Tong Ambrosi
Photo by Gayle Krughoff
     
   
Interview with:   Isaac Fulwood, Jr.
Interview Date:   May 5, 2003, and May 13, 2003
Interviewer:   Pat Taffe Driscoll
Transcribers:   Ryan R. Rodriguez
    This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.
 
       
   

TAPE 1/SIDE 1

Material contained in brackets [     ] has been added by editors subsequent to the interview.

DRISCOLL: I am in the home of former police chief Isaac Fulwood for an interview on May 5th, 2003. Chief Fulwood, would you give your name?

FULWOOD: Good morning. My name is Isaac Fulwood, Jr. Good morning and welcome to my home. It is an interesting project when you start to talk about Capitol Hill. My family lived on Capitol Hill on two separate occasions. The first time we lived here, we lived at about the 300 block of H Street NE, which is now across the street from the Children's Museum. At that time it was called the Little Sisters of the Poor, which was a monastery. I can remember as a kid going across the street and climbing over the wall and picking their grapes and their fruit because they had fruit orchards in the back of it. Subsequently several years later, we moved to 341 Kentucky Avenue SE, which is probably in the later part of the [19]40s. That was my place where I lived until I left home and got married in about 1960. I went to public school system. I attended Payne Elementary which we could walk right across the street. One of my teachers at Payne Elementary was a lady named Nora Gregory who is the mother of Colonel Gregory who was an astronaut and who still lives in Washington. As a matter of fact, [she] doesn't live far from here. She lives on Massachusetts Avenue SE. So, I remember her because she's in her 80s. She is the sister of Dr. Charles Drew, a pretty famous family and the aunt of Charlene Drew Jarvis and, so, we had this experience, and, of course, at that time schools were still segregated. And our neighborhoods were still pretty much segregated. And so those are some of my earlier memories about my public education: I went to Payne Elementary, graduated from Payne, went to Eliot Junior High School, which is right on the back of Eastern [High School] off of 17th and East Capitol. Went there for exactly one year. In 1954, as you know, the Brown vs. Board of the Education case came which ended discrimination in public schools. And subsequently, I went to Eastern High School because Eastern had the junior and senior high school at that time. I went to junior high school in '54 and from the 8th grade to the 12th grade and graduated in '59 from Eastern High School. I played football and baseball for Eastern but if I . . . that's my high school career.

Subsequently -- when I was young -- the thing to remember old Number 5 [police] precinct, which is 1-D-1. My first contact with that location was through the Police Boys and Girls Club. The Police Boys and Girls Club had a club in the basement of that precinct. We used to practice, though, down at Lincoln playground, which is in the area of Arthur Capper [about Seventh and K Streets SE]. So we'd come there, put our uniforms on and walk down to the playground to play and practice because I played baseball and boxed in that basement. And the person who was there who has long-since passed, was a man named Eddie Berry who ran the Police Boys and Girls Club.

DRISCOLL: How do you spell his last name?

FULWOOD: I think his last name was B-E-R-R-Y. His first name was Eddie, as I remembered. An older guy who was a really strong disciplinarian -- who taught us the fundamentals of how to play sports. But also taught us this lesson -- that when you play sports, team sports, that you have to learn how to get along with all kinds of people. And he used to always say, "There's no 'I' in team." And so, that was my first {laughter} adventure with the police and of course they had the police there. As I got older, we went to the Police Boys and Girls Club camp at Camp Earnest up near Brown, which is in Scotland, Maryland.

I remember the neighborhood as a place with all kinds of things, things that I remember right there at Kentucky Avenue and D Street, used to be the "Meadow Gold Ice Cream Factory" [Meadow Gold Products Company at 1337-1353 14th Street SE]. Alongside of that Ice Cream factory was the Safeway warehouse. Safeway had a repair warehouse there where they repaired Safeway equipment and all that. And I can remember as a kid, we would wait until 7:00 when they closed the gate at the ice cream factory and they would load the trucks up and they would leave ice cream out on the platform with that "hot ice" to keep it frozen. So it gave us -- the kids in the neighborhood -- a great opportunity to climb that fence and go over and get all the ice cream we wanted [laughter]. I mean, that was, something to have fun with.

DRISCOLL: Sounds like maybe they knew that was going to happen [unintelligible cross chatter].

FULWOOD: We used to get ice cream sandwiches and ice cream cones and all kinds of stuff. We'd have fun with it; we'd have ice cream and not have to pay for it. The other thing that I remember was that right down the street where Watkins Elementary School . . .

DRISCOLL: Watkins at 12th . . .

FULWOOD: at 12th and D and E Streets. It used to be the "Mann's Potato Chip Factory."

DRISCOLL: Really?

FULWOOD: It was right there. Before they built Watkins, Mann's Potato Chip was there. I can remember, we would climb that fence at night and get potato chips because they would have them on the trucks, and the trucks didn't have locks on them. You could just go up and open the door and get fresh potato chips [laughter] which you had no business doing, but we used to climb that fence and eat all the potato chips we wanted. But one night, when I was a kid, we decided that we were really going to be bad guys, I guess. We went in and we broke the lock on the gate and got a 55-gallon barrel with kosher dill pickles in them.

DRISCOLL: Oh, wow!

FULWOOD: And took that barrel and rolled it out onto D Street and we sat there and ate as many pickles as we could. Then we turned the barrel over and rolled it down the street. {laughter.} That was my last episode with pickles but it was kind of fun. And then, right across the street in the alley, I think between 12th and 13th, between D and C Street, was the Rock Creek Soda warehouse. They had garages there where they'd park the trucks and they'd have sodas on there and everything. And we'd go over there and get sodas . . . [these were] some of the most famous locations to me in my childhood . . .

DRISCOLL: When did they stop the manufacturing and the storing them?

FULWOOD: I am not sure. I'm not sure if they ever manufactured it, but they stored them there. But they must have stopped doing it in about the 50's, somewhere around that time. Because in the mid 50's, I guess, you could go in there and the big trucks would be there, and the warehouse would be stacked up with sodas. Same thing with, there was a tomato [plant where] I think they actually canned tomatoes, where Potomac Gardens is [12th and G Streets SE]. And it was like an alley back there and there was a canning factory there that canned tomatoes. We used to call it Tomato Alley. And the other thing that was famous about Tomato Alley was, there were some houses back there and one of the houses was a bootlegger house where you could go and buy bootleg liquor. And they gambled back there. They would shoot craps, back in that area. And when we were kids we would go in and look through the alley and watch them, the gambling and the bootleggers exchanging money. So it's a neighborhood that has a, to me, a pretty unique history from my perspective.

There were some pretty unique people in the neighborhood. There was a guy, and I don't remember what his name was other than the Watermelon Man. The Watermelon Man used to sell watermelons, cantaloupes, stuff off of a truck. Not only would he do that, but he would sell half pints of liquor off that truck as well. And he would go through the neighborhood and you'd go out there and get a watermelon for 50 cents or a dollar or whatever and he would sell these watermelons. Also, there was a man named Jimmy Matthews who also . . . the Matthews family was a family of six boys, I think. Their father used to operate a vegetable bus where you could go on there and buy collards and kale and fruits and you could buy fresh fish on Friday. Now, that bus used to go through the neighborhood and they did that for, I guess, up until about 1960.

DRISCOLL: And it was like a regular bus?

FULWOOD: Yeah. Just a regular bus that had been gutted and filled with fruits and vegetables and fresh fish and all that on the bus.

DRISCOLL: And the Watermelon Man was just a regular pickup . . .

FULWOOD: Bigger than a pickup, more like a dump truck. And you could actually get cold watermelon because there would be ice in there and you could buy these things, you could also buy liquor {laughter}.

DRISCOLL: Diversification, there. {laughter}

FULWOOD: He had a diverse, you know. But it was a neighborhood of families; the Matthews family was a member of the old St. Cyprian's Church.

DRISCOLL: And that was M-A-T-T-H-E-W?

FULWOOD: Uh-huh. In matter of fact, I see one of the sons -- he does alcohol and drug counseling. He still does it. He must be in his 60s now. I run into him in meetings and stuff about crime and violence. But they were all members of St. Cyprian's Catholic Church [northwest corner of 13th and C Streets SE] because they were all Catholics, even though I wasn't Catholic, they were all Catholics. These families, the thing that I remember -- the uniqueness of these families. The Queen family lived across the street from us. The son, Thomas Queen has a law office at 530 Eighth Street SE, a member of St. Cyprian's Church, two of the sons became lawyers. The Holland family. The Savoys. The Fords. The Ford family produced Lilly Ford who went on to play for the Cleveland Browns, played defensive end, was a tremendous football player. The Miles family lived around on Water Street and these were all large Catholic families. The Miles family had a son, his name was Kush Miles. Kush Miles left, went to college and then went on to Canada and became an All-American football player and a Hall of Famer.

