HERE COME THE JUDGES: THERE WAS ONCE JUSTICE FOR ALL!

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Top: Judges, Harry T. Alexander    Luke Moore and Eugene Hamilton        Alex Williams     Henry Kennedy Jr.    Ted Newman and Larry Brown (NFL)

The DC Superior Court once set the standard for fairness, thanks to men like Chief Judge Harold Greene, Judges Harry Alexander, Luke Moore, Eugene Hamilton, Ted Newman and Henry Kennedy, Jr.  

I experienced the 1968 riots in Washington, DC up close and personal as a Roving Leader for the DC Recreation Department’s Youth Gang Task Force.  The riots in Ferguson, Missouri brought back bad memories.  I was in the middle of the chaos in the U Street NW corridor.  My co-worker and former Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood and I teamed up with the late U. S. Marshall in Charge, Luke C. Moore.  We tried to bring peace back to the community.  Luke was the first black in modern day history to head the U. S. Marshall Service.  He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The White House ordered all businesses to shut down during the riots, but Luke had a street corner meeting in front of Ben’s Chili Bowl with owner Ben Ali.  He then called President Johnson and asked him to reconsider and allow Ben’s Chili Bowl to remain open for first respondents.  They included, police, fire department, doctors and nurses and youth advocates like myself.  The request was granted—when the dust, tear gas and military personnel had cleared in the streets, Lee’s Flower Shop, Industrial Bank, and Ben’s Chili Bowl were the only businesses left standing.

 When President Lyndon Johnson ordered all businesses to shut down during the riots it was Luke Moore who called the White House and asked the President to reconsider and allow Ben’s Chili Bowl to remain open for first respondents.  They were police, firemen, doctors and nurses and youth advocates like myself who needed a place to eat. Request was granted—when the dust, tear gas and military personnel had cleared the streets, Lee’s Flower Shop, Industrial Bank, and Ben’s Chili Bowl were the only businesses still standing.    

Luke, Willie and I had walked arm and arm through the tear gas streets of NW DC trying to save lives.  Luke would go on to become a DC Superior judge and Willie Wood would be inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989.  

Out of those ashes Kids In Trouble, Inc. was born, Luke Moore’s contributions to Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports can never be measured in time or money.  

In 1971 he helped me coordinate the opening of Bolling Boys Base for juvenile delinquents. It was the first ever on a military installation in the United States.  Bolling Air Force Base was located in SE DC.  After I got the go ahead from the White House Luke went directly to DC Mayor Walter Washington and the Department of Human of Human  Resources Director, Joe Yeldell and said “Let’s do it!”  The District facilities were badly overcrowded and added housing was needed. The longevity of the Kids In Trouble Christmas Toy Party (1968-2013) can be directly attributed to him.

Luke encouraged other judges to get involved in the community including, Chief Judge Harold Greene.  He and Luke were in attendance for the grand opening of Bolling Boys Base.  The athletes, politicians, radio & television personalities would all follow their lead when it came to community involvement.  We had a great crew of judges from the DC Superior Court it was there the perquisite for fairness could be found in their courtrooms.   They included “the one of a kind” Harry T. Alexander, Eugene Hamilton, Ted Newman, and Henry Kennedy Jr.  The community and children were really First and they led by example.

Luke Moore’s contributions to Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports can never be measured in time or money.  He helped me get the Bolling Boys Base for juvenile delinquents off the ground on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC.  He went directly to DC Mayor Walter Washington and Department of Human Resources Director, Joe Yeldell and said “Let’s do it!”  The longevity of the Kids In Trouble Christmas Toy Party (1968-2013) can be directly attributed to him.

Kids In Trouble, Inc kept my wife Hattie and I in and out of the DC Superior Court with troubled kids and their parents.  The court house became our home away from home.  It was there I watched people of color and the poor get a fair trial. 

Judge Alexander demanded all attorneys, police officers and prosecutors to address all defendants as Mr and Ms in his courtroom.  This was unheard of in any court of law anywhere in the country.  Yes, there was a time when there was Justice for all in the courtrooms of the DC Superior Court and I was an eye witness.

Judge Luke Moore talks about what lies ahead for minorities and people of color in our courtrooms after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkafk63frbg

 

 

 

 

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