A Note from the Director

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed our country’s reckoning with deep-seated systemic racism and outrage over acts of violence and inequality that persist to this day. As social justice movements continue the fight for equality, it is vital that we look back at our nation’s past and examine its present in order to create a better, more equitable future together. As we celebrate Black history, this month and every month, we would like to share with you a selection of books that give these stories their long-overdue place in American history.

The Capital of Basketball: A History of DC Area High School Hoops and DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in DC, allow us to view history through two fascinating cultural histories. The Capital of Basketball, the first-ever comprehensive look at the great high school players, teams, and coaches in the DC metropolitan area, also uncovers the turmoil in the lives of the players and area residents as they dealt with prejudice, educational inequities, politics, and the changing landscape of the city. It introduces readers to countless figures with roots in the region–including E.B. Henderson, the first African-American certified to teach public school physical education, and Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to take the court in an actual NBA game–showing their impact on basketball and beyond. DC Jazz shows the pivotal role the nation’s capital has played for jazz for a century. These stories let readers follow the DC jazz scene throughout its history, from the cultural hotbed of Seventh and U Streets and the role of jazz in desegregating the city to a portrait of Duke Ellington’s time in DC and the contributions of UDC and Howard University to the scene.

We take a closer look at the Georgetown community with Black Georgetown Remembered and Facing Georgetown’s History. Black Georgetown Remembered reveals a rich but little-known history of the Georgetown Black community from the colonial period to the present. Drawing on primary sources, including oral interviews with past and current residents and extensive archival research, the authors record the hopes, dreams, disappointments, and successes of a vibrant neighborhood as it persevered through slavery and segregation, war and peace, prosperity and depression. Facing Georgetown’s History: A Reader on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, available in summer 2021, introduces readers to Georgetown University’s involvement in slavery and recent efforts to confront its troubling past.

Also available in summer 2021, Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, DC allows us to see history through the eyes of George Pointer—an enslaved individual who purchased his freedom in 1793—and six generations of his descendants as they lived and worked in our nation’s capital.

With all best wishes,

Al Bertrand
Director, Georgetown University Press