Remembering Anthony Crawford

Anthony Crawford, one of the first Street Sense Media vendors, died in his home on July 31, shortly after his 64th birthday. A man of warm heart and sly wit, he was also the first greeting card creator for Second Story Cards, helping get the business off the ground in 2016. His work can be found in boutique shops nationwide. He shook hands with Pope Francis and taught D.C. councilmembers what it’s like to sell a street paper and raise awareness about homelessness. In 2014, Anthony made a point of celebrating each anniversary of his getting housing with a community of friends and customers. Around the same time, he fell in love and began building a life with his girlfriend, Crystal. Anthony is sorely missed. 

It was with sadness that I got the call

about him from my other friend and former vendor, Ken Martin. I remember we called each other neighbors when I worked at 8th and L streets NW. He worked at 19th and M. 

He would always tell me, “Respect your elders!” He was two days older than me. We would laugh about it. 

He will be missed, a nice person who never hesitated to speak his mind. We were also on the distribution team together. 

My condolences also go out to the family. Another Street Sense legend gone but not to be forgotten. —James Davis, Artist/Vendor 

Working with Anthony,

who was our chairperson of the distrib (the early morning delivery of each new edition) was always enjoyable. It could be a little wild at times, but he always saw us through. 

I knew this guy for years. He was a people person, a gentle bear — he’d turn over a grudge in a heartbeat. 

Spending time with him, I learned that he was doing his own greeting cards (with Second Story Cards), which people enjoyed quite a bit. I remember one time after that, I found some crazy birthday card, a dragon or goofy elephant and gave it to him. “Oh, Cowboy,” he said, “that’s almost as good as one of mine!” 

Anthony didn’t know it, but he was really kind of a hero to me. I also admired his grit, with his total support of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He often wore a jersey to his job. 

I miss him, and a lot of other people will too. He was a fixture in midtown. I used to see customers high-five him all the time. He was just such a draw to the community. Everybody knew Anthony, in the best possible way. — Frederic John, Artist/Vendor 

It’s difficult

to read about the passing of any Street Sense vendor, and I offer heartfelt condolences to all at SSM on the loss of Anthony Crawford at age (only) 64. 

I saw Mr. Crawford regularly at 19th & M, NW. I worked on that block for a number of years and am still in the area to see various doctors. I particularly recall when he told me he had found housing. I was touched that he shared the good news with me and of course was extremely happy for him. 

May Mr. Crawford’s memory be a blessing to all who knew him. 

Sincerely, 

Ronnie Kweller 

It felt like another sledgehammer hit me

on July 30 when I heard that long-time vendor and friend Anthony Crawford passed away. His death blindsided me because I saw him a few weeks ago and he looked fine. He was so happy in his apartment. I’m still in shock because I lost another member of the Street Sense family and I don’t know who will be the new standard bearer. 

Anthony was one of the pioneers, he was the sixth vendor to enter Street Sense’s doors and an integral part of the paper’s popularity and growth. He was a team player, helping other vendors, volunteering, and helping unload the truck when the new issue arrived. 

If Anthony wasn’t vendor number 6, there would be no vendor 133 when I arrived years later. All the popular spots for paper sales were because Anthony paved the way. His favorite spot was 19th and M — where some customers would only buy from him! I never was jealous though, because he taught me what it took to build as many customers as him. 

Over the years we knew each other, I did see a decline in his health. He went from vibrant, to breathing heavily, to eventually walking with a cane. However before COVID, even in suffering, he never missed going to his spot, selling papers, and spreading the message of Street Sense and respecting homeless people. If you knew Anthony you would never know he was once homeless. 

Since he was 10 years older than me, he was like the uncle I never had. He was always in good spirits sharing his experience and wisdom. With someone with such leadership and knowledge, I don’t know who can fill that void. I have considered going to 19th and M and building a shrine because that was his spot and like Micheal Jordan, nobody could represent that area like Anthony Crawford. 

RIP, Anthony, you made a difference in winning many people’s hearts and minds. Thank you for bringing so much joy into people’s lives. I will never forget you. —Jeffery McNeil, Artist/Vendor 


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