Today April 4, 2012 is the 44th anniversary of the DC 68 riot, triggered by the assassination of Doctor Martin Luther King, a man of peace, who I am

certain would never have wanted his death to cause riots throughout this nation.

I have written many articles on my riot memories which can be located on my blog WWW.LARRYROSEN.ORG.

Today, I felt very happy, when Ray Flowers, a devoted former employee of my drug store Smith Pharmacy, called to mention some of his memories that

occured during the riot,and before and after,that night..

Ray Flowers,who happens to be an  Afro American U.S. citizen and I, have kept in touch for approximately 30 years when I located his address.

Ray, as was  the custom for over 40 years ago still calls me “DOC”, as was the custom to address some pharmacists, and some drug store proprietors.

Ray recalls coming from the South, where as is known there was extreme discrimination against Afro Americans, before the 60’s.

I hired Raymond around 1960 to work in my soda fountain -lunchenette department, where he performed in a dependable and excellent manner,

always working extra time, when my other soda fountain employees, could not show up.

About a year,before the riot, Ray secured employment in the Montgomery Country school system, as a maintenance employee, finally working his

way up to supervisor.

He lived in the Clifton Manor apartment house next to the drug store, and when I first got word of the commencement of the DC riot, I phoned Ray  to remove some important documents located in the drug store, which he accomplished. He kept me informed of the riot activity, first the looting on the evening of April 4, 1968, and again phoning me on the evening of April 5, 1968, exclaiming, “DOC, YOU ‘RE  GONE”, THE DRUG STORE IS BURNED   DOWN”.

I lost contact with Ray,for about 10 years or more,  after not reopening Smith Pharmacy, and fortunately encountered an old drug store employee who informed me of Ray’s whereabouts.We got together, and periodically have kept in touch occaionally meeting to recall the pharmacy days,remember that some regular customers, like Geraldthe Hawk, Jitterbug, Chuck, Charlie the Barber, Jolly and others that  have vanished.,and probably passed away.

Ray’s opinion was that many of the looters and burners were individuals who did not live in the immeadiate area, and arrived from many other locations.

He recalled that many of the former Columbia Heights residents, moved out of the neighborhood, because many of the large and small grocery stores,

as well as many service retail businesses, were destroyed and decided not to reopen.

Some time ago, my better half and I attended the funeral service of Ray’s wonderful wife Juanita in Maryland. I also remember Ray’s brother,Roy

who helped me on the fountain luncheonette, and who has passed away.

I was very happy when Ray, joined me, and my family and friends, to celebrate my 80th birthday, 8 years ago.

Again, I was very happy when Ray joined me and my family to celebrate the erection of a permanent historical sign by the DC Cultural Tourisim organization, of Smith Pharmacy, across the street from its former location,some time ago.. The DC Cultural tourism group  erects permanent  historical signs  throughout the DC’s different neighborhoods.The entire Columbia Heights neighborhood was redeveloped now featuring stores like BEST BUY, TARGET,and manother well known large businesses.o

After the sign ceremony, we all enjoyed a great dinner at Christfield’s well known restaurant.I hope to hear many more greetings from Raymond, with “HELLO DOC”, a former great employee and friend.!

Larry Rosen (called “DOC” from 1959 to 1968)

Email Lazer66@MSN.COM









No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Comments RSS Feed