All these families around there, there was a great emphasis on athletics. St. Cyprian's [parish school at 310 Eighth Street SE and 1242 C Street SE] had a variety of semi-pro teams: baseball, football, and basketball. They played at the Buchanan playground, where a lot of the games were played. The Stonewalls of Southeast had a club house down at near the Marine Barracks and they had a football team. As a matter of fact, I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, Maury Wills, who went on to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball [team] and graduated from Cardoza used to come back home in the winter and play semi-pro football. This is a tremendous football player. The Lee family worked in recreation. One of the brothers, Hosie Lee, was a recreation director. His brother, Reggie Lee, was a tremendous athlete. The Savoy family [members] were all athletes. One of them, who is . . . most of the brothers are still alive -- Raymond Savoy played professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a matter of fact, he has a program at Langston golf course called "Hook a Kid on Golf." So he teaches golf to young kids, worked in recreation. So we have, the uniqueness about the neighborhood, most of these black families pretty much everybody knew everybody. So you had, to me, a real sense of community. We all would go to St. Cyprian's to CYO [Catholic Youth Organization]. Father Miller, and Father deGay, and all these people were there. One of the great tragedies was when St. Cyprian's was torn down because St. Cyprian's was, if you can remember, where Hine Junior High School is. Across the [Eighth] street from Hine used to be St. Cyprian's School. So all these things were very, very important parts of the neighborhood.

DRISCOLL: What was the reaction when the church and school was . . .

FULWOOD: Oh, it was just awful. There were a number of people who got together and went to see the Cardinal, or the Bishop, to discuss with him why tear it down, that the church wouldn't be the same. And they said, 'Well, you know.' Pretty much, they started talking about integration and all these things and they wanted to combine it with Holy Comforter. And I always thought it was an economic move to make money because they have town houses there now. But St. Cyprian's was more than just a building. It was at the core of our community.

DRISCOLL: And non-Catholic people were very involved?

FULWOOD: Yeah, because I used to go there. You know, and I am not Catholic, but I would go there for dances and do all my activities and do all those things. Then, just the social support systems that exist. There have been some studies done in places like Detroit where, when these church institutions and recreation centers start to go down, the neighborhood starts to go down, urban decay and all these other things started to happen. I think they didn't have a good enough appreciation for the impact these things as neighborhood institutions [had] on the quality of life, I mean. These families are families I see all the time. Pope Funeral Home was located at 15th and D, but it was in a house at 15th and D [414 15th SE].

DRISCOLL: P-O-L . . .

FULWOOD: No, Pope, P-O-P-E. Pope Funeral Home, which is third generation. Alexander Pope lived at 17th and East Capitol, I mean 17th and C, because he would walk down to his funeral home. Even today, most of the older families around here all get buried at that funeral home. I can call Mr. Pope and say "Look, my brother passed away and he's at such and such location." And that's all I have to do. He doesn't get into . . .

DRISCOLL: And he trusts you?

FULWOOD: While he doesn't do this regularly, he shows up himself -- the older guy -- and of course I know the son, so these kinds of things make for traditional family neighborhood. I try to put it, this faith, the things that centers you, your values. It's family that gives you that environment to operate in and it's friends that makes up your neighborhood and give you support. So it's the three F's that I think really define Capitol Hill for me. Even today, there is a sense of community, because you can go to -- I used to go up to the Hawk & Dove -- Stu Long [329 Pennsylvania Avenue SE]. Even going in and sitting, everyone knows everybody. Sort of like, "Cheers" [the TV show]. {laughter and cross chatter}. Same thing with Eastern Market, it's been there forever . . . kind of like a meeting place. I still go over there to Eastern Market and buy fruits and vegetables, flowers. Because of the sense of neighborhood -- the sense of community, which is an important part of everything we do. I go to the "Bread and Chocolate" [666 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, corner of Seventh Street] and have lunch every now and then.

DRISCOLL: Do you miss the dime store?

FULWOOD: Yes, indeedy. See, I, you know, the old five and dime store [Kresge's]. 'Course the riots came and everything that happened and some [of] those businesses closed. That C Street facility was closed for years before it finally came back online as a different kind of store.

DRISCOLL: The dime store?

FULWOOD: Yeah.

DRISCOLL: I remember it more as being active, because when our kids were little, it was a big deal to go there.

FULWOOD: Well, they didn't do anything after the riots, because they have some fire at that location, and some looting. By that time, I was an officer and I went onto the department in 1964. And I . . . the most fascinating thing to me was that when I became a police officer, the idea that I'd go back to my neighborhood was just, you know, just unique. At that time, of course I'm jumping around a bit, but the Eastern Branch Boys Club [Boys Club of Washington, 216 17th Street SE] was segregated when I was a kid -- blacks didn't go in there. We used to go in and look in the window because they used to swim. But there was a guy there named Mr. Reynolds who also did boxing refereeing. A small, slightly built white man who would give us equipment. He knew the place was segregated. He'd give us bats and balls and stuff like that, a really decent guy. And when it finally integrated, Mr. Reynolds and I would sit and talk and talk about the times of discrimination. You know, kids being kids and those kinds of things and kids are taught these prejudices by adults, because kids don't, while they know color, they don't know that color makes a difference. So, Mr. Reynolds was there, a very unique person. He used to referee boxing, got along very well with everybody -- a very staunch disciplinarian. He brought a man named Ali Thompson. Ali Thompson was the guy who played basketball, a tremendous basketball player and we used to go see him play as he was older than we were, but when Elgin Baylor, who lived in Southeast and graduated from Spingarn High School and went to the pros and became a Hall of Famer. Dave Bing who went to Spingarn High School and graduated from Syracuse went to the Hall of Fame. Probably the only two people who came out from any one school who are in the Hall of Fame. And they used to play playground ball down in southeast. It wasn't uncommon to see Wilt Chamberlain or somebody down there playing basketball on the playground. This was just the kind of stuff that dreams are made of.

DRISCOLL: What a great place to grow up.

FULWOOD: Oh yeah. You see all these kinds of things and these folks would not permit you to do things that were wrong. They didn't tolerate that. 'You can't behave like that.' And on the playground the same thing. If you did something wrong around here, they'd grab you and spank your behind. And our neighbors, the Gardners and the Duncans, they would not tolerate you misbehaving. Their parents would grab you. Everyone knew everybody else's children. Not like today, I think. Often we see kids do something wrong and we're afraid as adults to say 'No' to them. Back then it was expected of you. Other parents expected you to discipline their kids if they did something wrong. That was just the standard way of operating -- being part of the community. The community had rules and values and everybody had to follow those rules and values. So we didn't get into a lot of things, you just didn't tolerate them.

DRISCOLL: You didn't have a chance?

FULWOOD: Uh-huh. No. But Albert Thompson who became director of the Boys Club got me involved in working with kids. I had a program called "Talking with Ike." We'd meet with groups of kids and talk with them about . . .

DRISCOLL: This was after you were a police officer?

FULWOOD: Yeah. I'd sit around on Wednesday and sit and talk about the various things and law enforcement and how to behave and what the future holds, what you can do, that failure wasn't an option, that you had to be successful. Not like today where we create a culture of failure and excuses for people's shortcomings. You just didn't tolerate that. But Albert Thompson was a great guy who taught me an awful lot about how to be a policeman, about community policing. We didn't know what community policing was but he was teaching police officers 'you have to make a connection to the neighborhood, you have to be involved with the community.'

DRISCOLL: Can I just stop this for a second and . . .

[SOUND GOES BLANK ON TAPE FOR A FEW MINUTES]

DRISCOLL: We had a pause for a technical checkup, and I think we're back on track. Looks like we're okay. Okay, you mentioned, along with a lot of other things, that the dime store, Kresge's, had some fire damage at the time of Dr. King's assassination. My experience was that not very many of the stores there on that whole Pennsylvania Avenue were bothered much.

FULWOOD: Pennsylvania Avenue suffered relatively little damage.

