Group Seeks African American Museum

Tonight marks the beginning of a fresh effort to build a national African American history museum in the District, a drive led by a group of D.C. lawyers and headlined by Harvard University professor Cornel West.

Eight years after a panel appointed by the Smithsonian recommended the establishment of a national museum of black history--and five years after Congress killed the idea--a private group aims to get the project started, perhaps on Poplar Point along the Anacostia River.

"We cannot afford to wait on Congress any longer," said Robert L. Wilkins, a senior attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service and president of a new nonprofit group, the National African-American Museum and Cultural Center Inc. "That is why we created this private group to be the catalyst for action."

At a 6 p.m. reception today at the Reserve Officers' Association, 101 Constitution Ave. NE, the organization will describe its vision of a 400,000-square-foot museum, conference center and cultural complex. Tickets are $30 at the door. Wilkins said more information is available at http://www.melanet.com/melanews/naam.html.

Applications Accepted for Scholarships

Washington Gas Light Co. is offering $1,000 academic scholarships to 16 District high school seniors planning to pursue undergraduate degrees in mathematics, computer science, engineering, science, accounting, business, marketing or science. Two students in each ward will receive scholarships.

Applicants must be high school seniors and District residents, maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 or above and demonstrate community involvement. Included in the application should be two letters of recommendation: one from a high school instructor in a business or science field or from a school counselor, and one from an employer, community program supervisor or respected member of the community.

In submitting the application, students also must include a two- or three-paragraph cover letter, verification of grades, copies of PSAT or SAT results and a resume. The deadline is Feb. 20.

Applications can be obtained from school counselors and should be addressed to Washington Gas Scholarship Program, c/o Daniel Flores, 1100 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20080. For more information, call 202-624-6792.

Hearing Planned on HIV Proposal

The D.C. Administration for HIV/AIDS will hold a public hearing on the proposed Ryan White CARE ACT Title II Allocation Plan from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at One Judiciary Square, 441 Fourth Street NW, Room 1030.

The allocation plan is intended to improve the quality, availability and organization of HIV health and support services for people living with HIV infection.

The hearing will allow the public to testify on the allocation of funds to Title II programs, including regional HIV consortia, home- and community-based services and medications through the D.C. AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

To testify, call Beverly Saunders Biddle at 202-727-2500 by Dec. 30. Comments will be limited to five minutes. Written comments may be mailed or faxed to Biddle, at 717 14th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005, and must arrive by the close of business Jan. 17. The fax number is 202-727-8471.

Copies of the plan are available by calling Biddle.