Coolidge high school band director Ben Sands, who grew up in Near Southwest, will be among the guests of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly’s (SWNA’s) Black History program Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Arena Stage. Sands will be interviewed by Southwest resident Ian Callender, co-founder of Blind Whino Arts Club at Delaware Ave. and H St. SW.
Slave pens once located at 7th and Independence Ave. SW will be described by a speaker from the Federal Aviation Administration building, which is where the Williams slave pen once stood. A memorial marker was added at that site in Jan. 2016. Imprisoned at that slave pen was Solomon Northrup, the free-born African-American abolitionist from New York, who was  kidnapped in DC and sold into slavery. Northrup is the author of Twelve Years A Slave, which was recently made into a movie.
In addition, monologues will be performed recognizing prominent Southwest African-Americans.
Since 1985 SWNA has hosted Black History programs coordinated by Thelma D. Jones, chair of a SWNA History Task Force subcommittee. In 1994 Jones established an annual Black History program at the World Bank Group, from which she retired after more than 33 years. She may be reached at thelma@swna.org or (202)251-1639.
By: Dale MacIver

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