DRISCOLL: The bike shop obviously.

FULWOOD: Yeah.

DRISCOLL: I've forgotten the name of, do you remember, of the hardware store that used to be where one of the restaurants on Pennsylvania Avenue, on the 600 block is? [People's at 603-05 Pennsylvania SE in 1958. By 1967 it had changed to Grand Paint and Hardware at 603].

FULWOOD: I don't know what the name is, you know, because when I think of hardware, the only hardware that I think of is Frager's [1116 Pennsylvania Ave. SE]. It's been there for a hundred years it seems like. Right next to Frager's was the High's store. There used to be a bakery as well. I remember those things. Frager's was the place where everyone went. There are still occasions when I go to Frager's when I want to find something that's hot and special and I still end up going there and these relationships with Capitol Hill are pretty unique.

DRISCOLL: Yes. I remember the other hardware store though, too, because that was closer to where we lived before. You'd go to Frager's if you knew you really, needed something special, but if you wanted something little, you'd go there. I think that store had some real damage. I think because the workers who were knowledgeable there were the African American people. They knew, but they couldn't take money.

FULWOOD: No, the biggest thing, the other important thing was that there was a sense of community in that part of Capitol Hill. Whereas when you got around Eighth and H Street NE, where you had significant fire damage to a number of the facilities there, they didn't have that kind of, if you will, the family kind of neighborhood stores where everybody got to know everybody. You knew them by name and by face and you saw these people on a regular basis. So you developed a relationship which meant you couldn't . . . when you get to know somebody it is hard to mistreat them. So you didn't get that kind of problem that existed other places. You know like Seventh Street NW where we saw lots of damage in the riots. And some of that damage exists today in some of the neighborhoods. The O Street Market never was the same after the riots, those kinds of things. Capitol Hill was and is still very unique. Even after I got married and moved off the Hill and moved over here to the Frederick Douglass estate.

DRISCOLL: Did you?

FULWOOD: Yeah, we lived in a place called Cedar Gardens. Where we had children. I have two children, a daughter Angela and a son Gary. Gary is the oldest. We sent them to the Capitol Hill Day School. Which {laughter} is where we met Ida Prosky and all these other folks. Our children went there and it was a school that didn't have that many black students. But the quality of the education and the field trips and everything was pretty significant to us. So we maintained our contact through that and my mother and father still lived there until they later on died. We just got rid of the house about two years ago. We kept the house . . .

DRISCOLL: Where you grew up?

FULWOOD: Yeah, my sister and them lived there. And so when I go through the neighborhood now, every now and then I'll stop there to see some of the people who still live there: the Grays, the Gaskins, the Hollands. You'd stop by and say hello to them. There's a lady named Hat who lived right next to my mother's. Those relationships still exist.

DRISCOLL: Now is she still there?

FULWOOD: Yeah. This lady named Hat still lives there. The Grays still live there. Hat has been there for, gosh, when her mother died, she subsequently moved into her house. They got, it's got to be 40 years, at least 40. And it goes back beyond that because her mother and father lived there.

DRISCOLL: What is her full name?

FULWOOD: I think her last name is Brooks [ed: probably Booker] And the first name is Hat. We'd know people by names. Hat is still there.

DRISCOLL: And what was that address?

FULWOOD: 343

DRISCOLL: 343.

FULWOOD: And the liquor store, which is right across the street, Albert's Liquor. Leon is still there off and on. He doesn't open every day, I don't believe, or at least he isn't open as much. He was the neighborhood person. Everybody knew Leon. And, as a matter of fact, when my parents got older, if something happened at the house, Leon knew my mother and father and he would call me and say 'Hey, something don't look right.' And I'd go over there and check. So it was that kind of neighborhood . . .

DRISCOLL: The caring back and forth . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah, I can remember as a kid, nine years old, I worked at the corner grocery store called Kentucky and D Market [402 Kentucky Avenue SE], I used to carry groceries. Because you could call and order the grocery and I would take the grocery to the house. And I think the family was Leftwich -- I'll remember the name, it just escapes me at the minute -- but the daughter of the owner married a guy who worked for the DC government so I kept in contact with her. The brothers took over -- a guy named Abe Aaronsin [404 Kentucky]. As a matter of fact, when I became chief of police, and Abe and them had moved, they had sold the store and moved up to Montgomery County somewhere. I got a call from Abe Aaronsin to congratulate me.

DRISCOLL: Neat.

END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 1
TAPE 1/SIDE 2

DRISCOLL: Okay.

FULWOOD: As I was saying, there was a man named Abe Aaronsin and Abe Aaronsin called me when I became chief of police in 1989. He said he was following my career and was just really happy and had introduced me as a kid, we'd go and we would eat bagels and lox, gefilte fish and kosher food. And these great hot dogs and I can never remember the name of them. They were really, really great Jewish hot dogs. And so he introduced me and taught me an awful lot about how people ought to behave. And we talked about discrimination and he was one of these people who believe that discrimination would eventually end, that it can't survive. That evil can never survive over good. And so he taught me an awful lot. And his wife's sister was a lady named Wolff and she worked there for a number of years. So I learned an awful lot from them as a family about how important family was and all these other things. In addition to my own family, because we had my father had eight brothers, I believe, and three sisters -- a large family, so . . .

DRISCOLL: What did your dad do?

FULWOOD: My dad was a construction worker. As a matter of fact he worked on, one of the long, really long jobs he worked on and he worked on, he was a union guy, a union shop steward, was up at the National Cathedral when they were building the National Cathedral. He was working up there as a stonemason with these stonemasons from Italy. And as a matter of fact he took me up there when I was a kid to see what it was that they were doing. That's been a project that's been going on for what, 60, 70 years almost. So my father was one of these people who could do anything. A man who was not, did not have a lot of formal education, but knew how to read blueprints and do electric work and everything. He taught himself, was self-taught. But he was one of these people, he lived to be, I think 79 years old. And he was a little man who was 155 pounds. Of course my kids, my daughter and my son, talk about him all the time, and their grandmother. They remember their grandparents.

DRISCOLL: Wonderful.

FULWOOD: Because they would go, he would take them on rides on the streetcars. Because the streetcar used to come down to Barney Circle and turn around. Remember?

DRISCOLL: Absolutely.

FULWOOD: Then you know . . .

DRISCOLL: I used to live on 15th Street.

FULWOOD: And of course, along the waterfront was where strawberries and blueberries grew. And there were fruit orchards and everything. All along the waterfront. So we used to go down and pick fruit and pears and all this stuff that grew along the back of Congressional Cemetery and all that. All the way around there was fruits and all kinds of things. Great wildlife. As kids we used to walk down through there and walk all the way to where the stadium is now because there wasn't a stadium, there was just ball fields down there and the Armory. So it was a different neighborhood.

Of course the old DC Jail was there and we used to walk. Of course DC General was Gallinger Hospital. And I was born at Freedman's Hospital up in Northwest [Fifth and Bryant Streets]. We were living at 1435 Swann Street NW then when I born as a kid. So I remember the city of Washington, DC as pretty unique. Capitol Hill was, I think, the thing that characterized it was that it was a small enough community and the houses were close enough together with front porches, which I think has something to do with neighbors knowing neighbors. Because you sit at your front porch, and as you sit on your front porch you would always see your neighbors. So you got to know your neighbors. You got to know their habits and their comings and goings. And that made a difference in terms of neighborhood structure. In this world we live in today, people move every five, six, seven years. These were families who were second or third generation. Even now there are people who have been there for a number of years who moved in there from a previous generation. I think Gary Abrecht lives in a house that was owned by a previous generation of his family or his wife's family. That is unique. The fact that Lincoln Park was there was always used, which I think is Mary McCloud Bethune, we called it Lincoln Park. We used to meet in the park, sit in the park and walk around. So it was a different kind of place. So you think about St. Mark's Church as an example. I went to St. Mark's for a number of years, my wife and my two kids and I went to St. Mark's. We used to go up there every Friday night for gospel music. They used to have live gospel music in St. Mark's Church. Jim Adams was the rector at that time.

DRISCOLL: Around that time you must have known Josephine Turner then too.

