and then continued on to Yale University where she obtained a Master’s in Political Science. At Yale, Vivian was one of few females in attendance and encounter sexual discrimination from the Yale Library to the local bars.
Vivian fell in love with Washington, D.C. 45 yrs ago when her now deceased husband, was stationed at Walter Reed Hospital while working with the Public Health Service (a uniformed corps). Twenty years after his death, her two children “able and out of the house”, Vivian moved to the District in 1974. When asked what other city she would like to live in her reply was “why would I want to live anywhere else?” The political center of the U.S. is in the Nation’s Capital.
Vivian has lived in three neighborhoods in the District over the last 25 years. Shepard Park, Logan Circle, and SW Waterfront. Each neighborhood harbors fond memories. Hilda Mason, a neighbor from Shepard Park taught the transplant about the fight for Statehood.
Vivian is concerned with
the notion of service and unity. Political volunteerism and community
service has been an integral part of her life on Rhode Island Ave, Vivian
concern for her community lead her to tutoring in neighboring project hotels
such as “House for Mothers.” Currently, she is involved with R.S.V.P._
the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. Years ago, she initiated an urban
day camp for the Girl Scouts, for whom she both worked and volunteered.
While volunteering with Martha’s table, Vivian was interviewed by Japanese
TV, on a visit to the United States studying volunteerism.
|Paula Patterson is
an 84-year-old Native Washingtonian. She was born in the old Freedman’s
Hospital (now Howard University Hospital) on February 8, 1917. She
has lived in Washington, DC all of her life and has resided in every quadrant
of the city except Southwest. Paula Patterson was educated in the
DC Public Schools. She married Floyd Patterson, her Dunbar High School
sweetheart, and produced four children from their union, two boys and two
girls. Paula Patterson was widowed in 1972.
One of her fondest memories of growing up in Washington, DC is going to the Howard Theater as a teenager for the live performances of some of the world’s greatest Black entertainers (such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway) many of whom were Washingtonians as well. During this conversation she shares the concept of and difference between a “Rent Party” (which her mother would occasionally host) and a “Garage Dance” (that she regularly attended across town at her “high school sweetheart’s” house). Horse drawn wagons and streetcars traveled the streets of D.C. side by side during Ms. Patterson’s youth while children walked for miles to attend school. She graduated from Dunbar High School in 1935 and began working for the District Government (like many of her peers) shortly thereafter.
Mrs. Patterson retired from
the District Government in 1976; however, she is an extremely active and
youthful “retiree.” At age 84 she still goes to exercise class regularly
and volunteers daily. She has volunteered regularly at the White
House every Friday since 1994. She is truly a “people person” and
loves the work she has done and continues to do in Washington, DC with
and for such local organizations as DC – Dakar Sister Cities Program, the
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and Howard University
Hospital. She continues to travel extensively, a practice she and
her husband started when their children were very young. Her travels
have taken her throughout the
|Mrs. Evelyn B. Tuckson
has experienced much in her lifetime as a resident of Washington, D.C.
Tuckson was born in Freeman’s Hospital, one of D.C.’s first black hospitals,
and has resided in N.W. for most of her years. She returned many years
later to the hospital actually to work as a nurse. While working there
she met her husband, Dr. Tuckson.
During War World War II she remembers serving in a cadet-nursing program. She was one of the first black nurses to see a white patient in the Visiting Nurses Program. Now, content in her retirement from nursing, Tuckson enjoys creating dolls and crystal figurines, other arts and crafts, and traveling with her husband.
Racial discrimination is something she remembers encountering often in D.C. The schools she attended as a child were segregated. She also remembers many of the clubs in the city being segregated.
One of the most vivid experiences of integration was being the first black family on their block located on upper 13th Street N.W. She also recalls the problems she encountered in having to raise her son in a segregated society.
She remembered very fondly
the good times she had as a young women living in the city. She would attend
house parties, although according to her “not too many.” Tuckson also frequented
clubs and restaurants on U St. She also remembers one of D.C.’s historical
landmarks, the Howard Theater. She noted how they had all sorts of entertainment
there such as jazz, comedians, and movies.
|Reverend Clarence Turner
Jr., son of Martha and Clarence, Sr. is a native Washingtonian. Rev.
Turner was raised in the far Northeast quadrant of Washington, DC in the
Deanwood community, which was originally designated for freed slaves.
His paternal family has lived for more than 220 years.
The Turner Family is replete with builders, ministers, educators and community activists. Mr. and Mrs. Turner, Sr. met each other as children when his father was preaching in a tent church in the Bladensburg area (then called Capital View) of Washington, DC. Mrs. Turner's family soon moved to Deanwood where the two attended elementary school and played together. Mr. and Mrs. Turner were married in 1937 in a double wedding ceremony where two brothers married two sisters. In 1939, at age 22, Mr. Turner built the Deanwood home that they raised their four children in and still live in today. Mrs. Turner was an attentive mother and school counselor.
Rev. Turner, Jr. the youngest child and only son, has walked proudly in his father’s footsteps. Born in Freedman’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital) 54 years ago, Rev. Turner has also lived in Deanwood all of his life. At a very young age he became a carpenter and general contractor; he married in his early twenties and at age 23 he built the house that he raised his family in and still lives in today. Rev. Turner grew up in First Baptist Church of Deanwood and has been the minister of Fruit of the Spirit Baptist Church since 1986.
Through their reflections
of Deanwood - swimming in the water holes and swinging on the vines, having
been shielded from the pain of segregation, the role of the Blacks and
Jews in the turn of the century riots, trips to the Black-owned beaches
(Carr's and Sparrow's), the importance of travel, teaching, preaching and
loving children and community.…the Turner’s shared 220 years of wisdom
and 220 years of family history in this community.
|Wlhelmina Ware and
her husband, Thomas, have always been very ambitious. Their
motivation has led them to very successful careers and their perseverance
and love for each other has also helped them during tough times.
