The Nov. 9 obituary of Albert Long incorrectly listed his occupation. Mr. Long worked as a printer at The Washington Post. (Published 11/13/04)
Albert Long, 91, who since moving to Southeast Washington in 1957 worked to find solutions to problems in his Benning Heights community and throughout Ward 7, died Oct. 30 of kidney failure at Greater Southeast Community Hospital.
Mr. Long worked to improve problems of poor lighting, crowded schools and insufficient recreation facilities in his new neighborhood east of the Anacostia. He joined with neighbors in the late 1950s to organize the Benning Ridge Civic Association.
As time went on, Mr. Long and association members made positive changes in their community of neat, single-family houses. He served as president of the association for more than 16 years until the late 1980s, helping to extend a bus route, build sidewalks and playgrounds and create a youth center in Benning Heights.
A man of strong convictions about how structures create a sense of community, responsibility and belonging, he worked with the city to plan and build public housing units at Benning Terrace. His efforts were described in a 1989 Washington Post article as "one of his greatest victories, and in the end, most profound defeats."
Mr. Long said then: "We did not have any objections to public housing as long as it was family-style housing, buildings that would blend in with the neighborhood. We did not want apartment buildings. We thought we had things worked out with the city, an agreement, but we didn't. They built three-story, walk-up apartments anyway."
As the neighborhood changed and the drug trade flourished around Benning Terrace, Mr. Long maintained daily contact with the manager at the public housing apartments and tried to help in efforts "to reduce some of the negative influences," he said.
Mr. Long's activities did not stop at the boundaries of his neighborhood. He was involved in practically every community relations project in far Southeast and Northeast Washington. He was an early supporter and longtime board member of the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, and a mentor to its former head, Lloyd D. Smith, and many other Ward 7 leaders.
He was founding chairman of the D.C. police's 6th District Citizen's Advisory Council, founding president of 6th District Citizen's Crime Prevention Project, and chairman of Far East Community Services.
His advocacy ranged from promoting the integration of police patrol cars to better police-community relations, from creating recreation centers for youth to pushing for more business and service establishments in the area.
"He was a very forceful man, very opinionated," said his niece Barbara Tatum. "Whatever needed to be done in this community . . . he would get it done."
Mr. Long was born in Scranton, Pa., and graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After serving in World War II, he worked in Washington as an insurance salesman for North Carolina Mutual. In 1940, he began working as a pressman for The Washington Post. He retired in 1971.
In 1983, the mayor, Marion Barry, proclaimed April 30 as Albert Long Day for his service to the Benning Ridge Civic Association and Ward 7.
Mr. Long was a member of Calvary Episcopal Church, where he was chairman of the parish council and a member of the vestry, Vergers' Guild and the Men of Calvary.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Annie Long of Washington.