NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, African American, Federal Government Employees, Radicals

Gaston Neal
(1934- October 21, 1999)

1740 Varnum Pl. NW, Crestwood neighborhood, DC.

A leader in the Black Arts Movement, Neal is the author of the chapbook The Poetry of Gaston Neal: A Sampler (1996), and poems of his have been included in the anthologies Black Power RevoltBlack FireSynergy DCVoices of Struggle, and Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC.

Neal co-founded the New School for African American Thought with Don Freeman, an influential gathering place for education, discussion, and cultural expression (1965-1971).  The school was originally located at 2208 14th Street NW in the Cardozo neighborhood, and was one of the first Afro-centric cultural centers in the country.

Neal was a tireless organizer, who created poet-in-residence programs in the DC Public Schools and at Lorton Prison, and curated a jazz and poetry series at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  He struggled with heroin addiction, and did stints in reform school and jail, as well as serving in the US Army.  Neal was an inspirational teacher, and worked as a poverty program worker for the Urban Planning Organization and as a drug counselor.


Beltway Poetry Quarterly, “Kenneth Carroll on Gaston Neal”