Community

1.                  The Homeless.

Dolph’s involvement with the homeless began when he befriended Mr. William Wallace Brown at St. John’s Church in 1988. Mr. Brown was a homeless person who moved onto the streets of DC to protest the stealing of his home by a shyster lawyer in 1977. Mr. Brown’s story of his living on the streets of DC and how Dolph befriended him is described in a Washington Post article, April 26, 1992, entitled “Samaritans Could No Longer Just Pass Him By”.

In 1993, Mary Nusser, a friend of Mr. Brown’s, arranged with Case Closed to do a story on the theft of his home and to find the lawyer responsible for stealing his home. Case Closed did this story which was broadcast nationally on October 23-24. The story was entitled “CASE: A HOME FOR THE HOMELESS” (see Photos).  

 

 Mr. Brown, who Dolph regarded as one of his closest friends, died on October 17, 2000 (see obituary in Washington Post) and he was buried at St. John’s Church. Articles about Mr. Brown’s death and burial at St. John’s Church appeared in the Washington Post (“A Poor Man Who Enriched Others’ Lives” by Courtland Milloy, November 29, 2000; “Homeless Once, But Now at Peace” by Debbie Wilgoren, December 4, 2000) and was broadcast on the Today’s Show with Katie Couric and NBC Evening News with Tom Brokaw on December 4, 2000. (See stories and photos) Several additional articles on Mr. Brown’s passing were published in various church newsletters.

Dolph has continued working with the homeless in DC, and since 2000, has befriended well over 100 homeless individuals. He has helped numerous of the homeless move off the streets of DC and has helped others in many different ways to better their lives. He has written two articles about DC’s homeless. One was entitled “The Homeless in Washington DC”, published in the Journal of the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC Vol. 13 p83-85, and another article entitled “A Glimpse into the Lives of Washington, DC’s Homeless” that is unpublished. Both articles are shown on this website under tabs designated Published and Unpublished.

 2.                  Lay Reader and Chalice Bearer – Dolph has been a lay reader and chalice bearer at St. John’s Church since November, 1992 and served in the same capacity at the National Cathedral, 2005-2007. He stepped down from serving at the National Cathedral as it interfered with his regular Sunday morning breakfasts with his homeless friends. Dolph read before President Bill Clinton on several occasions and before President George W. Bush 15 times. Pictures of Dolph meeting Presidents Clinton and Bush are shown (see Photos). Dolph has also read before President H.W. Bush on several occasions, but never as President. The elder Bush was a member of St. John’s Church and often attended the early service at St. John’s when he visited Washington, DC. Dolph had the good fortune to read before President Bush on several occasions. 

Dolph met President Barak Obama and his family at St. Johns Church when they visited one Sunday (September 19, 2010) at the 9AM service. Dolph subsequently met President Obama on another occasion at one of his backyard chats, when the President visited his daughter’s (Sandy Hatfield Clubb’s) home in Des Moines, Iowa on September 29, 2010 The president knocked on Sandy and Jeff’s front door and they invited him into their home. The family visited with the President for about 15 minutes before they came into the backyard to meet with about 50 guests who were waiting for his arrival. The President spoke for approximately 30 minutes and then met the guests (see Photos).

 3.                  Civil Rights Issues – Dolph has been active in civil rights issues since the late 1960s by initially getting involved in an organization called POMCO (People’s Organization of Montgomery County). Charlie Mahone was the leader of POMCO and he was the first African American to run for the Montgomery County Council. Dolph ran his campaign in 1970 (see Photos).

Dolph continued his involvement and interest in civil rights issues in Montgomery County until he moved into the District of Columbia at which time he began writing articles on such issues (see tabs under Published and Unpublished). Dolph was arrested on March 20, 1996 for demonstrating in front of the Justice Department for the release of Leonard Peltier, an American Indian, from prison. Dolph was charged with “Incommoding” for refusing to move off the steps of the Justice Department and blocking the entrance into the building. Leonard Peltier’s story can be found on the internet by googling Leonard’s name (see Photos).

 4.                  Cosmos Club – Dolph became a member of the prestigious Cosmos Club of Washington, DC in 1997. Articles have appeared in the Cosmos Club bulletin about Dolph’s adventures (“Dolph Hatfield, The Giant Killer”, January 2003, Vol. 56, p26-28 by Mildred Crary) and about his collection of ancient pottery from Israel (“The Art of Ancient Mediterranean Lamps”, November 2006, Vol. 59, p18-19). More than 60 pieces of his pottery collection were exhibited at the Club from May-September, 2006. (See photos). His Meershaum Pipe collection was also exhibited at the Club. (See photos). He has presented programs for Cosmotographers and for the Art Committee. His photography was highlighted in the Journal of the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC, Vol 11, p60, 2001 by showing one of his photographs “Going Spelunking” and several of his photographs have been exhibited at the Club through the years. (See photos). He has published two articles in the Journal of the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC entitled “Assessing Racial Sensitivities”, Vol. 9, p3-8, 1999 and “The Homeless in Washington, DC”, Vol. 13, p83-85, 2004. Copies of both articles are shown in this website under the tab Published.

5.                  Nathan Phillips – Dolph had the pleasure and honor of meeting Nathan Sky Man Phillips (see Photo) in November, 2000, after he read an article in the Washington Post entitled “A Mourning Wake-Up Call” by Rowan Philip. The article described a Native American family (Nathan, his partner, Shoshana Konstant and their daughter, Alethea), who were from the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska. They, along with several Native American friends, were living in three tepees which Nathan was responsible for erecting on the Washington Mall just north of the Washington Monument. Dolph went to the Mall and met Nathan and Shoshana and they became friends.

This was the second year that Nathan, his family and friends had stayed on the Mall in their tepees the month of November which is National Native American Month. Nathan had the tepees placed on the Mall for four consecutive years, 1999-2003. He and many other Native Americans throughout the continental US recognize “Thanksgiving as a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in the National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”

Nathan, a political activist, is a Marine Corps Vet and founder of the Native Youth Alliance, an organization which worked with Native American youth ensuring that they learned and appreciated their heritage.

Nathan is widely known in the US as the result of his being harassed by a group of high school students on January 18, 2019 at the Lincoln Memorial. This incident was covered extensively on TV (Google January 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation). The students were from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. They were in DC for an anti-abortion march and one student in particular, Nick Sandmann, blocked Nathan’s progress while he was chanting a Native American song and playing his drum.

Nathan and Dolph have remained close friends since 2000. They stay in touch and make every effort to meet when Nathan comes to Washington, DC.