Posts Tagged William Alston-El

William Alston sentenced for attempted burglary & armed robbery [Washington Post, 27 April, 1972; B2]

William Alston _ sentenced 1972

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“Nine Arrested on Drug Charges After 2 1/2 Month District Probe” [Washington Post, June 2, 1980]

WP_6.2.1980 _ William Alston, 32 - distribution of drugsNine persons were arrested Saturday on drug charges stemming from a 2 1/2 month investigation of drug trafficking in far Southeast Washington and on the fringes of Capitol Hill.

Seven of the nine were arrested after an undercover office allegedly made 60 buys, mostly of heroin, from them during the investigation, according to narcotics detective Alan Penburg. More arrests are expected, he said.

The investigation, spearheaded by Sgt. Raymon Gonzales, concentrated on drug activity around Talbert Street and Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast and 15th Street and Independence Avenue east of the Capitol, he said.

The undercover officer purchased bags of heroin for $25 and $50, Penburg said.

Arrested and charged with distribution of heroin were Ralph Magruder, 32, of 1204 Talbert St. SE; William Alston, 32, of 1523 17th St. SE; Eugene Davis, 20, of 1227 Talbert St. SE; Andre Taylor, 19, of 1634 Independence Ave. SE; Keith Robinson, 23, of 2104 Savannah Terrace SE: John H. Mathis, 23, of 1147 Oates St. NE, and John E. Burroughs, 42, of 5405 21st Ave., Hyattsville.

Stephen S. Young, 36, of 183 Elmira St. SW, was charged with possession of marijuana and heroin and Robert E. Williams, 60, of 602 Tennessee Ave. NW was charged with distribution of Preludin.


“Nine Arrested on Drug Charges After 2 1/2 Month District Probe,” Washington Post, June 2, 1980, B5.

[Editor’s note: William Alston-El is a community activist and property manager in Anacostia and the surrounding environs today.]

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William Alston-El with reporter from Al Jazeera America [W Street SE, August 2013]

William Alston-El and reporter from Al-Jazerra America


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Anacostia’s Train Rolls In [Washington City Paper, May 18, 1990]

WCP_ May 18, 1990 _ Anacostia's Train Rolls InWilliam Alston-El, Rev. Oliver “OJ” Johnson, and others I’ve spoken with over the years tell me there were more businesses on the commercial corridors of Anacostia before the arrival of the Metro station than there are today.

In reviewing Vertical Files on Anacostia I re-discovered this article, that is now more than 24 years ago, from the Washington City Paper which features Prof. Dorn McGrath. (McGrath was kind enough to ride around Old Anacostia earlier this year and reflect on his decades of work in the neighborhood.)

Here is an excerpt from the City Paper article:

“For Anacostia, the Green Line is the latest in a long string of undelivered development promises. ‘Each election year we have a new name for the revitalization of Anacostia,’ says [Cardell] Shelton. ‘We had the Anacostia Renaissance in 1982, we had the Anacostia development plan. Always a new highlight, a new thrust. ‘Moses is coming to Anacostia.’ ‘Save Anacostia.’ They’ve never materialized. Moses hasn’t gotten here yet. People are still waiting on Anacostia.”

The Barry administration planners, faithful adherents of the ‘money follows Metro’ dictum, are billing the Metro stop as a ‘regional center for economic development.” John Moore, an administrator in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, prophesizes that commercial development will radiate outward from Anacostia to others parts of the economically strapped Ward 8. “That station will serve as a catalyst for development projects throughout the community,” says Moore. “Our people still believe that the Anacostia Metro site may be the best development opportunity in the city at this time. You notice I didn’t say ‘east of the river.’ I said ‘the city.'”

To lure big developers to Anacostia, Moore and the city have sketched plans for a 125-acre theme park on federally owned land surrounding the station. Dubbed the Anacostia Cultural Complex, the $200 million scheme is touted as the Mall East – complete with a man-made lagoon, an amphitheater, a half-dozen museums, a national aquarium, bike and pedestrian paths, a marina/restaurant/cinema complex, and a “high density” retail area (read: Shopping Center) along Howard Road SE. Moore predicts that the complex will have a magnet effect, drawing commercial developers to build nearby.

Dorn McGrath is waiting for the train, too, though he is not starting a business or drafting blueprints for a waterfront theme park. McGrath, a professor of urban planning at George Washington University, also wants development to spiral outward from the Metro stop. But his first priority is the spiral’s center, the historic commercial and residential area known as Old Anacostia.

