DC Throwback Classic 8/31/16: Let’s Remember Marion Barry, Pride Inc. and Black Jobs In #oldDC



Imagine a situation where the Federal Government would give the Nation’s Capital $17 million in 2016 to employ 1,400 jobless African-American residents and civil ights leaders like the above discussed Lawrence Guyot. No, stop laughing because in 1967, that’s basically exactly what Marion Barry engineered for #oldDC via his inspirational and influential Pride, Inc. program.

Marion Barry’s history as a rabble-rousing organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came into play in a major way in Chocolate City. Alongside Carroll Harvey and “Catfish” Mayfield, In 2016 dollars, Pride, Inc. employees were paid upwards of $700 per week to rid the city of rat infestation. As an administrator, Barry earned roughly $1500 a week, which angered some in Congress who felt — even though Pride, Inc. was successful — that the DC program was a waste, and was putting federal funds in untrustworthy hands.

In a 1967 Ebony article, “Catfish” Harvey noted that the real story of Pride, Inc. was in “building pride and dignity” within DC’s African-American population, and that “leaders with tremendous capabilities” were discovered by “giving youths responsible positions.” Ebony notes that “[team captains] once known as troublemakers advised their workers that violence was not always a solution to problems.”

As well, Marion Barry noted in the same Ebony article that “street corner winos burst into tears” saying that “in 50 years he’d never seen our kids like this,” and that older residents wanted to “keep their community clean” because of the work Pride did.

It’s 2016, and the teenagers that Pride employed could very well again be unemployed and disenfranchised African-American senior citizens or 60-plus year old “winos” in #newDC. As well, there’s a new generation of DC residents who, similar to the 1960s, are lacking skills but are a train-able labor force.

Are there $17 million federal government dollars available and a crew of social organizers willing to lead a potentially unsustainable and “undesirable” team of professionals in #newDC?

It’d sure be nice if there were…

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