Every Sunday at 3 p.m., as long as the whether permits, at the peak of Meridian Hill Park in D.C., an oasis of people from all different walks of life come together to create a drum circle. There are blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians and anything else you can think of in one space at one time drumming and dancing. For the six hours that they are in the park, these people who ordinarily might not notice each other seem to be united by the rhythm of the drums. Everyone is in harmony even if some of them are rhythmically challenged.
As the legend goes, on February 12, 1965 the day Malcolm X was assasinated, drummers gathered to honor the fallen leader. Ever since then the circle has been known as the Malcolm X Drum Circle. The drummers not only drummed for Malcolm X, but also for their African heritage. Although some who participated in the drum circle during the 60’s and 70’s are still around, a lot has changed. There are those who still remember the tradition, but there are also those who bang on the drums aimlessly and are not aware of the historical significance of the drum circle.
Whenever I go, I find myself not being able to stop myself from dancing because the rhythms of the drums are so powerful. If you do not believe me here is an audio slideshow that I made to show just how powerful the drum circle is. Warning these photos cannot compare to the real thing.
If you are ever in the District you can catch the Malcolm X Drum Circle in action at Meridian Hill Park, at 16 and Euclid streets NW from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m. There is no cover charge, but you must bring your own drum and dancing feet.