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Gray Is Taking It to the Streets

Age don't mean a thing if you are Chuck Brown and still have that go-go swing.

That's the sentiment of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who proposed yesterday to name a street after the District's most legendary go-go groove master.

Brown, still going strong in his 70s, responded by singing a few bars outside the council chamber Monday.

"Chuck Brown brought a new form of music that is not only known to the city but it is now known to the nation," Gray (D) said. "He is such a tremendous role model and humble and positive figure. To do this only seems fitting."

The council bill would also name streets after Duke Ellington; poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes; and Leonard B. "Bud" Doggett Jr., the parking lot tycoon and D.C. power broker who died this year.

The bill also would send a message to Congress in regard to the city's non-voting status by changing the name of part of South Capitol Street to Taxation Without Representation Street.

Singing "it don't mean a thing if you don't have the go-go swing," Brown said having a street named for him would be special.

"Man, I can't do nothing but cry," Brown said. "I have been home from [jail] for about 50 years. I ain't been in trouble in almost 50 years, and all I do is try to create that go-go thing with a little jazz with it, with a little blues, with a little soul. It is where I come x from, you understand, the church, gospel and jazz and blues. Mixing it up. I was so glad when the other bands started to catch up to it."

The bill would designate T Street from Sixth to Seventh streets NW in Ward 1 as Duke Ellington Avenue; Seventh Street between T Street and Florida Avenue as Chuck Brown Way; and the 700 block of 10th Street NW as Bud Doggett Way.

The bill also would designate V Street from 13th to 14th streets NW as Langston Hughes Street. On the street is Busboys and Poets, a restaurant named in Hughes's honor.
The vote on the street names is scheduled for next month's legislative session.

Hamil R. Harris

By Marcia Davis  |  November 25, 2008; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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Isn't it comforting that in the midst of a crisis of homicides and stabbings that the Council finds the time to engage inthis folly.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | November 25, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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