FULWOOD: Yes, indeed. I used to stop by and see Josephine Turner because she was living by herself and I'd stop by to talk to her and we would talk and she was doing things with houses and of course you had, that was a time when Barbara Held and Beau  Bogan came into existence and they were buying up and remodeling a lot of houses and selling houses. So it was a pretty unique time. I can remember, I think it was Lyndon Johnson, who used to come to St. Mark's every now and then. Bill Baxter was the rector. So pretty famous people . . . Harry McPherson who was big time in Democratic politics used to go there. So there were all kinds of people who went there. Really enjoyable place to go and the gospel music, the live gospel music. And the church, St. Mark's, was more like a community center as much as it was a church. It was a church but at the core of its values was its Christian belief, but there was also this kind of, God is a living God kind of thing. So that was an important thing for us. And my wife -- my wife grew up at 242 16th Street SE. I didn't know her, a friend of mine introduced us. She graduated from Eastern High School. Introduced her. We subsequently ended up being married. Her family is from that neighborhood.

DRISCOLL: So you got to know another neighborhood.

FULWOOD: Oh yeah. I mean, we walked around the neighborhood, the community. We got to know everyone. The corner grocery store was an important part of it. The recreation center, Payne Recreation Center, Buchanan Recreation Center, these were, to me, living organisms because they had baseball, they had softball, basketball tournaments. Dave Bing would come there and play, an All-American athlete who is now a millionaire living in Detroit, produces iron. I saw him on TV yesterday on the basketball game. And so Willie Jones who was a little college All-American came in and played basketball. These were all pretty famous people who came to the neighborhood. The Cunningham family that lived in the 400 block of Kentucky Avenue. As a matter of fact, I think that some of the Cunninghams still live there. I think the Revus family from St. Cyprian's.

DRISCOLL: The 400 block of . . .

FULWOOD: Kentucky Avenue. I'm sorry that I can't give you the address, but it's about almost down there, about six houses from the corner of Kentucky and E. The Colbert family, their mother lived there until she passed about a year and a half ago. And the son, Darryl, has moved back into the house and remodeled it. Second, third generation, and he's living there with his wife and he's at about the 1400 block of E. I'm able to give his address to you because he is living there. But it's all of these families that were there . . .

DRISCOLL: That were still connected . . .

FULWOOD: You know, that were still connected. It was a community, you know, a pretty significant community. About three weeks ago, I went to the Eastern Market and had breakfast, you know, down there on the end where the fish is. Old fashioned ham and eggs and grits. You know, I just feel that sense of the neighborhood where you speak to people, you see them, you become a part of it.

DRISCOLL: How did that, being part of the neighborhood help? Was it a help or a hindrance in your police work?

FULWOOD: Oh, I think it made me a much better police officer because I knew . . .

DRISCOLL: And a lot more effective . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah, a lot more effective, because you knew who the people were, you knew their kids. You could confront someone about misbehavior and say 'Hey, put it down, don't do that.' And they know you. And so when you walk back through the neighborhood everyone knew you and they spoke.

DRISCOLL: And you had their respect because they saw you grow up . . .

FULWOOD: A lot of the families, when I walked through the neighborhood, they were proud because they said 'Hey, I remember you when you were a little kid, Junior' because they called me Junior. They'd say 'Junior, I remember you.' So they kept you straight and they kept you focused on what it really meant. So when I did volunteer work at the Boys Club, and even today I'm over there at the Friends of Tyler School Program with Jan Eichhorn. I've got three little boys that I mentor. So I've still kept my ties to the neighborhood over there because I feel like it's a part of everything that you are. I mean, you're the sum total of all the things that happened to you. So when you grow up in this kind of neighborhood and there's a sense of community, I just think you're a better person, I mean, I really think you're a better person. And I certainly think it makes you a better police officer because I got encouragement. So people like Ollie Thompson would say 'Hey, you need to study.' Even though there was discrimination, when I came on the Department you couldn't, we didn't ride in cars, because as blacks you couldn't ride in the patrol car, you had to walk all the time. But these people would say 'Hey, don't worry about that, study, get prepared, because this is going to change. We're not going to tolerate this -- this is going to change.' And so I started to study, and it was that kind of encouragement from all of the people who grew up in the neighborhood who wanted to see you promoted. So when I got promoted so everyone was feeling like they were promoted. So there'd be parties and things of that nature as I got up through the ranks.

DRISCOLL: Really proud of you . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah. And I can remember when I was made Captain. All the people showed up up at the ceremony for my family and I've got relatives who live on the Hill. My aunt, Sarah, Sarah Prince, lives at 1301 Independence Avenue SE. She's been there at least 30 years or more. Raised her children there. And you know, these are all people that lived in the neighborhood. So when I ride through there I still see there's a community, even though it's not the same community because obviously it's been gentrified now. And I try to encourage any black families to stay, don't leave. While we sometimes verbalize the appreciation for diversity, we really don't practice it in the way that we really need to because we do live in a world that's different, and that's changing, and getting smaller. And all kinds of people now with Iraq, not understanding the language and the cultures and all those things. We've got to become better. We can be a strong military power, but that doesn't get us anywhere in the long run. We've got to get people to recognize people. And that's why I always keep talking about the three F's: family, faith, and friends and how important that is to really make it. And Capitol Hill should be a study of how people appreciate people. Because it's got a great chance because it's a close community. I can remember Beat 26. When Beat 26, Sergeant Wally Bradford was working Beat 26, near the Market, and he organized the neighborhood over there. And they exchanged phone numbers and did all this stuff and Gary Abrecht was the commanding officer down there who really had a great appreciation for what community really meant. Because he used to walk to work and walk to the Market. I used to run into him at the Market all the time -- him and his wife Mary. And they went to Christ Church. And they'd been there . . .

DRISCOLL: For a long time?

FULWOOD: For a long time. If you look, if you go to the Hawk & Dove, you run into Stu Long. I mean, you know, these are people who have ties, deep ties, Stu still doing work with Gonzaga. You know?

DRISCOLL: He was ahead of our kids.

FULWOOD: Yeah, so this is the kind of thing that really makes for a neighborhood. Some historical perspective. And the idea that, it's a neighborhood where you can walk around. You know? It's got a subway stop now. There are little local stores where you can go. I was sad to see the little, the western store, in the 600 block of Penn closed. Because I used to go up there and buy my western belts. Stuff like that. So it's that kind of thing that, Friendship House, the settlement House.

DRISCOLL: Still there, and Christ Child House.

FULWOOD: Yeah, you know . . .

DRISCOLL: Did you ever do any boxing there?

FULWOOD: No. I did it at the Boys Club for a couple years and I figured that this wasn't a lifestyle that I really wanted, [laughter] getting bust in the head, you know? But Friendship House was a place where I did volunteer work. There was a guy named James Beal there. Vivian Williams. Dr. Thornell Page was, you know, one of the organizers of Marion Barry's campaign and all that. These were all people that taught me an awful lot about giving something back because they had a philosophical belief that the price for life on Earth is service. And so you got a chance to meet all these kinds of people. Ann Cook at the Arthur Capper Rec Center. We used to have the nightly dances. My department and I, Chuck Seafers [?] would go down there and work the dance, make sure there were no problems. We knew all the kids in the neighborhood because we were taught this very early on by the Oliver Thompsons and the Hollands, and the Queens and people like that. Like I say, Tom Queen, who lived across the street from me, I think 301 Kentucky Avenue, grew up there, has his law office at 530 Eighth Street SE. I mean, right in the same neighborhood. Doesn't live too far from me down here on Baker Drive. So we still see each other, still call and talk to one another, and things of that nature.

DRISCOLL: That's Tom Paine?

FULWOOD: Queen. And his law office is Queen and Associates, 530 Eighth Street SE. Right up from the Marine Barracks. And, you know, the role of the Marine Barracks in the neighborhood. The Marine Corps and their involvement over years in cleaning up the neighborhood, and things of that nature, how important all this was. And we used to go down to the Friday night drills. My wife and I went down, guests of the Commandant on a couple of occasions. So all of that, everything, kind of coming together as a part of the neighborhood, a real part of the neighborhood and developing over time a tolerance for things that are different. You know, the gay community started to locate there, and have clubs and things of that nature. And Gary Abrecht was our liaison with the gay community to make everyone more sensitive to this whole idea that hatred was a bad thing. You know, you don't have to agree with people, but hatred was a bad thing and to work through those kinds of things so Capitol Hill, I think, has been one of the real leaders in that, in a city of all kinds of people with all kinds of views. Sometimes I can see it, like it was just yesterday when we would climb the fence and take the ice cream or go and get some soda off the trucks, or the Mann's Potato Chips, and how all of that made for this mixture of community, of neighborhood and how important that was.

