Washington, District of Columbia 2020-10-18 09:37:54 –
Like most southern towns in the 1960s, Winchester was racially isolated. However, there is one place in the city where skin color is not an issue, allowing people of all races to hang out together without feeling the social pressure to distinguish between blacks and whites. It was.
The location was Ruth’s tea room on the corner of South Kent and East Cecil streets.
Ruth and Boyd Jackson were 128E in 1925. We have opened a loose tea room on Cecil Street. Her daughter, Vivienne Jackson, took over the restaurant in 1983 and eventually converted it into a community grocery store before closing in 2005. It was demolished in September 2008, leaving a vacant lot that Winchester later decided to convert to a community park.
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Ruth Jackson Memorial Park was dedicated Thursday morning during a ceremony attended by about 50 people, from top Winchester political leaders to former employees of Ruth’s tea room.
“I was very diligent because I enjoyed the $ 4 a week I made,” recalled Brian Cook. “They gave me four ($ 1 bills) and I took them next to me and got all the changes so that something quivered in my pocket.
“I’ve always loved the family,” Cook said of Jackson. “They were always kind to my family.”
As he said, Cook saw first-hand the 94-year-old Vivienne Jackson among those who attended the ceremony on Thursday.
“It’s amazing to me and I know it makes her feel so good,” Vivienne Jackson said of the opening of a park named to commemorate her mother. “My parents gave me a lot of themselves. They loved this place.”
Winchester historian Timothy Umans, who helped create the Ruth Jackson Memorial Park, said it would be an important place for people walking, jogging or biking on the city’s Green Circle recreation trails.
“This is an important stop, especially in the following ways: [getting a] A better understanding of Winchester’s cultural history, “Umans said. “There is a lot of history here that hasn’t been told yet.”
“The loose tea room was one of the places of racism where people of all levels and people of all colors gathered,” said David Smith, Mayor of Winchester, who moderated the dedication. I will.
Smith, Winchester’s first black mayor, said he was grateful for the city’s longstanding recognition of African-Americans who helped shape the community. He noted several other prominent blacks who called Winchester home over the last two centuries. This includes the outstanding spotswood poles of baseball in the Negro League and the legendary jazz John Kirby.
Gwen Walker, former chairman of the Winchester branch of the NAACP, said it was great that the achievements of the city’s black community were accepted as a key element of Winchester’s continued success.
“African-American history is your history,” Walker said. “Your history is my history.”
She added that Ruth’s tea room is known to blacks far beyond Winchester because it is included in the “Green Book,” an annual travel guide for African Americans.
Local artist Jane Casper recalled in the 1960s when she parked opposite Ruth’s tea room and painted a business portrait while sitting in a car. The picture is currently on an information marker in Ruth Jackson Memorial Park.
“I had a canvas on the handle, and I understood all that perspective and tried to get it right,” Casper said. “It took me a few days to park there until I finally got it.”
Bill Stewart, Winchester Parks and Recreation Advisory Board President, said Ruth Jackson Memorial Park is very special to him and his fellow board members.
“This dedication is a highlight of the work of the board,” Stewart said. “Thank you for coming out. Please come back and enjoy this beautiful park.”