“Nobody’s making any new land in the District of Columbia, and this is one of the areas that has room for development,” McGrath says. “But it’s a much more delicate design problem. You have this somewhat simplistic thinking about creating Tysons Corner or Roslyn over there, just because it’s at the intersection of the Metro, I-295, and Suitland Parkway.


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Contribute to a new book on Anacostia …

William & John _ flyer


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2nd Annual Historic Anacostia Earth Day Cleanup — Saturday, April 26th from 10 am – 12 pm at Old Market Square

10296406_565116066929413_7159150328724896273_oAnacostia Trash Talk would like to invite you all to the 2nd Annual Historic Anacostia Earth Day Cleanup.
The cleanup will be held Saturday, April 26th from 10 am – 12 pm at Old Market Square (14th & V Street SE). Trash bags and gloves are provided!
If you can’t attend but still want to help out….
1) You can help pass out or print flyers, and invite your neighbors to the event!
2) Report illegal dumping, blocked sewer drains or weed removal to the city. Simply call 3-1-1 from your phone, download the DC 311 app or visit .
3) Help pick up trash in and around your property that day!
4) Email me offline about joining the Anacostia Trash Talk Team for our quarterly cleanups!
Alexis Goggans
On Behalf of the Anacostia Trash Talk Community Group

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Police look for shell casings on the estate of Frederick Douglass; 3 shot in Historic Anacostia on Easter Sunday

Police look for shell casings on grounds on FDNHSThe Southside is the apocalyptic side of the metropolis.

Around each corner in Anacostia is an unknown glimpse of either a faded and forgotten history or a seemingly random outburst of violence. In recent weeks a half-dozen shootings and homicide within the boundaries of old Anacostia have encircled the home of Frederick Douglass. A daylight running gun battle at the junction of 14th Street, Cedar Street and High Street left three wounded this past Easter Sunday.

“The devil doesn’t recognize any holidays; he doesn’t take the day off,” says William Alston-El, a community activist. “I haven’t seen it this bad in years.”


NBC Washington, 4.21.2014, “Police Investigate Triple Shooting in SE DC

Washington Post, 4.20.2014, “3 men shot in Southeast

WJLA, 4.20.2014, “Three shot, 1 seriously wounded near Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Homicide Watch, 4.9.2014, “Tuesday Night Shooting Victim Identified as Virgil Wood

Washington Post, 4.9.2014, “Man fatally shot on street in Anacostia

WUSA, 3.14.2014, “Police hunt for suspect in SE shooting death

Washington Post, 3.14.2014, “Police seek four men in Southeast Washington shooting death

Neighbor testimonials via 7th District listserv

Apr 14, 2014, at 12:36 PM,

Commander Hoey,
I must state that I’m happy to see shooting abatement in some parts of SE. However, that is not so at 16th & V Streets. Since yesterday evening, 4/13/14, yes, Palm Sunday, a female was shot as she stood in that vicinity speaking with other young men. Of course this is the same area where a young man was killed on April 8, 2014.  
There are elderly residents living in single family detached homes between 16th-15th Streets on V (1500) block that are afraid to sit on their porches on beautiful days because of the drive by shootings in area. Anyone can become a victim in such situations. This is a very active crime ridden (shooters’) area & I believe one way some of this can be solved is to implement an enforcement policy – such as in Trinidad – where if you don’t live there, you can’t loiter there; ask for i.D. & send  them away. Constitutional rights are yelled about, but non-criminal have rights also. Extreme times calls for extreme measures & SE residents have to ban & support extreme measures to rid these shootings. Prohibiting guns from non-criminals have not abated the shootings in SE. I’m afraid to walk on Good Hope between 16th -MLK because of the congregants of unsavory characters along those blocks…just hanging out! Some months ago, a bullet landed in my roof.
Commander Hoey, what is the condition of the lady shot? Have you any suspects in custody yet?
Mary Buckley – Ward 8 Good Hope Road



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William Alston-El at Saint Elizabeths, circa 1980

William Alston-El - Saint Es 1980

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William Alston-El looking out of an Anacostia attic overlooking Washington City, February 2014.

William Alston-El looking out an Anacostia attic at Washington City, February 2014.William Alston-El has seen a lot in his life. He is a descendant of the Moors, which gave the world great engineers, mathematicians, explorers and survivors. Since 1967 William, which translates to “protector” in old English, has lived in old Anacostia. He is still in Anacostia today and is going nowhere anytime soon. It is time for him to write his story, his Anacostia story, for antiquity.

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