Rick Bolden, a guy named Rickie Bolden, who is still active in the boxing community, puts on these great boxing shows. He used to work at the Boys Club, played football at St. Cyprian's -- another family out of St. Cyprian's. I went to a church named Purity Baptist, which is at 1325 Maryland Avenue NE. My mother used to get us up and my brothers and I would walk to church on Sunday. You know, if you didn't go to church, you didn't leave the house. And we'd go to the country in the summer months. My brother and I would be put on a train and go down South. But our family was located right in that community and there are an awful lot of relatives that live in the city of Washington but right in that community. My Aunt Sarah would come by the house and bring food. It wasn't uncommon to go to your neighbors and say 'can I borrow a cup of sugar.'

DRISCOLL: Hello. {Sound of woman entering in background}

FULWOOD: My wife Ruth.

DRISCOLL: Hi. Thanks for sharing him with us this morning.

FULWOOD: And so, it was all those kinds of things that really made for, you really knew everybody.

DRISCOLL: Was there . . .

FULWOOD: Like Cheers, you know, where everybody knows my name.

DRISCOLL: Was there much back and forth with white families?

FULWOOD: Yeah. There was a family that lived in the, on 13th Street, you know where the public housing is right there on the corner, well there were regular houses there before and across the street was a grocery store that's now a house. There was a family that lived there called the Matthews family. The son's name was Jackie, a big kid, bigger than us. Because we were little guys. We'd go there and his mother was really, really a sort of, she did housework, really just a nice lady. So we'd go by there and she'd give us food and we'd play with Jackie and we'd go on the playground. His father was a nice guy -- drank a lot of beer, but a really nice guy. Next door to me at 339, and I can't remember the name of the family, but the son's name was Bob Boy. We used to play, so we did get to know families that we got up close with. Even though schools were segregated, we played together. You know, kids will tend to play together, unless you teach them something otherwise, they tend to get along with each other. So we got along very well. We used to go, there was a kid named Robbie Morman. His family. He was a tremendous basketball player, went to Chamberlain. And we'd go to his house. I can remember he had a couple of really good looking sisters. And we used to sit out there in his back yard and we'd attend a barbeque in his back yard.

DRISCOLL: So it was just . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah. The Pratt family.

DRISCOLL: So it wasn't a big deal.

FULWOOD: No. Even though we lived, we didn't go to school together until '54, we still played baseball in the alleys. We'd buy these rubber baseballs and we'd play this game called Speedin' In. And we'd play baseball and you know, they were better off than we were, so we'd use their gloves. And like I said before, we'd go sit in their house and they'd have Oreo cookies and milk, and we'd sit and talk. So the people who still lived in the neighborhood, we got to know them pretty well. Some of the Jewish families that owned stores, they lived over the stores. And so, we'd get to know their kids. Yeah, those things. And of course when '54 came, there was a tension that developed initially, because when we went to Eastern High School, many of the white students walked out. Anacostia was still predominantly white. Most people don't think of Anacostia as being white, but Anacostia was still predominantly white, Congress Heights and all that.

DRISCOLL: St. Theresa's?

FULWOOD: Yeah. All that stuff was still pretty much still white. So in '54 when integration came, there was a tension that developed, I think, among blacks and whites. And the tension now is at socially we're going to have to interface with you whereas before we did what we wanted to. Now, there is no legal barriers, legal impediments to allow any of this stuff because Washington, DC, as you know, was a pretty segregated town. There were places like F.W. Woolworth's where you couldn't even go in and sit down and Garfinkel's and some of these places were still segregated. The movie theaters were still segregated. They had a theater right there at Pennsylvania and Minnesota Avenue where you couldn't go to a show there. So there were all these kinds of things that did exist. But we, you know in a lot of ways, from my perspective, when I think of the neighborhood and discrimination and all those things, I think that there was an important lesson taught to us by Ms. Gregory and others -- that failure was not an option and that most blacks knew each other, no matter what your social status were, you were still black so you communicated. And so you had no choice. So the teacher and doctor and the lawyer and the truck driver and the cab driver and the construction worker all lived in the same neighborhood.

Of course when integration came, greater housing options opened and people left. And you had this decay that occurred initially. And now you beginning to get back to it. But, I don't remember, in my early childhood, hatred as such, where you saw so many whites and you hated them. That just didn't happen. The first time that I really ran into it was when we, my father took my brother and I to South Carolina, to Maysville, South Carolina, where they were born. And we went down there to see my grandmother. And we got down there and you know everything was segregated. And when you went into town, you stood outside and went to the back door and things like that. And then I was confronted by it. But we used to go back to the South every year to spend the summer. My mother would say that we needed to be away from this city living. And we really enjoyed it as a kid until I got to the age where I wanted to stay home and play baseball and do these other kinds of things and my parents said 'okay.' But there are a lot of stories about Capitol Hill. And I'll try to think of more of it as I, hopefully, have given you some information about what this place looked like.

DRISCOLL: Oh, you have. It's really wonderful to hear it in your language and from your having lived through it.

FULWOOD: It's pretty interesting. You know, I can remember Gessford Court. Adam Clayton Powell lived in Gessford Court. And we used to get an assignment up there when I became an officer to patrol that alley. Because the Capitol didn't really have a police department; they had DC policeman detailed up there and Adam Clayton Powell was pretty famous. He was a pretty gregarious guy and we used to go up and we'd have to stand in the alley. Because every now and then he'd have parties back there and everything. So I was standing in the alley one night and out came Adam Clayton Powell and he looks over and says 'How you doing Officer?' and I say 'fine' and he say 'come over there.' So I go over there and he, we stood and talked there for a minute. And he says 'come on in and have something cold to drink, it's kind of hot out there.' So went in and had a Coca-cola and he had a cigar about this long [laughter], he was smoking that long cigar, you know. So he told me, you know, that 'segregation was on its last leg,' because he had worked his way up in seniority and became a chairman of one of the committees and he had this long hair . . .

DRISCOLL: I remember [laughter] . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah. And he was well dressed, you know, and he talked about, you know, that he was going to end segregation. I must have stood there and talked to him for about an hour. He said 'I've seen you before. Any time you are up here, come up and knock on the door.' And so, [laughter] I stood there and talked to him, you know. It was really most fascinating. So I thought to myself, why is he living in the alley. To me it was an alley, but it really wasn't an alley, it was a street. There was a store right on the corner because Walter Street ran into Gessford Court. And of course Jim Adams was living at, I think, 139 12th, who was the pastor at St. Mark's. So you got to meet all these various kinds of people. Some years later, my wife and I went over to Walter Street to a party that some lady that she was working for, I can't remember the lady's name, a white woman that had bought a house up there for Christmas. And we went up there for a party. The Thompson family, all kinds of people through the neighborhood. So it was a different place. A really different place, but an enjoyable place.

DRISCOLL: Well, I hope we'll be able to continue this again at another time.

FULWOOD: Once you listen to that, you might have other questions and that kind of thing too.

END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 2

END OF INTERVIEW 1


TAPE 1/SIDE 1

DRISCOLL: Okay. I think we'd better start over just in case. This is May 13th. I'm in the home of former Police Chief Isaac Fulwood, Jr. on Southern Avenue and this is Pat Taffe Driscoll continuing with the interview which began on the fifth of this month. I did check, and all the former tapes seem to be okay and I realized I hadn't really had to ask very many questions because you had been very thoughtful in preparing a list of things that you felt it would be important to talk about. And so that's great and we can just continue with wherever you'd like to start.

FULWOOD: Just in terms of some of the additional locations that help to make up the Capitol Hill area. There was a candy store called Al Pato's. Al Pato's was a discount candy store located at 13th and E Streets SE. Also in the 1300 block of E Street SE was the Washington Post circulation place [1303] where kids would go if you worked for the Post in distribution of newspapers and you had a newspaper route. Because I had a route with another guy, we would go up and pick out our newspapers up there in the 1300 block of E Street SE, which is right across from Peter Bug's shoe repair shop which was located in what was probably Buchanan Playground at that time. So you can see the social area there. The Evening Star Newspaper was located at Second and Virginia Avenue SE. And an important part, for African Americans on Capitol Hill was the Stonewall Clubhouse. And the Stonewall Athletic Club was located someplace in the area, and I'm not sure of the exact address, but I think it was at Seventh and Virginia Avenue SE. Also in that area was a guy named John Diggs [411 12th?] who ran a bootlegger place. He was a bootlegger. You could go there in the after-hours club and buy liquor and whatever that you wanted to buy at that location. So there was a lot of social activity down there. And at the Lincoln Playground, which is now Arthur Capper, there used to be a summer basketball league where all of the players from around the country would come and play because Washington was also one of these areas of being a hotbed of basketball. So you would see Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell and all these other guys would come down there to play basketball in these tournaments in the summertime. Philadelphia would bring a team. New York would bring a team. So you would see all these various athletes who were, some of them at that time were getting ready to come into the pro's and some of them were already first year into the pro's. And some of them were just tremendous playground basketball players. So that was a pretty great social event because you would sit around and talk.