They are two very inspirational people.
As a member of the Boy Scouts during his youth, Thomas Ware was quite active in his community. He and Wilhelmina met each other, as students, at Browne Junior High School in the Carver - Langston community of Northeast DC. They went separate ways for high school, he at Armstrong High School and she at Cardozo, where she involved herself in the cadet program. They began dating when they were both students at Minor Teacher’s College.
They were married, in October 1951, while Mr. Ware was serving in the Army. One year after their marriage, Mr. Ware received an honorable discharge from the military and began to work for the Secretary of the Navy while Mrs. Ware worked for the National Security Agency (NSA). They had two sons, Dexter (b. January 1954) and Kevin (b. May 1958). Sadly though both of their sons died of cystic fibrosis at a young age.
Wilhelmina’s earlier work at the Census Bureau (1948), where she developed her keypunch operating skills, enabled her to excel at the (NSA). By 1952 she was promoted to the supervisory level. In 1957 she was selected to develop and teach a twelve-week, full-time keypunch course at NSA. This activity lasted until 1962. In 1963 she was selected to develop a training program in computer operations, which she administered until 1977 at which time she was appointed as NSA’s Chief of Learning Centers.
During her career at NSA, she was blessed to develop special constituency training programs for the hearing impaired (1959) and test relaxation techniques for the learning centers (1970). In 1987 she received the Instructional Support of the Year award, which was a first for her race.
Thomas continued working at the Navy Department until 1954 at which time he began working with DC Department of Corrections as a correctional officer. In 1961 he began a career with the Washington Terminal Company as a mail handler until 1966 at which time he became a railroad policeman. In 1972 he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In 1973 he acquired the position of hearing officer and maintained that position with the newly formed AMTRAK until his retirement. He heard more than 3000 cases during his career. In 1985, he developed and taught a course on listening techniques to AMTRAK employees, including other hearing officers.
After several decades of
working tirelessly the Wares retired in the early 90’s. He officially
retired on April 2, 1991 and she on May 1, 1993. Looking back they have
lived very full, rich lives and thankfully have always had each other to
depend on. The Wares have always enjoying going out together and
traveling. One of their favorite hangouts is Takoma Station, a DC
jazz club. Their journeys have taken them around the world.
|Bertha C. West, a
vibrant African-American woman, was born on March 24, 1904. She is
now 96 years old and has aged wonderfully, still dancing and laughing like
a woman more than half her age. "Miss Berta" has lived her entire
life in the District of Columbia. She spent her early years "Down
in the Bottom", which is how, she says, people of her generation refer
to the Foggy Bottom area. She lived there with her family: her parents,
who she says were very strict, her sisters, who she says were very spoiled
and her brother to whom she was very close. After her father died
in the 20's, her mother began living with her in 1930, remaining under
her care until her death in 1959.
West attended public school up to the eighth grade, when she decided to join the work force. She says it was difficult for her to find a job at first because all of the openings for "colored" girls asked specifically for girls with lighter complexions. Because she keep up a very neat appearance, she was finally hired by the Hotel Washington, when a woman at the employment office recommended her despite of her dark skin.
She worked in the kitchen of the segregated hotel for twenty-five years. Every night she had to leave through the back door so that none of the white patrons would see her. After she stopped working at the hotel, Ms. West took various other positions including a stint as a nurse before retiring in 1965.
When she wasn't working, Ms West really enjoyed music and dancing. She fondly remembers going to see Duke Ellington, Lena Horne and many other vaudeville performers at the Howard Theater when she was younger. She joined the Elks Lodge in the 1930's and has continued to march and dance in their parades through her golden years.
At the age of 40 the incredible "Miss Berta" enrolled in Cardozo High Night School and by the age of 44 she received her high school diploma. Miss West has often said that she enjoyed her older years more than her youthful days, which were mostly spent working.
She said that she never played
much with other children during childhood but now she has so many friends.
Several of them surprised her with a birthday party for her 92nd birthday
at the very same Hotel Washington that she had worked at years before.
|William M. Wise, Jr.
was born on April 28, 1939 at Gallenger Hospital (now D.C. General) and
raised in Washington, D.C. He lived with his parents (originally
from Jacksonville, Florida), three brothers and one sister on 2nd Street
Northeast, behind Union Station for 30 years. This was a very diverse
neighborhood consisting of several nationalities (German, Irish, etc.).
The families were very close and portrayed the image of a "village," everyone
looking out for each other. One of his most memorable moments was
seeing the Freedom Train come into Union Station, which carried the coffin
of President Roosevelt.
Entertainment for Mr. Wise and his childhood friends consisted of playing sports (baseball, football, swimming, basketball) and going to the Boys & Girls Club at 2nd and K Streets Northwest. He also enjoyed going to the Howard Theater's midnight show and to the movies. Mr. Wise was a member of the Metropolitan Methodist Church at 15th and M Streets, which was built by slaves and is the oldest black church in Washington. He is presently a member of the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church. His aunt, a very active member in the church, was a very influential person in his life. She guided him in his religious beliefs.
The first job Mr. Wise had was serving newspapers (The Afro, The Daily News and The Times Herald), which showed him how to interact with people, handle money, and be responsible. During his high school years, he worked at a clothing store. He admired and looked up to his oldest brother because he saw him work hard, go to school, and get a good job at the State Department. His brother introduced him to Larry King, ("Uncle Dick") who helped him get a job in the Government Printing Office. Mr. Wise was later employed by the District Government Department of Sanitation.