and Dash opens on the year 1918, the year of Armistice, which
is the title Ina gives to Part One of the edited diaries. Armistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War
I, November 11, 1918. During most of Carter’s time at Central High School, it was located between 6th and 7th Streets on O Street, a building razed
in 1951. “In 1916, [however], students from old Central moved to the new Central High
School building at 13th and Clifton Streets, where it continues
to this day. However, in 1950, it became part of the then segregated black school system, and it was renamed
Cardozo High School.” Cardozo High School is also listed on the National Register of Historic
the pseudonym ‘Jeb Alexander’ by Ina, Carter Newman
Bealer was born in Atlanta, Georgia on October 17, 1899, but his real story begins at the age of twelve with the diaries
he would keep for the next fifty or so years, stopping just a year before his death on May 11, 1965, at age 65. The reported
fifty volumes of diaries that Ina distilled into one book chronicles Carter’s life and his longtime friendship with
Isham W. Perkins (Dasham) as well as a host of other friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family members - the events
largely centered around Washington, DC.
Though Carter’s story, as presented by Ina, begins in 1918, the year he entered
college, and ends in 1945, some 20 years before his death, his diaries, according to Russell, actually span the years 1912
– 1964. These early and later diary entries were omitted from the work because, according to Ina, “Some early
entries had charm, but domestic history of the time is well known and nothing new seemed to emerge,” and as for the
later years Ina writes that Carter “…quietly reported ‘the nothingness of the last eighteen years…’”
It is in 1918, however, that Carter’s
story begins in earnest.
Monday, 5 August 1918
finishing Central High School in June, Carter is living with his family at 1424 Longfellow St., NW, the home his father purchased for the family in 1914; the same
year Carter graduated from Johnson Graded School. This area, known as Brightwood, just a few miles from Rock Creek Park, the largest area in the National Capital Parks system, is northwest of the city proper, and is about five miles from where
Carter is working as a bank clerk at the Commercial National Bank, located at Fourteenth and G Streets, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, today. The Bank is very
close to Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. This public park has long
been a cruising place for gay men. Like most young men his age, Carter is contemplating his future. More than anything
else, he aspires to be a writer - a great author.
In an entry dated 29 January 1922, Carter writes
about the humiliation he experienced when he "...failed to graduate from Central High School..." It is
unclear whether he made up his deficiencies and received his diploma from Central.
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