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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reaction to the Duke Ellington Situation

As an alum of Duke Ellington School of the Arts' class of 2007, the news that my alma mater may be moved does nothing but rub me in a bad way.

Starting as a Sophomore in fall 2004, I walked the halls in a Jerry West jersey and Timberlands admiring the women, creativity and the aura of a place, that in my three year stay, became home. Lunchtime rap ciphers with my boys, arts block and an endless supply of inspiration walking through the halls got me through my day to day. The back breaking hours spent in a room with the same people everyday in an aim to put on a show was a bittersweet process that we grew to love and bask in after it was all said in done. We grew up to love the people we didn't like in many cases. We aimlessly became a family, held together with words, hues, and actions unrivaled by any other school i could think of. We did a lot of finding ourselves there. We fell in love with 3500 R st NW.

Jus the other day somebody hit me up n told me that they were trying to move Ellington out of DC's affluent Ward 2 area. They're saying that they need a neighborhood school for Ward 2 families (and Ellington is on that piece of land that they want!?).... I'm not feeling that. I think that's bullshit.... When Ellington, was opened in 1974 I'd assume that there were 2nd ward families there as well....question is, why is this a big deal to them almost 40 years later? I'm just not the one for having something i worked towards (for/in), for any significant amount of time, be taken from me in a matter of seconds; that's robbery. If this isn't robbery then I don't know what is. Maybe it's because of the black and brown faces that decorate the halls and classrooms that they want to take this from us.

I feel like that school was a blessing to me. Too much trouble, i was too familiar with, lurked inside my neighborhood school, I didn't wanna go to my neighborhood school and get involved in a lot of shit that my niggas was startin to get in to. Essentially it was the placing where my school was that brought a certain kind of energy out of me as well as many otherts. No trouble, it was serene in Georgetown. A lot of us needed that. It was a beautiful daily escape from what was waiting in the neighborhoods we hailed from.

Moving Ellington is like moving history. For fuckin Christ's sakes, this isn't like moving a library or a baseball stadium. This is moving something that has been cemented into the lives and hearts of many people. This is moving a home with a weak excuse to go along with it and I'm not feeling that at all.

I came in a boy that enjoyed writing and left a young man wielding knowledge that would forever be ingrained in the way I live my life. Graduation day came too quick and I didn't realize how much i missed it there until a whole term in to freshman year of college. In receiving news that they are trying to move my home, I look forward to hearing news that Ellington has earned it's stay. I'm not takin this sitting down.



  1. When African Americans excel the government often finds a way to halt, hamper, or try and cease that progress all together. The reason is very clear: Duke is in Georgetown and all the palefaces arent trying to have that.

  2. Moving Duke is crazy! I mean who is really complaining here. Duke has brought so much to that neighborhood. Most of the kids in Ward 2 have money to go to private school and that's where their parents send them. I'm not accepting that fact that "they want a school to send their kids". Do they not know how many closed down schools in the Ward 2 area that can be made into a school for those families? I mean they allowed MTV to buy one of those schools and change it into a house for a reality show, so why can't DC GOV do the same to make it a new home for high schoolers in that area. 1ST they fire teachers for no reason to cut back money, then they are trying to move a place with so much history and that has helped so many people. It seems like Michelle Rhe is enjoying and like making these crazy decisions. I just want her to know that she shouldn't get relaxed in the chair cuz I most def can't wait to vote her and Fenty out the office. And the fact Fenty's nephew went there and for him to back it up is crazy! I'm sorry but I don't like the decision that came out of nowhere to move Duke is cool, not cool at all.