Peals of memory or alarm bells? Last week, Frank Smith Jr. was hired by the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as a special assistant in charge of placing new museums and “commemorative works” in D.C. neighborhoods. Smith’s most notable experience in this field was as the founder and executive director of the group that placed the oft-delayed African-American Civil War Memorial at 10th and U Streets NW (“Forgotten Again,” 9/3/99)—a project mired in financial woes and construction mishaps, which delayed its final completion numerous times in the four years after its 1996 gala dedication. The DHCD’s press release soft-pedaled the memorial snafus, as did the former four-term Ward 1 councilmember in a brief interview. Smith preferred to talk about the Mall-centric concentration of District monuments, saying his target in the new position was to get new museums “off the Mall and spread more evenly” throughout the District. —Richard Byrne

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