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D.C. United Celebrates Black History Month

D.C. United will be using their platform to focus on key initiates throughout February in honor of Black History Month. The club’s efforts will focus on three specific areas:   

  1. Educating our following on important historical events and moments of the Black community through a recommended reading list. 

  1. Celebrating the work and achievements of members of the local Black soccer and art community. 

  1. Continuing to Communicate on the critical issues that face our society as we seek to do our part in creating a more equal and equitable world.   

Educate

In recognition of black history and black excellence, D.C. United have curated the following list of recommended readings. 

Recommended Books

Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove 

 Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation’s capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America’s expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city’s rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights.  

Tracing D.C.’s massive transformations--from a sparsely inhabited plantation society into a diverse metropolis, from a center of the slave trade to the nation’s first black-majority city, from “Chocolate City” to “Latte City--Asch and Musgrove offer an engaging narrative peppered with unforgettable characters, a history of deep racial division but also one of hope, resilience, and interracial cooperation. 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

A 2015 winner of the National Book Award for non-fiction, the renowned journalist and writer pens a profound letter to his son about what it means to be Black in America in the 21st century—a place in which you struggle to overcome the historical trauma of your people while trying to find your own purpose in the world. 

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones 

Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim 

Curated by the founder of the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club comes this collection of essays—all written by Black women writers—about the importance of representation in literature. 

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi 

In this acclaimed nonfiction work, racism scholar Ibrahim X. Kendi explains an array of antiracist ideas to his readers in order to help them understand the depth of discrimination in our society and how they can stand against it. 

In this New York Times bestseller, Alexander explains how the mass incarceration of Black people in the United States is today’s version of the Jim Crow era. 

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde 

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

Adapted into a 2018 film, this novel tells the story of a teen named Starr Carter, who’s the sole-witness to the fatal police shooting of her her childhood best friend. As the tragedy hits national news, her community becomes divided and Starr must decide whether to remain private or to become the public face of a movement. 

Kindred by Octavia Butler 

In Butler’s most popular novel, Kindred follows a young Black woman named Dana. Though she lives in 1976 L.A., she’s suddenly transported to a Civil War-era plantation in Maryland. Soon, the more frequently Dana travels back in time, the longer she stays, as she faces danger that threaten her life in the future. 

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn 
In an effort to fight for love and put herself first, Patsy leaves her daughter in Jamaica to follow her oldest friend to New York. But as she’s living in America as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy must adjust to her brand new life. 

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, this modern American classic is about family, and the legacy of slavery in America. 

Passing by Nella Larsen  

The powerful, thrilling, and tragic tale about the fluidity of racial identity that continues to resonate today, with an introduction by Emily Bernard. Now a major motion picture starring Tessa Thompson and Alexander Skarsgård. 

Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter by William Wells Brown  

A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States is an 1853 novel by United States author and playwright William Wells Brown about Clotel and her sister, fictional slave daughters of Thomas Jefferson.

Celebrate

Throughout February, D.C. United will be highlighting inspirational soccer figures within the DMV area along with local Black artists.  

Figures in Our Sport:

  • Phillip Gyau - Howard University Men’s Soccer Coach: Gyau has been the head Men’s Soccer coach for Howard University since 2014. He is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland and prior to making the jump into coaching, he had a ten-year professional playing career, which included three years playing for the United States Men’s National Team.  
  • Jonny Kamara - Academy Development Director, Virginia Legacy Soccer Club: Jonny Kamara is an Academy Development Director for the Virginia Legacy Soccer where he has dedicated his time to thousands of young soccer players who have played at the club. Before he started coaching, Jonny played collegiately for the College of William & Mary and later played professionally for the Richmond Kickers.  
  • Nathaniel Scere – Assistant Director, Valley United Soccer Club: Nathaniel Scere is an Assistant Director of Valley United Soccer Club where he helps in providing free and low-cost coaching to young soccer players in the area. Nathaniel moved to the United States at 15 from Liberia and grew up in Roanoke, Virginia before playing in college at a Tusculum University. Before coaching with Valley United, Nathaniel returned to Roanoke to help coach WIlliam Fleming High School.  
  • Keith Tucker – Soccer Specialist, DC Scores: Keith Tucker joined DC Scores in 2011 with the goal of helping enable kids in the Washington D.C. area to reach their full potential on and off the field. Tucker was the head coach of his alma mater, Howard University, for 26 seasons from 1981-2007, including taking an undefeated team to the 1988 NCAA Championship game and being named National Coach of the Year. Tucker was also the head coach of the Bermuda National Team during their qualifying rounds for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • Charles Robinson – Dean of Students, Truesdell Elementary School: Charles Robinson is a native Washingtonian who has served his community through education and soccer for over 30 years. He has mentored countless students and teachers and has helped the Truesdell DC SCORES Team win several championship awards in poetry and soccer. “Coach Robinson,” as he is known by his students, was the recipient of the Archdiocese of Washington’s Outstanding Young Achievement Award and is a D.C. Public Schools Rubenstein Award recipient for his outstanding service to his school community.

Local Artists

  • Amber Robles-Gordon: Amber Robles-Gordon is a painter with over 15 years of experience in exhibiting and art education and has had her paintings exhibited nationally as well as in Germany, Italy, Malaysia, London, and Spain. 
  • Anthony Harvey: Anthony Harvey is the founder, creative director, and designer of Indiskreet, a charitable urban fashion brand which repurposes at least 10% of its profits to provide apparel to homeless shelters in the Washington, D.C. area. 
  • Kaliq Crosby: Kaliq Crosby is an airbrush artist and native Washingtonian who has been airbrushing vehicles, murals, and clothing in the Washington, D.C. community for over 20 years.

Communicate

Critical Conversations - The Intersection of Race and Sports

Our panel:

Danita Johnson: President of Business Operations at D.C. United

Phillip Gyau:  Howard University's Men's Soccer Head Coach

Jennifer King: The Washington Football Team Assistant Coach

Charles Robinson: DC SCORES Coach

 

Take a look back at D.C. United's important dialogue about racial equality that the club started in June 2020 with their Critical Conversation series.