DRISCOLL: Would the kids be involved in sitting around and talking?

FULWOOD: Yeah, you'd sit there and you'd watch and you'd engage them in conversations. And they would have referees and like I said before, Ollie Thompson who was a guy from here who was a tremendous basketball player, played basketball in college. He was one of the guys who helped organize this kind of a league. The same thing at Watkins Playground as I got older, they ran basketball leagues out of that playground. So basketball was a big time sport and considering the fact that, as I indicated the first time I talked to you, that Spingarn High School which is located in Northeast near the Langston Golf Course was the high school that produced two Hall of Fame basketball players. Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing. And Elgin Baylor who is now the general manager of the -- I think -- Sacramento or San Diego, one of those teams on the West coast. And Dave Bing, who is a business man who produces iron. And so they were both very, very successful people but athletics was a tremendous part of the city of Washington, DC. And I believe that Elgin Baylor lived down in Southeast Washington. Someplace in the area of where Arthur Capper is now, someplace down in that area. So we had the chance to see all of these people. And so that was a tremendous part of the social part. St. Cyprian's, which was located at 13th and C, which eventually got torn down, had athletic teams, semi-pro baseball, football. And so sports was an integral part of it. So, like I said, families like the Fords and the Miles produced tremendous athletes that went on to play pro sports who lived on Walter Street. So all that was part of that whole environment that we grew up in as kids. That we watched playing sports and the likes.

DRISCOLL: Was the group of kids you played with integrated with black and white kids, or . . . ?

FULWOOD: No. Just basically mostly blacks. This was, keeping in mind that I was living on Kentucky Avenue in probably 1948, 1949 so integration was as far removed from life as could be. Keeping in mind that I think that Jackie Robinson didn't break into the pros until 1947 because things were segregated. But semi-pro sports was big time in the African American community. We saw this, and there were people who were literally legends on Capitol Hill that played sports. From softball to Shoeless Admy [?] who pitched fast-pitch softball to Ollie Thompson, Elgin Baylor, and all these people who played, they viewed sports as a mechanism out. So it had tremendous social implications in teaching kids how to be successful in life. That sports and team sports there's no I in team, and so you learned that you had to get along with people in order to achieve a goal. So sports taught a lesson of life. And many of the people, as I said before, Ollie Thompson, who I think epitomizes this life lesson about sports. We played very little golf because we couldn't get in the golf club. Only the historical black golf course, Langston, was one of the very few places in America where blacks could actually play golf. So it's a landmark course and on the historical black register. But very few of us played golf; the same thing with tennis. And so you generally played team sports, football, baseball, and basketball. And that was really something to see because it had, for me, great social implications. Because the people who played also went on to colleges like Wilberforce [Ohio] and historically black colleges and got an education and went on to become professionals.

So remembering that, when I lived on Capitol Hill as a young man, it was pretty much a segregated city. Which is one of the real tragedies on one hand, on the other hand it taught something about how blacks got themselves organized and churches were a significant part of it. And that's why St. Cyprian's was so, such an important part, because it had Josephite priests who were so dedicated to African Americans and that community. So St. Cyprian's was an important part. And the St. Cyprian's School was an important part in terms of providing for a quality education. So all these things were significant to the community. But they were enjoyable things because I can remember having great fun as a kid running through the alley learning how to play sports and enjoying it because it was physical fitness but the idea of the relationships that you establish and seeing these people who were tremendous athletes play was just really something. Even though many of them didn't go on to be professionals because the opportunity was not there for them to go on to be professional athletes. But I, in terms of, my personal life, people like Oliver Thompson, who as I talked about before, Mr. Hosi Lee who worked.

DRISCOLL: And how do you spell that?

FULWOOD: His first name was Hosi and his last name was Lee, L-E-E. And that was the Lee family which was a tremendous group of athletes. I mean, all the boys were tremendous athletes out of that family. Mr. Charlie Reynolds who worked at the Boys Club of America. Mr. Eddie Berry who worked at old Number 5 Boys Club. Rick Bolden. Rick Bolden was a guy who put together boxing programs and still doing it to this day. Tremendous guy in terms of influence on how people behave. He taught sportsmanship. For me, Abe Aaronsin who I talked about at the Kentucky and D Market that I worked with. Mr. Matthews who had the vegetable truck. John Diggs who ran the bootlegging joint. Ms. Nora Gregory. Interestingly, I'm going to an affair for -- her name is Nora Drew Gregory, she was the sister of Dr. Charles Drew. She's 90 years old. She's 90 years old last week. And they're having a celebration for her on Saturday up the street at the Francis Gregory Library. And I'm going by there to see her because she was an educator who came from a great tradition in her family. I think her grandfather or great-grandfather was one of the original founders of Howard University and so it's a family steeped in education. And they've stayed involved because Charlene Drew Jarvis was on the [DC City] Council for 20 years. So it's that kind of thing. You know, I talked about playground basketball and the importance of it. Brown vs. Board of Education changed Capitol Hill and other places because schools integrated.

DRISCOLL: You said that the white kids walked out.

FULWOOD: Yeah. The white kids walked out and met with the kids of Anacostia on this side of the river, because this side of the river was also just about all white. Congress Heights. This very area that we live in here, was -- no blacks lived over here in the 40's and the 50's.

DRISCOLL: Was it segregated, so that you couldn't live here?

FULWOOD: They just didn't sell houses to blacks. And some of these houses even had a clause in them that the real estate person wouldn't sell to blacks. And real estate people didn't show houses to blacks. Some of the same thing that we have today. The level of sophistication is different, but we still have really segregated communities. Not really in DC per say, but they are segregated communities. When you look at Georgetown, it's a segregated community by class. Not a lot of blacks up there, even though the slave trade occurred in Georgetown Park.

But this area here, because my neighbors, when I moved here the neighbors behind me were all white families. And they had been here for 70 or 80 years. And there's a family on the other side who, the guy who lives there has been retired for 30 years almost, it seems like, says he's never going to leave because this is where his family grew up and raised his kids. But there were other families who moved out as integration occurred. But Capitol Hill was, there was segregation on Capitol Hill. Seventh Street was pretty much the dividing line where from Seventh Street towards the Capitol was Capitol Hill. As Beau  Bogan and Barbara Held moved in and they started to develop the real estate market and gentrification occurred, then the lines continued to spread until now Capitol Hill is now all the way to the Anacostia River. Well, it was never like that. That happened over time. And you can see even the makeup of the community has changed pretty drastically. I can take you riding through that neighborhood and show you where there were no whites living. Now you go through there and there is nothing but whites. So the neighborhood did change.

DRISCOLL: I remember in the 50's, the early 50's. My mom and I moved to 718 15th Street and it was a very nicely integrated . . .

FULWOOD: Yes, change started to occur. But those were pretty much segregated neighborhoods. And it's changed and the Hill has changed.

DRISCOLL: Do you think it's for the better?

FULWOOD: Well, you know. I certainly think that there are improvements that have been made. And I hope that the people who live there are getting along better, where there's greater conversation. Because what you basically have in Washington, to me, is socially segregated communities. Basically, we don't socialize that often together. You can go to social events, I go to social events and many times I'm the only black person in there. And you see that around the city by class and race. So class is also a part of it. People who are successful tend to want to associate with successful people. So all these kinds of things occur. I don't, you know, on the one hand, I sometimes think we've come great distances. But then when I sit back and think about it, I wonder how far have we come? Are we still pretty much a segregated community. You can go to church on Sunday. We go to black churches, white people go to white churches. You know, unfortunately, that's the way it is. That's a sad commentary, but I still think that's the same way on Capitol Hill today. I think the churches that are predominantly white are predominantly white and blacks don't go there.

