Dr. Thomas Hart is remembered for beginning a legacy that continues to thrive in Washington.
By Adoria Doucette
Important and influential American families are the bedrock of our great Republic, and Power Source is proud to highlight one such family: the Hart’s. For over half a century, this family has been a part of the heart and soul of business and culture in our capital city, and though the patriarch of the family, Thomas Hart Sr., passed away a little over a year ago, his proud legacy lives on today through his son and grandson.
The scion of the Hart family, Dr. Hart was trained by the U.S. Army to be a master of physical fitness during WWII. After completing his undergraduate education at Hampton University, he completed his masters at the University of Illinois, followed by a Doctorate in Education from NYU. Soon after, he came to the nations capital with every intention of leaving a lasting mark of excellence within his field.
Howard University was firmly established as the intellectual capital of African American life and Dr. Hart was recruited by Howard to design and implement an innovative physical education program. Dr. Hart assumed academic responsibility as a professor of health and physical education, and applied his expertise in an unprecedented manner as a successful head varsity coach of basketball, golf, track and field, swimming and wrestling.
The staff of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles took note of Dr. Hart’s impeccable education, teaching credentials, and success as a physical education leader and made arrangements with the government of Ghana for Dr. Hart to coach the newly independent nation’s olympic track and field team in Rome during the 1960 Olympics. This was but one example of Dr. Hart utilizing his specialization to build bridges to new cultures. Over the following five decades Dr. Hart traveled the world lending his gravitas to dozens of organizations and initiatives as an honored and celebrated American for his contributions to community and civic affairs and was inducted to four prestigious hall of fames. His awards, accolades, and leadership positions are too many to count, but some of the most influential roles he played include founding corporate sponsor of the Congressional Black Caucus, and member on the board of directors at both the University of the District of Columbia and the Washington DC YMCA.
Beyond his own family, the legacy of Dr. Hart lives on every year at Camp Hart, a nonprofit organization that teaches golf to inner city youth. This organization was founded by Dr. Hart at the beginning of his career in 1948, which allowed hundreds of children access to the sport of golf. It was for this accomplishment that Dr. Hart was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2006.
Thomas Hart Jr. has dutifully continued the legacy of his father as one of the most preeminent legal minds in the capital, always at the forefront of issues critical to to the expansion of our national identity. Thomas Jr. was one of the legal minds that helped draft the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which changed the entire paradigm of global communications and ushered in the age of the internet and fiber optic communications. This accomplishment led Mr. Hart to become Vice Chairman of the Telecommunications Development Fund. In recent years, Mr. Hart has been a key player in the next great paradigm shift of American commerce and transportation. He has become one of the leading experts in the world on light rail development, testifying four times in Congress before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee within his capacity as General Counsel of the US High Speed Rail Association.
Since the first MEAC wrestling championship was secured by Howard University through Dr. Hart’s stewardship in 1951, a legacy of athletic triumph was established that has not been broken. Thomas Jr. won championships in cross country and golf at Wilson High School in 1973. Thomas Hart III, Dr. Hart’s grandson, set numerous records as an elite runner at the prestigious Georgetown Day School prior to entering and excelling academically at Northeastern University.
Thomas III now carries on the legacy of his grandfather and father as an emerging real estate entrepreneur, while playing a prominent role in mobilizing political and civic events through a social organization known as the Overachievers. The youngest Hart has been raised with privilege and groomed for success, and his recent actions and accomplishments in Washington, D.C. have solidified that his family’s strengths are worthy of applause and admiration.