Washington Bar hosts a night of passion and purpose

She is the host of a popular morning show on National Public Radio. He is a trial lawyer with a long list of high-profile clients, including Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick, the parents of deaceased former Washington intern Chandra Levy, and former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson.


D.C. lawyer Billy Martin and his wife NPR Radio Host Michel Martin at the "Red Dress Red Tie Ball" Valentine's Day gala. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Post)

“Date night is the most important night of my life,” Billy Martin said. “I have to go to work, but in order for me to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face, I have the support of a lovely wife and a lovely woman. She rounds out my life.”

 Michel Martin, host of  NPR’s “Tell Me More,”said there is no substitute for finding time for romance. “You got to take a minute no matter who you are to reconnect. It is important, especially when you are busy.”

The Washington Bar Association was created 87 years ago during a time when black lawyers weren’t allowed admittance into white bar associations, according to the group’s President  Iris McCollum Green Esq. The organization has revived a pre-Valentines tradition started by a legal organization that included people such as  famed Howard University Law Professor Charles Hamilton Houston.

“Eighty-seven years ago, [black lawyers] couldn’t even use the courthouse restrooms and cafeteria. To combat segregation, Houston, who trained Thurgood Marshall, developed the framework that led to Brown V. Board of Education and the desegregation of schools and other things.”

In addition to dinner and an outfits contest, the highlight of the evening came when Green and the widow of former D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Eugene N. Hamilton presented the Humanitarian Award named after him to TV One owner Cathy Hughes. In her career, Hughes has gone from owner of one station, WOL-AM, to the largest network of radio stations in the county.

 Hughes used the occasion to introduce the new President of TV One and to talk about the network’s newest program dedicated to finding missing people in the African-American community.

“No one has ever gone looking for missing black people. At first it was going to be looking for black children,” Hughes said.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, said the evening was special because organization honored an icon in the community, and he got to spend quality time with his wife.

 “The Washington bar has tried over the years to lift people up, people who have been involved  in not just the law but the African American community,” said Roberts. He then reflected on his date. “It is important to be able to keep connections with the one you love.”

Read more on The Root DC

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Hamil Harris is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of The Washington Post.

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