DRISCOLL: I know that at St. Peter's we're about 50/50. Maybe that's partly the result of St. Cyprian's closing.

FULWOOD: It's partly the result of St. Cyprian's. And it's also a greater effort, I think, or a greater consciousness on the part of the Catholic church . . .

DRISCOLL: Maybe, for social justice.

FULWOOD: For social justice, that it's a good thing to have social interaction and integration. And the fact that the Catholics were thrown in with 'kikes,' 'coons,' and Catholics.

DRISCOLL: Absolutely, yeah. Absolutely.

FULWOOD: So because the Catholic church had taken a position on the integration of society and people being treated fairly. And fortunately, for Washington, we've had fairly good bishops who've been here who pushed social justice. So that maybe part of the problem. But other denominations haven't come so far. So where I go, to Ebenezer AME, there aren't any whites there. One or two every now and then, other than that they're black and it's a large church with about 10,000 members. So you know, you don't see that and I can remember, one other thing to mention, we're talking about churches, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry.

DRISCOLL: Yeah, that was one of the things I wanted to ask you about.

FULWOOD: The Capitol Hill Group Ministry when Jim Adams was at St. Mark's and the group of churches there got together to try to figure this thing out, that social justice was important and churches were segregated and try to make an effort in that direction. Reverend Duane Ramsey. These were men that, for me, Reverend Brown, men who had a vision about the world. That Christianity meant something. That if it meant anything, it meant social justice. That people had to live out the pronunciations that you have in church. That they believed that you can't live this out if you come to church on Sunday and everybody looks absolutely like you and that there had to be a social effort made.

So they tried to pull all the churches together on Capitol Hill and on Easter Sundays we'd all march to Lincoln Park and this was, I think this was a pretty significant thing. I mean if Capitol Hill means anything in this progress, I think the Capitol Hill Group Ministry had an awful lot to do with it in terms of just their views, trying to get the churches to integrate. You couldn't stand in church on Sunday and look at God and say that God is blue-eyed, long hair and he looks like us and that anything else is bad, or whatever, and that we believe in this Christian beliefs, and then not carry it out; that does not make an awful lot of sense. People like Jim Adams and Duane Ramsey who believed it, I mean believed it down in their soul and worked at it, then didn't just articulate it, they actually went out into the community and talked to community groups that participated. Their churches were actively involved in community meetings and having church services where they invited other churches in -- Mount Joy and other churches to come over and do joint services. So the Capitol Hill Group Ministry for me was a significant part of trying to improve the quality of life and working on social issues with Friendship House.

DRISCOLL: I was going to ask about Friendship House and Christ Child House. I helped integrate Christ Child House way back when.

FULWOOD: It was important you know. When I think back to Friendship House, particularly Dr. Thornell Page, who became active in politics after leaving the House, but who worked to try to create lines of communications and tried to benefit the neighborhood, tried to improve the quality of everybody's life -- Vivian Williams, James Beal, Raymond Smith, a guy who was a substance abuser, and then got his life cleaned up and became active in trying to get treatment for people who were addicted to drugs. And was active in terms of trying to help communities become better, working with the police to make sure the police treated people with respect and dignity.

So, these places have a significant impact and interestingly that Friendship House still stands after all the years and all the things that they did. Christ Child House had a gym in there, you could play basketball and all these other things. You know, how all of these things also got VISTA volunteers involved in the community and most of these volunteers were white, young idealistic people who came in talking about a vision of a better world and so Capitol Hill offered that possibility. If it's anything, it is like the song in Cheers that everybody knows your name . . .

The Capitol Hill had the prospects because it was a small enough community where you could run into people. The stores were small, they weren't large. The Safeway used to be located at, across from the Eastern Market. So there was always the Safeway down at Seventh Street -- Seventh and G, down in that area  [522 Seventh Street SE]. So there was all these things going on that were self-contained. So you really, in effect, you walked around and there were small parks. Garfield Park. You know, the park across from the Fifth Precinct or 1D1, Lincoln Park. That became places were people met. They walked their dogs, they talked to each other, they developed friendships and relationships. The Hawk & Dove, Tunnicliff's Restaurant on Capitol Hill. I would go there whenever I, even after I moved off the Hill. We'd go there and sit down and have lunch. I met reporters there, friends. To a point where you got to know everyone. The Hawk & Dove, those kinds of things.

You got to know people. You got to know people who were business people because they took more of an interest in the neighborhood. I think about Don Denton. Don Denton who put together a program at Potomac Gardens to help kids. Raised money. The Capitol Hill Business and Professional Association [Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals]  who became actively involved in the community, who took an interest in . . . We had fights with them about the bus stop at Seventh and E. People going to Anacostia -- and there was a struggle about that bus stop. I got into heated arguments with Don about it. But we developed a relationship. I still stay in touch with him now and then because he was an active guy in the community who cared about Capitol Hill. Obviously, the business people had an interest, a financial interest, but I think there was an interest that went beyond that, based on some of the things they did with community organizations in terms of raising money and in terms of trying to create that sense of community which was an important part.

John J. Kenney who was the commanding officer in the Fifth Precinct when I became an officer and got assigned there. [He was] a guy from Illinois [who] had sense that the community was going to change. He was the guy who -- whites and blacks couldn't ride [together] when we first got there, but John J. Kenney was the guy who was saying to the white officers and to the white officials that 'you need to get prepared for this, change is coming. It's not something you can have any control over. You can either come willingly, or you'll come kicking and screaming, but you will come. We're going to integrate these cars. All these things are coming. You're going to begin to see black police officials and you need to get prepared for it, and the neighborhood is changing -- Capitol Hill is changing.' He was an interesting guy who got involved -- I worked for him -- in having Christmas parties for underprivileged kids. We had one of the first in the city. We had a couple hundred kids at the old Holy Comforter School where we had turkeys and gave away bicycles. The community was beginning to recognize, I think, that either you can become a participant in making it better or you can live in some ivory tower somewhere off, with nowhere to go. That the world was in fact changing. The civil rights movement was kicking into high gear and that change was coming. You can either get involved in that and make it better or you can sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. Because the world was certainly going to go by if you weren't careful. Capitol Hill provided tremendous opportunities, tremendous families came out of there. As I indicated earlier, Thomas Queen, who lived across the street from me, whose family, two of the boys ended up being lawyers. He has his law office down at 530 Eighth Street SE. He's someone you should talk to because he's stayed on the Hill and is a very interesting guy, very active in the legal community. Very sharp guy with an awful lot on his mind. But those are the things that I was going to say to you. I guess I mentioned Sherrill's Bakery.

DRISCOLL: Can I, before I forget, ask you too about the Black and White checkered pie place just across Pennsylvania Avenue just in Anacostia.

FULWOOD: Yeah, gosh, I don't remember the name of it, but I remember it.

DRISCOLL: I can remember walking across the bridge when I lived on 15th Street to go after Mass and get pies across Pennsylvania Avenue.

FULWOOD: Well, we did the same thing. You could walk, they used to make, we used to get French Apple Pie. They made a great French Apple Pie. The other bakery we used to go to was on Eighth Street SE was Jetmore Bakery, across from the Marine Barracks. They made a great breakfast line: cinnamon raisin buns. And on Easter, they made hot cross buns. So we used to go there and, of course, Sherrill's [233 Pennsylvania SE] was just one of the things that really made me sad when they told me that they were closing. Dottie, who I got to be friends with because we'd go by and she would send me doughnuts when I got up in the ranks in the Police Department. We'd have staff meetings and we'd call and she'd send us doughnuts. She was just a really great woman and her mother, I guess passed away now, she must have worked until she was in her 80s, she was just there all the time. And the thing that was so significant about it was that when you went in there, time stood still. Because the waitresses were people who had been there a thousand years, the place looked the same, it had a fountain. And they made a movie, a documentary, about that bakery. I went there up until the time it closed. I'd stop in there to get doughnuts or some kind of pastry and have breakfast. As a matter of fact, I had gone in there one morning to have breakfast with a lady from the Washington Post, Sara Horwitz, and Jan Eichhorn was in there. And Jan and I stopped to talk for a minute and she said 'I need to call you.  I have something I'd like for you to do.' And so I gave her my number and that's how I got involved in the Friends of Tyler School program, and I'm still in there. I have a couple boys that I mentor. I go over there on Wednesdays, pick up my boys and talk.

