Wear your support for Living Legends over your heart (and on your head)! Order your LLA Logo Golf Shirts ($45) and caps ($25) today. Download an Order Form.
Holy Cow Donations!
Remember to support Living Legends when get your burgers at Holy Cow Burger Joint, 2312 Mt. Vernon Avenue.
In an innovative partnership with ACT for Alexandria, 2014 Living Legend Mike Anderson gives back to more than 75 local nonprofits by donating $.25 for every burger sold at Holy Cow, Del Ray’s Gourmet Burger Joint. Living Legends is #045 on the list. And yes, they serve veggie-burgers.
Through September 8, 2014
Past Legends Exhibition
Alexandria City Hall 301 King Street, 3rd Floor Alexandria, VA 22314
September 13, 8:30 AM
Brick Dedication at King Street Gardens Park
September 20, 2014
MetroStage Theatre Night
Reception — 7:00 PM
Play — 8:00 PM 1201 N Royal Street Alexandria, VA 22314
October 1, 4-6 PM
Open House for Exhibition of African American and Women Legends at BB&T Bank
Gregg & Monica Murphy on behalf of Senior Services of Alexandria
Renner & Company, CPAs
Board of Directors
Pam St. Clair
Mary Anne Weber
Charles “Tony” Gee
A. Melvin Miller
Belinda “Billie” Morin
Connect with us on Social Media
Message from the President
While riding the Empire Builder to East Glacier Park, Mont. earlier this month I was pondering my letter. I was taken with the loss of the special things in each community. There were no signs for Mom’s Diner or local department stores… just McDonald’’s, KFC, DSW, Marshall’s, etc. I wanted to say how lucky we are that Alexandria still clings to the “special”. LLA is the perfect and unique example of that. Just to be certain I was being accurate I googled Living Legends and found what I expected and had seen before including Living Legends of Paintball, Living Legends – a rap group, etc.
The others are not like LLA at all! LLA was started locally as a community funded and supported program. We are still unique in that LLA is an art/history project rather than solely a recognition program. The others do not have the stories published monthly or collected in a fine annual catalog or videotape their Legends. They don’t likely have a Family Legends component or exhibit their photos in City Hall or have a traveling exhibition.
Like the others, LLA also says Thank You to those they honor. A perfect example was the LLA Theatre Night at MetroStage. Not only did many Alexandrians come together to enjoy a great play – Three Sistahs – but they took advantage of an opportunity to thank a group of Living Legends for work they did in the 1960s to foster civil rights in Alexandria. As each honoree arrived they received a lovely rose boutonniere from Phyllis Kennedy, Enchanted Florist. Before the play attendees enjoyed reception delicacies prepared by Cate Archuleta. After the play a scrumptious cake from Hollin Hall Pastry (arranged by Jay Palermino) was a perfect end to a perfect event.
I also want to thank several in the community who made this event possible. Presenting sponsor: Goodwin House and additional sponsors Imagine Artwear and Deborah and Lynnwood Campbell; the event committee: Janet Barnett and Carol Supplee and Cindy Savery, Billie Morin and A. Melvin Miller who researched the information about the honorees for the program insert.
Thank you, as always, for your support!
Pam St. Clair
Calling All Legends
For the second year, King Street Garden Park Foundation (KSGPF) has generously offered a name brick installed in King Street Gardens Park for Alexandria’s Living Legends for $100. This is a saving of $25 over the standard cost of $125. The discounted package offers a 2-line brick (15 characters per line) if grouped together in the Living Legends vein. Note that this offer is for new bricks only. The Foundation will not relocate any existing bricks to the Living Legends section.
The 2-line brick will say the Legend’s name and the year he or she was named a Legend, for example:
LLA – 1789
Please note that there is a 15-character limit per line. Note, too, that there is a minimum of 50 brick orders from all sources required before the order can be placed with the brick engravers.
The funds received for the bricks are earmarked for park improvements such as lighting, irrigation, landscaping, maintenance and information systems. To order, request a brochure (which serves as an order form) from Marlin Lord, MGLAIA@aol.com. Please place your order by January 15 for installation in 2015.
