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The House


Temperance Hall

UNC Meeting

The Georgia Avenue Defender

Skinner's Press Conference

The "Press" Conference

Mr. Skinner called a press conference in front of Temperance Hall to voice his complaints and hopefully get some press for his cause.  The press conference was held on a weekday at 4:00PM.  I knew I had to be there to see what kind of support he received.  I realized that it would be a good idea to print my own material countering his position so the press would get the other side of the story.  I quickly typed something up before leaving work and rushed to the press conference.

When I arrived it was a slightly after 4:00PM.  I scanned the scene as I walked from the metro.  Sinclair Skinner was standing in front of Temperance Hall along with his Howard students and one lone resident from my neighborhood.  As I approached I handed them some copies of my flier and said something like “so where is the press?”  Mr. Skinner laughed and said they were coming.  One of his Howard students handed me a copy of the “Georgia Ave. Defender.”  I told him I already had a copy, but he refused to take it back so I threw it in the trash.

Several minutes went by and still no press or other supporters showed up.  Finally, a member of Jim Graham’s staff showed up.  He could see the situation as he approached with a big smile on his face.  As soon as he arrived he began jabbing at Skinner as I had asking him where the press was.  They talked for several minutes and then he said something like he had better things to do so he left (or so I thought.)

That left me there alone.  Mr. Skinner read over my flier for a second time and then approached me with his students in tow.  He started questioning me as to why I had disrespected him by printing his name on the flier.  He said I had shamed his family and his tone continued to escalate.  His students were backing him saying things like “how can you diss the man’s family; that is low!”  He continued screaming at me right in my face.  He was so close our heads were practically touching.  I could tell he had been eating something with onions that day.

On my flier it talked about how Mr. Skinner didn’t even live in the neighborhood, and that his house was 10-15 blocks south.  Mr. Skinner took offense to that saying this was his neighborhood and that I was an outsider.  He asked me where I lived.  I pointed up the street and told him the street name.  Then he asked for the house number and I told him.  As soon as I said the street address he repeated it, got up in my face, and said something to the effect of, “good, now I know where you live, you better watch yourself, I’m going to get you!!!”  I believe he called me a “little bitch,” and then walked away back to his original location in front of Temperance Hall.

I was shocked, I couldn’t believe this guy would resort to such vile tactics. Although the words he said may not sound like I death threat, the message was very clear. The situation is so hard to accurately put into words to describe how threatening it was. I was very frightened but tried to pretend like I was unfazed by it all.

Jim Graham’s staff member hadn’t left as I thought; he had gone to the pizza parlor across the street.  He came over and asked me what had happened.  He said he had seen and heard Skinner screaming at me from across Georgia Avenue.  I told him what happened and he urged me to call the police and file a police report.  In retrospect I should have, but it was a macho thing, I didn’t want to show Skinner I was afraid of him.

Click Here to see the flier I created. As you can see, I in no way “dissed” his family.  I am allowed to use his name, he was a former ANC commissioner (public figure), plus his name is clearly on the “Georgia Avenue Defender” listed as the publisher. (I realize that there were grammatical errors in the flier, but like I said I typed it up in a hurry before the press conference.)