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In this city of tributes the Jefferson Memorial, Union Station Architecture, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the US Capitol Building were just a few of the sights our young people took were able to see.

OCC Youth Visit Washington DC

edication to the development of young minds was the motivation for Bishop Dailey and the youth department of the Outreach Community Center to travel to America's capital. He hoped that by allowing the kids to see history come to life and heroes memorialized in brick and mortar, dreams might be birthed in the hearts of these youngsters who might not have otherwise thought they could make a difference. There's something magical about being able to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his epic "I Have a Dream" speech. Yes, history was made here. And it continues to be made here every day in the senate, the congress, the supreme court and the white house.

None of this was lost on our young people who bubbled with both excitement and a sense of awe at it all. Their eyes widened when they stood and gazed at the fountains, and great pillars they had only seen in pictures. They were dwarfed by the statues of men they had only heard about in stories. King KamehamehaFirst King of Hawaii And they were quieted by the displays of brutality their ancesters endured in slavery. Slave ShipSlave cargo on the way to America Being surrounded by greatness inspires greatness and on this trip, they were. There were examples of great architecture, sculpture, art, leadership and even great sacrifice.

The Tour of the State Capitol Building, which is a masterpiece within itself, was also an eye opening experience. Majestic paintings, Painting12'x18' painting titled, "The Discovery of Mississippi" by William Powell sculptors, and other fine works of art that depict various periods in American history are distributed throughout the building’s interior. The gem of the Capitol Building is the Rotunda– a 96-foot wide circular hall with a 180-foot high dome like ceiling. The dome, which was completed during the Civil War, is a display of the kind of exquisite workmanship every child should see. We saw the dome’s interior painting, by Constantino Brumidi called "The Apotheosis of George Washington" Capitol DomeThe Apotheosis of Washington in the eye of the Rotunda and the frieze of the Rotunda which is a painted panorama depicting significant events in American history. Rotunda FriezeColonization of New England section of the frieze It measures 8 feet 4 inches in height and approximately 300 feet in circumference and it starts 58 feet above the floor. Just as stunning was the five ton chandelier designed by Tiffany Studios. Said to be large enought to hold a VW bug inside, it is twenty five feet long and eight feet in diameter and requires over two hundred light bulbs. ChandelierThe Rotunda chandelier hanging from a 101 foot long chain that weighs 1 1/2 tons. Since the Rotunda is located near the entrance of the Capitol Building it was the first stop on our tour. Other stops included the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the National Statuary Hall. The Old Supreme Court Chamber, which is quite a sight to behold, has been restored to its 19th century appearance. Court ChamberThe site of the first presidential inauguration when Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office on March 4, 1801. The National Statuary Hall was originally the Chamber of the House of Representatives. ChandelierNational Statuary Hall Skylight Cahndelier Its chandelier hangs near the statue of Liberty and the Eagle. It became the Statuary Hall in 1864. Each U.S. state was asked to contribute two statues each. Today, there are a total of 97 statues. (Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota only contributed one statue each). Rhode IslandNathanael Greene who as commander of the Army of the south, was responsible for the liberation of Charleston The statues honor individuals of historical significance.

This trip to the nation's capitol served a multi-level purpose for our young people by enabling them to understand the connections between their nation's history and their cultural history. Washington, DC is unique among American cities because it was established by the US Constitution to serve as the nation's capital. From its inception it has been embroiled in political maneuvering, sectional conflicts, issues of race, national identity, compromise and, of course, power. It is noteworthy that the life and times of Washington DC is inextricably tied to the progression of Black America. As the young city grew, some of the greatest African-American minds and artists migrated to this, the heart of the country to assure their participation in its future. During the Civil Rights Era, Washington DC provided the platform for Martin Luther King"s "I Have a Dream" speech, MLKMartin Luther King delivers his "I Have A Dream" speech delivered on the steps of the somewhat new Lincoln Memorial. The March on Washington in 1963 reflected, again, the struggle of a diverse people to keep their union together.

With its southern connections, Washington has always had a significant African-American population. Before the Civil War, the city was home to a growing number of free blacks who worked as skilled craftsmen, hack drivers, businessmen and laborers. It also included enslaved African Americans and was the site of slave auctions before they were outlawed in the city in 1850. Slaves owned in Washington were emancipated on April 16, 1862, nine months before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863. Washington remained home to a large African-American population who created vibrant communities and championed civil rights despite racial segregation and prejudice. Duke Ellington was born and raised in Washington's Shaw neighborhood and played in his first band there. His influence is still felt in DC, especially in the U Street Corridor—dubbed “Black Broadway”—where Ellington grew up and where jazz greats like Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey and Jelly Roll Morton once played. A clearly-marked neighborhood heritage trail points out landmarks like the Lincoln Theatre, the African-American Civil War Memorial, MemorialThe Spirit of Freedom African-American Civil War Memorial by Ed Hamilton, Louisville sculptor. and the Thurgood Marshall Center for Justice and Heritage, home of the first African-American YMCA. Nearby, Howard University is one of the nation’s top historically black colleges.

Just Off the Bus everyone stops to pose for the camera. The entire bus trip was electrified with anticipation. With so much to see and do, we were excited reach our destination.

We were fortunate to be able to come and experience the historical richness of DC. The kids will never be the same.
Bishop Herman Dailey
- President and Founder

One can discover DC’s black history by following Cultural Tourism DC’s African-American Heritage Trail. More than 200 significant and historic sites steeped in black history, from churches and schools to famous residences and businesses, have been identified in the city, and the trails further highlight the ways DC’s black population have contributed by building strong communities, churches and businesses. One famous residence that should be on every list to visit is the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, located at his home, Cedar Hill, which recently underwent a three-year renovation. When Douglass bought the nine-acre estate, he became the first African American to buy a home in the Old Anacostia neighborhood.

There remains so much more to do and see in our nation's capital. And on this trip, the OCC Youth Department achieved its goal of enriching the minds of its young people. The adults who accompanied them were equally moved.

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