King Street Gardens Park Brick Dedication
Photos by Steven Halperson, Tisara Photography
Mayor Bill Euille and several council members attended the dedication ceremony for newly installed bricks at King Street Gardens Park on September 13. Special notice was given to a new vein in the brick design honoring some of Alexandria’s Living Legends. Pictured are (l-r) Mayor Bill Euille, David Martin, Chet Avery, John Porter, Joe Shumard, Kathryn Brown, Rosa Byrd, Tim Lovain, Marlin Lord, Allison Silberberg and Rodger Digilio. Council members present but not pictured here are John Chapman and Del Pepper.
2014 Living Legend of Alexandria — Mike Anderson
“Mango Mike” — A Taste for Giving Back
By Jeanne Theismann
“The heroic efforts of the volunteers and staff of Alexandria’s many nonprofits are what makes this city so special,” says Anderson.
Photo by Steven Halperson
It’s a fairly common name, with more than 40 Mike Anderson’s listed as living in Alexandria. But there is only one “Mango Mike,” a man whose zest for life has helped shape the community for decades.
“From the minute his feet hit the floor, Mike is excited about going to work every day,” said Donna Anderson, his wife of 26 years. “He loves being part of this community and the city of Alexandria is his passion.”
Born in Detroit, Anderson moved to Alexandria in 1972 armed with a degree in Management from Eastern Michigan University. He opened his first restaurant – Shooter McGee’s – in 1979 and never looked back.
“Like most people, I kind of stumbled into this as a profession,” said Anderson as he reflected on his 42-years in the restaurant business. “Just out of school, you find something to do part-time never thinking that it will become a life-long ambition.”
As a newcomer to Alexandria, Anderson found a job in 1972 working at Kings Landing restaurant in Old Town and never seemed to get out of the business since then.
BB&T Bank is proud to host an exhibition of portraits of African American and women Living Legends of Alexandria at its Old Town branches. The portraits will be exhibited through January 2 at 1717 King Street and 300 S. Washington Street. The branches are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays.
Building on a tradition of excellence in community banking that stretches back to 1872, BB&T offers clients a complete range of financial services including banking, lending, insurance, trust and wealth management solutions.
Speaking of the collaborative effort between BB&T and Living Legends, BB&T vice president Tina Townsend said “BB&T is honored and privileged to display the Living Legends Collection in both of our Old Town locations. It truly is a remarkable collection that reflects the heart of our community.” LLA president Pam St. Clair commented, “Living Legends make a huge difference in Alexandria. We appreciate the opportunity BB&T is giving us to make others more aware of all the Legends have contributed to the quality of life in our community.”
LLA honors Alexandria Civil Rights Icons of the 60s
Photos by Steven Halperson
Living Legends of Alexandria hosted its 2nd annual Theater Night atMetroStageon September 20. Guests enjoyed an evening of gospel, rhythm & blues, funk and folk music by William Hubbard. The play Three Sistahs” was inspired by Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the occasion honored those Legends who played key roles in fostering civil rights in Alexandria in the 60s: Ferdinand Day, Nelson Greene Sr., Melvin Miller, Connie Ring, Patsy Ticer, Gwen Menefee Smith and Dorothy Turner. The event also honored the memories of civil rights activists Mel Bergheim and Vola Lawson.
Front row (l-r): Ferdinand Day, Nelson Greene Sr., back row: Connie Ring, Gwen Menefee-Smith, Patsy Ticer, Mayor Bill Euille and Melvin Miller. Dorothy Turner attended the event but is not pictured here.
The activities of Alexandria’s legendary Civil Rights icons of the 60s are summarized below.
Mel Bergheim was an active member in the community and a leader in Alexandria’s movement from segregation to integration. He was elected to city council in the middle of Alexandria’s race riots and started his career promoting civil rights and neighborhood protection programs. Bergheim was part of an open-minded group of city leaders whose strong convictions were to advance the cause of civil rights in Alexandria and whose reputation was known as a force for strong commitment for changes when needed and preservation when essential. Bergheim died on October 20, 2013.
