Dr. Bernard Demczuk

Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D. is a 40-year+ DC resident living in the Shaw community where he has been active in community, corporate, academic, labor and government relations. He is currently the Assistant VP for DC government relations at the George Washington University where he has represented the university for 18 years. He is the university’s chief government liaison on all things DC.

Bernard holds a doctorate in American Studies and African American history and culture from GWU (BS, U. of Md.; MS, AU). He lectures widely on Black history and culture, labor history and governmental policy. In 2013, the Washington Urban League honored him with the Whitey M. Young Award at its 75th Annual Awards Gala.

Bernard started his career as the Recreational Director at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Anacostia in 1971. After four years as a Corrections Officer at the DC Jail, where he also taught Black Studies to the inmates, he was promoted to National Political Director for the American Federation of Government Employees Union in 1981 where he directed the union’s labor relations with the city until 1989. While at AFGE, he sat on the Metropolitan Labor Council, AFL-CIO’s Board of Directors for eight years. In 1989, the local DC AFL-CIO selected him as the “Outstanding Trade Unionist of the Year.”  Bernard has traveled abroad widely teaching and lecturing in international relations, civil and human rights in Russia, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Palestine, Israel, South and Central America and throughout the USA.

In 1989, Bernard joined Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition as its Labor Director. Before joining the Rainbow, he led Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 labor strategy in those two Presidential campaigns.

From 1992-1998, Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and Mayor Marion Barry selected Bernard as the Director of Intergovernmental Relations for the Executive Office of the Mayor (today’s Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs) where he was the chief lobbyist for the Mayor to the City Council, US Congress and White House.

Bernard retired from city government in 1998. Now at GW, he sits on the board of directors of the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Board of Trade, the Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation and numerous other boards. He is Ben’s Chili Bowl’s historian and the resident historian of the Howard Theatre.

Bernard has taught African American history and culture at the DCPS School Without Walls for 13 years and is the faculty advisor of the GW Williams House (The Black House) at GW. He lectures frequently on DC Black history and culture in the DCgovernment and for community and corporate groups. He is the Black Broadway on U film project’s historian directed by Shellee Haynesworth.

As Ben’s Chili Bowl’s official historian, Dr. Demczuk can be found at his “Open Table” office in Ben’s Chili Bowl at 1213 U Street, NW every Saturday morning from 10am – 12noon offering free Black history and culture lessons to anyone who wants to listen and learn. Email ahead at bdemczuk@gwu.edu or call at 202.251.1975 to alert him of your interest.

Bernard’s scholarly expertise and his courses are:

  1. A Survey of African American History & Culture: 500 Hundred Years: The Black Experience in America from Africa to Baltimore through Text, Film, Music, Religion, Cuisine, Fashion, Language and Sports.
  2. Classic Black Cinema: From West Africa to Compton – Black Life & Society Through Film.
  3. DC Black History & Culture: From Slave Quarters on the Potomac to America’s Black Broadway on U Street.
  4. From Slavery to Freedom in the Chesapeake Region: The Black History of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Bernard is a jazz and blues enthusiast, gardener, chef, art collector, bass angler and very proud father to his 18 year-old switch-hitting, 6’6” shooting-guard son, Che Marley Demczuk. Bernard assists his son, Che, with a scholarship program that provides 20 scholarships to elementary school boys in Le Cap Haitien, Haiti where they travel yearly to meet with the young scholars in Le Cap.

Author: Unionville: Race, Place, Time and Memory in Talbot County, Maryland, 1634-1892. Ph.D. published dissertation, 2009.
Author: Numerous articles in magazines and newspapers.

Contact: Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D. – 202.251.1975 or bdemczuk@gwu.edu