November 7, 2021

Melvin Deal, Renowned Artist, Cultural Anthropologist & Founding Director of the African Heritage Dancers-Drummers to Be Celebrated

Carol Foster
Press Release
Photo By:Associated Press

Baba Deal founded the African Heritage Dance Center and taught in numerous elementary & secondary schools across the country. He was masterful as a teacher and shared his talents in a plethora of settings including instructional classes, seminars, masterclasses, and lecture demonstrations for art centers, dance studios, theaters, colleges, universities, and other cultural and educational venues.

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2021
Contact: Carol Foster carolfosterdance@gmail.com; (301) 613.2878
Linda Wharton lwb72@comcast.net; (202) 669.913

In African Tradition, the Celebration Will Honor Deal’s Life, Legacy, Lessons, and Contributions as Artist-Educator, Musician, Researcher, and Community Activist.


WHAT/WHO: Family friends, artists, and admirers of Melvin Deal from around
the region celebrate and honor the life and vast contributions of Baba Melvin Deal, who transitioned this life on September 21, 2021. Hosted by the Baba Deal Legacy Group, the celebration will include a Processional, Commemorative Memorial Altar Ceremony, and Interfaith Service.

He performed at and coordinated Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the region.

WHEN/WHERE:                                Saturday, November 13, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

  • 2:00 pm – Processional  (Line-up begins 1:00 pm)

( 13th St and Good Hope Road, SE to Union Temple Baptist Church)

  • 3:00 pm – Commemorative Memorial Altar Ceremony

(Front area of Union Temple Baptist Church – 1225 W Street, SE)

  • 4:00 pm – Celebration of Life Service at Union Temple Baptist Church

(COVID protocols of masks wearing, and social distancing are required as well as proof of Vaccination. Temperature checks will be taken upon entry.  Registration through http://evite.me/VCpByydrYE is required for those attending the Interfaith Celebration).

COVID PROCOTOL:  COVID protocols of masks wearing, and social distancing are required for outdoor events and those desiring to attend the Interfaith Celebration must register through http://evite.me/VCpByydrYE

BACKGROUND:  In an expression of Baba Deal’s spiritual impact an interfaith celebration of life service, hosted by the Baba Deal Legacy Group, will honor the legacy and contributions of Baba Melvin Deal, world-renowned  artist-educator, cultural anthropologist, and founding executive and artistic director of the African Heritage Dancers & Drummers.

As the founding Executive Artistic Director of the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, Melvin Deal was a world-renowned artist who served the Washington DC community for more than fifty years with his creativity, dedication, and passion for the infusion of traditional African culture and values in the lives of many through African dance, music, and philosophies.

Baba Melvin Deal was considered the “father of African Culture in the DMV.”  He was tireless in his research and education of African cultural manifestations. He exemplified in all his works, the meaning of “American fruits with African roots” and used his learnings and cultural understandings as a community activist to build the lives of at-risk youth people with robust confidence and self-esteem.

 And he had the ability to address the ever-present disruption of dysfunctional lifestyles such violence, delinquency, physical abuse and other issues plaguing African-American communities.

Baba Deal founded the African Heritage Dance Center and taught in numerous elementary & secondary schools across the country. He was masterful as a teacher and shared his talents in a plethora of settings including instructional classes, seminars, masterclasses, and lecture demonstrations for art centers, dance studios, theatres, colleges, universities, and other cultural and educational venues. He performed at and coordinated Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the region.


“Melvin was so instrumental in bringing an enlightenment about African culture to the DMV that if you were to draw a picture, his rays would ultimately surround the whole area.”


In the words of those who knew him best, Baba Deal was a consummate “performance artist” and community
artist of uncommon presence and perseverance. He remained true to his calling while here on earth and now his
presence and gift rest with the ancestors.


For more information Call; 301-613-2878 and or Follow Carol Foster on FB, Instagram

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