Born in Alexandria in 1918, Ferdinand Day was the first appointed African American to the City’s Public School Board in 1964. Working to achieve integration in Alexandria’s public schools Day was very active in the civil rights movement in Alexandria in the sixties. Meaningful integration in Alexandria actually occurred with the 1971 consolidation of the high schools into T.C. Williams High School and “Ferdinand was the strong voice and the strong mover. His strong leadership and ability to work with the community was what made that successful” says A. Melvin Miller, a former school board member and chair. Day was a member of the “Secret Seven” working to improve conditions for African Americans.
When he moved to Alexandria from Danville, Va. in 1953, Nelson Greene, Sr. found a very segregated southern city where blacks were the subject of racial discrimination. In the 1950s a group of black citizens formed a group that was called the “Secret Seven” for political reasons. Actually a group of eight (it was misnamed “Secret Seven” by an FBI informant), the group’s goal was to make things better for Alexandria’s African American community. One of Greene’s important contributions was that he fought for and won integrated job opportunities in Alexandria.
Vola Lawson moved to Alexandria with her husband and two sons in 1965. Active in charity work, Lawson became involved with the Urban League and demonstrated for civil rights, picketing City Hall when a confederate flag was prominently flown and when local businesses refused to hire or cater to blacks. As Alexandria’s chief administrative officer from 1985 to 2000 she championed affordable housing, minority hiring and women’s rights. She died at her home in Alexandria in December 2013 at the age of 79.
A. Melvin Miller has lived in Alexandria for over 50 years. Just after starting his law practice in Alexandria in 1958 Miller became involved in civil rights activism, doing pro bono work on school desegregation issues. Miller worked for equality and justice in all areas affecting individual civil rights. He became active in Alexandria’s African American housing issues in the 60s and this eventually became his main focus for minority and lower income individuals. Miller was a member of the “Secret Seven,” and a bi-racial committee to bring about desegregation of lunch counters in Alexandria.
In the spring of 1960, when sit-in’s were proliferating throughout the south, then Mayor Leroy Bendheim appointed a bi-racial committee to bring about the desegregation of lunch counters in Alexandria. Patsy Ticer served on the committee as a citizen member. The citizen committee succeeded in bringing about the peaceful desegregation of lunch counters in Alexandria without a sit-in occurring in the city. Throughout her career on the city council and as mayor and later as delegate to the Virginia Senate, Ticer’s concern has been the education and health of the City’s children and their families.
Carlyle “Connie” Ring moved to Alexandria in 1956 to start his law career in private practice specializing in civil rights. Ring sued the Alexandria Board of Elections in 1956 for what he felt were discriminatory practices in voter registration and settled for the adoption of a standardized registration form. Described as a conservative Republican by his contemporaries, Ring characterizes himself as a “Rockefeller Republican…nominally Republican until moving to Alexandria”. Ring chaired the Alexandria Republican City Committee from 1961 to 1968.
Dorothy Turner and Gwen Menefee-Smith worked relentlessly hand in hand to improve the quality of living in Alexandria’s low income and minority housing in the 1960s and 70s. The two are a formidable team having their own experiences of disrespect, intimidation and unfair practices living in public housing when they were young women. The women joined forces to bring about change. Working with other tenants, many associations, churches, advocacy organizations, local Civil Rights attorneys and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the two helped found the Alexandria Tenants Council with the goal of working with city officials and the housing authority to establish fair and non-discriminatory housing policies.
LLA president Pam St. Clair introduces the program.
Gwen Day Fuller (left) photographs her father, Ferdinand Day and Nelson Greene, Sr. with Greene’s daughter Nina as Alice Morgan looks on.
Kathy Anderson, President and CEO, Goodwin House, Richard Moncure and 2014 Living Legend Donnie Wintermuth.
Dorothy Turner and Ferdinand Day.
Photos by Steven Halperson
Freedmen’s Contraband Cemetery Dedication
Alexandrians celebrated the dedication of Freedmen’s Contraband Cemetery with a series of events from September 3 through 7. The City redeveloped the cemetery site into the Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery Memorial to honor the lives and memory of the Freedmen, the hardships they faced in their struggle to freedom and their contributions to the city. Since the memorial project began, over a thousand descendants of those buried at the site have been identified and located and many participated in the dedication ceremony.
