04
Sep

AFTER THE DC 68 RIOT

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As previously recorded, my drug store, Smith Pharmacy, 2518 14th Street,N.W. was burned down during the DC 68 riot that occurred on April 4, 1968.

As many other riot victims, I made the decision not to reopen the pharmacy. For about two months, I didn’t do very much, except wait for some insurance compensation. I finally received a payment which I felt did not fully compensate me for my loss,since there was no insurance compensation for loss of good will–the livelihood value of a business.A motion to compensate merchants for that lost was made by the DC Council to the then mayor Walter Washington, but nothing ever happened.
I obtained a job after the riot with the Washington Wholesale Drug Exchange, a wholesale drug corporation that was similar to District Wholesale Drug where I had been employed nine years during the 50′s.
In 1970, I purchased a news snack stand in a downtown, office building located at 1828 L Street,N.W. It wasn’t a drug store but the hours of operation were Monday to Friday, no week ends like hours at Smith’s Pharmacy.
I enjoyed the change, except an unexpected event occurred about two years after I was there.
Two young men entered the premises, with one
of the men pointing a gun at me. I don’t recall hearing the words hold up,but I did hear “OPEN UP THE G—AM register, I complied. One of the young men scooped up most of the cash, leaving the singles. During the holdup, I recall that it appeared to be a dream,–I couldn’t believe it was happening.
At one point one of the hold up men,said “We ought to shoot him”. Finally the two men just laughed and ran out of the store.
The police arrived, and asked me to look at a book with photos of potential suspects. I didn’t identify the robbers, but did recognize a few of the men who were customers of mine at Smith’s Pharmacy.Looking back, I recall that I was never held up while operating Smith Pharmacy. Getting heldl up in the lobby of an office building was a bit unusual.
After a while, I received an offer to sell the stand which I finally did. I will continue my future experiences as a “Small businessman”,on future posts.

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