CROWN ME! is a book of 24 black and white portraits and two pages of conversations with each man who belongs to the Capital Pool Checkers Club. The club is located at 9th and S Streets Northwest in Washington D.C. The African American men have come to their club to play checkers at this address since 1985. Before then they met in various barber shops. The club serves as the location for serious competitive checkers as well as for joshing camaraderie. The men range in age from late 30’s to 80’s. Some men were born in D.C. and Baltimore, and others came to D.C. from the South and East to pursue education and jobs. The club has three tables set with six checkerboards in the center of the room. Oldies but goodies soul music plays, punctuated by the staccatos of the checkers as they are moved and the triumphant declarations, Put A Hat On It! or Crown Me! Cell phones ring, vending machines hum, corn pops. Adorning one wall are hundreds of snapshots of current and former members. Trophies reign high up on a shelf. Sofas and chairs line one wall, worn with use. The men sit, stand, watch and play, kibitzing. The men know one another by their handles, their checker names. The president of the club, Tal Roberts said that sometimes you know people by their nickname and don’t know their real name. We had one called E. C. Taylor, and his name was E. C. We never knew what his real name was because his real name was Ecclesiastes. And there were a lot of people couldn’t pronounce it. And nobody cold spell it. In this book you will meet The Shark, Chicago, The Stealer, The Razor, Boy Wonder, The Weasel, Butt Kicker, The Hawk, The Master of Disaster, among others. Capital Pool Checkers Club is an affiliate of the American Pool Checkers Association. They sponsor tournaments in many cities of the USA. The Foreword is written by Maurice Jackson. a professor of history at Georgetown University. Jackson is an authority on African American history and culture and a keen observer of life in D.C.
About the Author
Fleming is the photographer and recorder of interviews with 24 members of the club. Crown Me! is her third book. The other two are: IN HER PLACE: inner views and outer places, in 2000 and SMALL TOWN IN THE BIG CITY: the shopkeepers and business community of Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C. at the beginning of the 21st century. Co-author Joanne Zich. 2005. All three books are published by three sisters press in Washington D.C. Fleming retired from the National Park Service in 1994. She was a Park Ranger Botanist in Washington D.C.
Publisher: three sisters press, Washington, D.C.
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2010