Pictured here at the Descendant Reunion Banquet at the Charles Houston Center are:
Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum and LLA board member at podium with City Archaeologist Francine Bromberg
Genealogist and 2014 Living Legend of Alexandria Char McCargo Bah
2008 Living Legends Louise Massoud and Lillie Finklea with Mayor Bill Euille and Pam Cressey (right), former City Archaeologist and LLA board member.
Photos by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography
LLA Welcomes New Board Members Cindy Savery and Billie Morin
Cynthia (Cindy) Savery first lived in Alexandria in the late 80’s. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1987 where she worked for the local Public Radio station, KNPR in membership, fundraising and special events. Missing the east coast and DC area, she moved back in 1991 and has called Alexandria/Del Ray home ever since. Over the next 22 years, Savery worked at various associations in DC and Alexandria; for five of those years at The Phillips Collection in the development department.
Since retiring in 2013, she has remained active in the art community volunteering at the Smithsonian Castle and the American Art Museum. Recently she used her diverse experience to help with the Art Uniting People art exhibition. Savery is a graduate of the University of Nevada.
Belinda (Billie) Morin has worked as an analyst at the National Institutes of Health for over 14 years providing advice and evaluation for various government programs. For the past seven years her responsibilities have focused on diversity recruitment in the biomedical research workforce. She is currently chair for the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives (NAHFE).
Morin graduated from George Washington University with a B.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and an M.A. in Neuropsychology. She is an adjunct faculty at George Mason University teaching Physiological Psychology.
Chamber Business Award Nomination
Photo by Alan Dubow
Living Legends is proud to be considered for an Alexandria Chamber of Commerce business award. We have a long relationship with the Alexandria Chamber and in past years, several Chamber members have been named Living Legends of Alexandria. You can find their full published stories at www.alexandrialegends.com.
Mike Anderson, Pork Barrel BBQ — Anderson’s philanthropic contributions to the community are many, dating back to the 1980s when his Shooter McGee’s Alexandria Autumn 10K raised more than $50,000 for Special Olympics. Today, in an innovative partnership with ACT for Alexandria, Anderson gives back to more than 75 local nonprofits by donating 25 cents for every burger sold at Holy Cow, Del Ray’s Gourmet Burger Joint.
Rodger Digilio, Alexandria News — When Digilio left Federal employment, he set out to fulfill his vision of restoring historic properties in Alexandria and formed OTV, Inc. In the words of his nominator, “Without his vision, energy and commitment to the city, many historical structures would have been lost not only as buildings but as part of the living history of Alexandria.”
Bud Hart, Hart, Calley, Gibbs & Karp, PC – Hart is a well-connected lawyer who’s in demand and yet sets aside time every week from billable hours to read to children at ALIVE!. “Is it the reading?” asks his nominator, Mike Oliver. Not only that, “It’s a visit by an outsider who is saying [to the kids], “You are pretty important to us.”
David M. Martin, Gold Works — Martin, acting as a businessman, brought his entrepreneurial and political skills to help get recognition and visibility for the upper King Street commercial stretch by lobbying city officials for over a year culminating in the installation of banners and later, holiday lights.
Gant Redmon, Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, LLP — A stalwart in the city’s business community, Redmon chaired the Chamber’s Alexandria 2000 and Beyond Task Force that conducted a long-range visioning process resulting in a 58-page report made available to all Alexandria civic associations and the Alexandria Public Library.
Joan and John Renner, Renner and Company, CPA’s — The Renners proposed to their fellow Rotarians a premiere fundraising event to raise money for local charities that became the annual “Taste For Giving.”
Lonnie Rich, Rich, Rosenthal, Brincefield, Manitta, Dzubin & Kroeger — Rich sees the proximity of National Harbor as an advantage to Alexandria and supports development along the Old Town Alexandria waterfront that is vibrant, relatively low density and maintains full public access along the waterfront.
David Speck, Speck Caudron Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors — As a councilman, Speck was instrumental in bringing the Patent and Trademark Office to Alexandria and imparting the view that the growth of local business and the development of real estate are critical to the City’s long term health.
Living Legends of Alexandria |
400 North Washington Street | Suite 300 |
Alexandria, VA 22314