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Enjoy Portside in Old Town programming that activates the expanded new Waterfront Park area at the foot of King Street along the Alexandria waterfront. Visitors and residents are invited to enjoy free-to-the-public events and happenings throughout the year. Once a prosperous port city that was home to one of the largest domestic slave trading firms in the country, Alexandria was a major center for shipping and manufacturing with an economy inextricably tied to the work of enslaved and free African Americans.

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The Berg, which used to be a ghetto, is now gentrified, but not to the exclusion of blacks. Williams High School.

Carol tells me that the phone has been ringing off the hook. The T. Williams High Titans--the Singing Titans as they were known. Big joke on Chef. The town is buzzing about the movie, and this is the sad part for me. Williams in Alexandria had a seniority system: senior coach automatically got the head job. Old, years in fact, by city standards and settled, it has none of the high-tech glitz of Arlington or the upscale buzz of Falls Church, the next towns over.

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He had been a head coach in the Alexandria system for more than a decade when the school board integrated and consolidated the schools into one mega-school--T. The town is now very self-aware, almost self-important.

Remembering the history of ‘titans’

Alexandria is the blue-collar member of the northern Virginia clutch of towns that forms a semicircle around D. Thirty years ago, Alexandria was a segregated town. And the students at T. Williams High School look bored as yet another group of reporters tramp over the legendary field. I hope the movie passes and this little burg can once again return to its innocence, but even as I say that, I know it is wishful thinking.

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For his part, Yoast is a Southern gentleman in the finest tradition--courtly, solicitous, polite and genteel. Then the president hugged Coach Bill Yoast. The Titans won that battle brilliantly. Business Visionaries. He hugged all of them seemingly at once and thanked them for what they had done for Alexandria, Va. Williams High Titans--would do for the country. News and World Report, Associated Press.

Once in Alexandria, I found it to be all those things, but I was most struck by the integrated part. Teachers at T. Williams pull elaborate practical jokes on one another. And in a state where high school football coaches are community leaders, every head coach in the Alexandria system was white. But Yoast was passed over for what he thought was the best high school coaching job in the country--and it hurt.

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To calm the black community, Alexandria hired Boone as head football coach of the new high school, T. Williams--consolidated from three segregated schools, one white and two black. The team was so huge--nearly 90 players--that virtually everyone in town was related to someone on the team, knew someone on the team, or had a friend of a friend of someone on the team. Chef chopped off the beard.

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As a result, there is no disenfranchised angry minority group here. Hot Property. There are no ghettos or slums in Alexandria. Apparently there are many races but only one youth culture. Four years ago, when I first called Herman to interview him, he made an appointment for 1 p.

Old, young, black, white, now everybody knows. Now they know. The town remains well-integrated. It seems the basketball team is better now and gets more attention. Finally, Herman invited me to his home. The state championships are a distant memory. After some fits and starts, I turned the story of the coaches and this remarkable team into a screenplay, then sold it to mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer after every studio passed.

So does a movie. Times Store. They wanted to shoot a picture of him but thought he would look better without his beloved beard. I went to meet him. Over at the high school, principal John Porter allocates a good part of his day doing phone interviews and coordinating the Alexandria screening to benefit the T. Williams Scholarship Fund. All Sections. Then there was T. And Denzel plays Coach Boone, the black coach.

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That T. Titans Football team turned this town around, integrated it by winning football games and showing this city that race mixing could work. Not anymore. He stood me up. Hours and hours of interviews followed. And my little adopted city may never be the same. I wondered why.

Times Events.

I chose Alexandria at the suggestion of relatives who lived here. About Us. B2B Publishing. I did some preliminary research toward the end of and got the names of the two coaches, Boone and Yoast.

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Yes, I do know. In fact, half-million-dollar townhomes sit across the street from public housing.

Portside in old town

Then I began talking with the locals, and always they referred back to a football team that brought the city together. In the little shops that line the cobblestone streets of Old Town, everybody is talking about the movie and, in varying degrees of accuracy, discussing it, analyzing it. I have dealt with him more than anyone outside his family.

The first integrating that had to be done was Yoast accepting the assistant head coach job under Boone. More like a bear hug.

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Who knew it would all turn into this? Love changes everything. In hiring Boone the school board passed over the senior coach in the system, Yoast, a white coach who was a regional championship winner. He thought it was a practical joke. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. I make a call to the Boone home to check on the family. The current Titans football team is good, but not great.

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Yeah, right. Denzel, Bill Clinton, limos, fancy hotels, first-class travel, expensive meals, daily media interviews, autograph seekers, groupies. It seems everybody wants to talk to Herman.

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Numerous phone calls, more appointments, more skepticism. Will Patton plays Coach Yoast.

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We all get along. So Herman thought he was being set up as Chef II. Weeks went by. Whites lived on Seminary Ridge. I moved here to get away from the stress and racial tension of Los Angeles.

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