DRISCOLL: What was it like at the beginning of that Friends of Tyler School?

FULWOOD: It didn't really have a place. It was just kind of wandering all over the place. Then they got permission from McDonalds to be able to meet in the McDonalds' upstairs, because there are two stories [floors] in McDonalds. And so they started doing it there and then she started to raise money. And they got a house, leased a house and now they've bought a couple houses, and they have a computer lab. They get a VISTA volunteer and they get a stipend to help with the lab. They have a part-time staffer there that is there, I think, Monday through Thursday. And they've got somewhere in the area of 85 volunteers, I think. And you know, so it's a very fascinating thing that she's done down there. If I can only get her to stop smoking. She's a woman who's committed to 'the least of these'. You know, Jan's one of these people who Jesus is looking down and saying 'this is a person who I'll bring to Heaven because she lives out what this religious stuff is all about . . . a person who touched the least of these.' Because she is so committed to it, she works at it. She is always picking up a kid trying to figure it out. She's got all these, it must be about 100 kids coming through there, with a lot of programs. Kids, raised money for kids to go to private schools, kids in college, she's had kids who've actually lived with her. She lives in Southwest and is a really serious person about making it better for the least of these. She's one of these people who believes that you cannot have a segregated society, that this world is about all of us. And that is something I've heard the Reverend Faunteroy say, that 'the price for life on Earth is service'. I think she literally lives that out, that if you serve then you are paying your price for living here . . . that there is something that you have to pay for and part of it is giving back. Jan is someone I sing her praises because I believe that she's a serious [committed person] which is an important thing.

END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 1

TAPE 1/SIDE 2

DRISCOLL: St. Cecilia's?

FULWOOD: St. Cecilia's at Sixth and East Capitol Street. I think the reason why these things pop into my mind is because I believe that it is these institutions that lend stability to the neighborhood. It is the St. Cyprian's. It is the St. Peter's, it is St. Mark's, it is Mount Joy. And these churches and recreation centers that give institutional stability which is an important thing.

DRISCOLL: Yeah, there needs to be continuity, I think, and moving in the right direction. It seems to me that you've done a good bit of that.

FULWOOD: I've enjoyed staying connected to Capitol Hill. I was up there on Saturday to get some flowers for my wife for Mother's Day and just stopped and talked to a variety of people who are still the vendors. Stopped in to the bakery. And always find it such fascinating because of the hustle and bustle of everything going on and then the flea market that's on the Hine playground. How people are meeting there and waving at each other. And Tunnicliff's [222 Seventh Street SE] was full outdoors. The outdoor restaurant was open. The art shop at the upper end of the North Carolina Avenue was open and people were out there with their wares and all that. And that's what gives the quality of life to a neighborhood and makes it so important.

DRISCOLL: And it shows that we can all work together and live together and enjoy being with each other?

FULWOOD: Yes. And people were sitting out at the Baskin Robbins ice cream store and at Bread and Chocolate. You just kind of say, this is really what makes for a neighborhood. The outdoor restaurants, people sitting out and talking.

DRISCOLL: It's a different neighborhood from the one . . .

FULWOOD: Yeah, it's entirely different from the one I grew up in. But yet it still has the flavor of a neighborhood because people do know each other. I didn't see as many African American people up there walking around, but there still is a community. And that's an important thing. I think if Capitol Hill is to survive it is to survive based on its maintaining its neighborhood quality to it and also maintaining its diversity. Its diversity of all kinds of people becomes a significant thing. I think when you get to where the neighborhood becomes sterile, then we're not going anywhere. It is the fact that you can see people who are black and white and Asian and Hispanic, that all coexist in this environment and appreciate each other. Appreciate what each one brings to the table. When I was up there on Saturday there was some African art out there and I was looking at the African art and some Native American art and that makes us know that if America is to be anything than we must truly embrace diversity. We often talk about it and verbalize it but we don't really truly embrace it. We have to really embrace this and I think Capitol Hill offers that possibility. I think the people who live there demand that it stay that way -- that there is diversity, that the neighborhood does not change completely, that we do not price everybody out. There are things that are happening there where people are selling houses because the taxes are now greater than what their house [worth] used to be. And that's an important thing for us to pay attention to. And the growth of the Hill, we're going to build houses down there where DC General is. We're going to flatten all that and do all of these things and all of that sounds swell, but we need to be conscious of the fact that we want to maintain diversity.

DRISCOLL: Of income level as well as . . . ?

FULWOOD: Of income level as well as everything else, yeah. Because neighborhoods will segregate based on class if nothing else. Purely, if I make this kind of money, only people who make this money live here, you'll be like Potomac, Maryland where you'll be sterile.

DRISCOLL: Or like when I was a young social worker in Georgetown Neighborhood House which was the first integrated settlement house in the city. I would do home visits to my kids and they lived in Georgetown, in the alley dwellings, but I also remember one place in particular where the kid was a really neat kid, but there was no electricity in that house. And this was a really poor family, but on their mantle piece, they had tons of cut glass. Elegant cut glass pieces that the ladies for whom these woman worked had given them as gifts for Christmas. Which was like totally useless, it was a gesture, but it wasn't a thoughtful, aware, and concerned for the people kind of gesture.

FULWOOD: Right. Washington, DC, beyond just Capitol Hill, Washington, DC has a rich history for African Americans and often times the story is not told, so the people who are here now haven't an appreciation for it. Georgetown -- significant history for African Americans, but the story is kind of on the back burner. And we've got to figure out a way to tell this rich story. When you think, and I often think back to Sharon Pratt Kelley, Sharon Pratt Dixon. Sharon is a native Washingtonian. Her father is a judge on the Superior Court. They're second or third generation. The Jarvises, Charlene Drew Jarvis, her father, Dr. Charles Drew. Howard University. DC Teacher's College, which is now part of the UDC producing all the black teachers. You know, Washington has a very rich history when you look around. Fred Cook, who was the corporation counsel for the District of Columbia, who works for a big law firm, went to Coolidge High School. I mean, successful blacks who came out of . . . The Tapscott family who lived in Northeast Washington.

DRISCOLL: That's T-A-P-S-C-O-T-T.

FULWOOD: Yeah, who ended up being the chief of police in Richmond, Virginia, was the assistant chief here, went to Spingarn High School, was a tremendous athlete. Mother, second, third generation . . .  Families. When you start to really think back on how these people were here. Dunbar High School which produced untold numbers of people. Dr. William Rumsey, the late Dr. William Rumsey, his son is chief of staff for the Chairman of the Council, Linda Cropp. Second generation family. When you start to look around. Linda Cropp and Dwight. Teachers, educators. Tremendously rich history of African Americans in this town -- natives. And the story just doesn't get told enough because often times what happens now is new people move in and new people get elected so there's no historical reference, there's no history of the town. When I ride around Washington I marvel at it. There are wonderful things happening around the town, but we've got to be careful that we don't lose its flavor. When I see the new convention center, I think that this is just a marvelous building, but it did displace some historical things in that area. So it's important for us to not forget those things. As you go up Seventh Street and you get up to the Howard Theatre where they used to have shows and the old Dunbar Theatre. All these things that are related to Howard [University]. LeDroit Park . . . Washington is a city of neighborhoods which is important. A city of neighborhoods. You know, Petworth . . . you know Brookland, all of these were communities and so these communities mean something and there's something that we understood about the neighborhood and how important the neighborhood was. This is Hillcrest, this is a community.  And try not to break these things up, because, you know, Washington is a city of neighborhoods.

Capitol Hill is one of those neighborhoods. There's something important about it because the neighborhood said that I'd know my neighbor. One of the really great things, and I hope that people on Capitol Hill will pay attention to not removing the front porch. There's something about the front porch that is important. You sit out there and you get to know the person who lives next door to you. Because often times as we try to make a living, we're in a hurry and so we don't get to know our neighbors. So that front porch makes for knowing your neighbors. For me, it's my alley out here, because all of us talk and I can see people working on their yards, so we meet in the alley and we talk and we try to keep the alley clean so that's an important part. Hopefully, I'll give you a call because I know I've got to run here, if I think about anything else.

DRISCOLL: I may call you back for the spelling of things and there were a couple people whose names I realize I didn't bring with me to get corrections.

FULWOOD: Thank you again.

DRISCOLL: Thank you.

END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 2

 
    END OF INTERVIEW  
 
This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck
Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.