Although not native to Washington, D.C., Alvie P. is certainly a certified Washingtonian, having spent his entire career here in government service. Alvie was born in Williamsboro, North Carolina, and moved to Henderson, North Carolina, with his parents where, at the tender age of four, he began picking cotton. Along with his six brothers and sisters, Alvie worked to help support his family throughout the Great Depression. His father was a tobacco farmer, and his mother travelled to neighboring states to assist families with household chores such as sewing and meal preparation.
In Henderson, Alvie attended elementary school and then high school at the Henderson Institute while working at the E.G. Davis grocery store. One year after graduating from high school, Alvie moved to Washington, D.C., and lived with a family from Henderson at 7th Street NE, paying a small sum for room and board. He eventually moved to 11th Street NW. Alvie met his late wife Lucretia on a pleasure cruise on the Potomac. The two dated for almost four years before getting married, and they had two sons, Matt and Sam.
Alvie went to work for the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where he was responsible for removing currency from the printing presses and maintaining the inventory of federal notes. He transferred to the postage stamps division of the U.S. Post Office, where he filled orders from local post offices, and then went on to the Department of Agriculture. Alvie began working nights and weekends as a butler at the White House and became a member of Private Butlers Incorporated, a group of African-American White House butlers who helped one another find jobs in private homes on nights when they were not busy at “the house.” Alvie had the pleasure of serving several of our presidents and their guests, Franklin Roosevelt being the first of many. He retired from his position at the White House in 1992 and travelled the world, visiting places such as China and Europe. When asked who his favorite president was, Alvie replied:
“I enjoyed working for all the presidents I served. I didn’t have a favorite. What I had was a job, and that’s what I did.”
Alvie became a member of our Kensington Park family in 2013 and, when asked what he likes most about the community, replied “I love the people, staff, and other residents.” Alvie says that his favorite thing to do is follow the rules, something he always had to do while working at the White House and something his mother instilled in him and his siblings at a young age.