Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How embarassing...

Fire; A chapter from 'Multitudes; Memoirs of a Rebel' by Sam Smith.jpgThis photo is from the online document, Fire; A chapter from 'Multitudes; Memoirs of a Rebel' by Sam Smith. H Street is on the top of the photo.

that I forgot that this is the 38th anniversary of the civil disturbances-insurrection-riots (what you call it depends on your perspective). It took a post about this in the In Shaw blog to remind me.

If you go to the Front Page restaurant on Dupont Circle, they have the front page from the Evening Star from April 5th (or was it the 6th?) that features riot photos from H Street. In Shaw mentions the book Ten Blocks from the White House which I bought a few years ago. It has arresting photos (so to speak). There is also an aerial photo of the riots on H Street in the photo section of the book Dream City.

Speaking of racism, the Front Page also has displayed a page of classified ads from the Star from sometime during World War II (it's on the window wall abutting the building lobby towards the front bar -- if you could see through the glass you'd be looking towards Baja Fresh). This page lists real estate availability according to the "custom" of the time -- Colored or not colored... When I first saw that page I thought, "that was only 50 years ago--and that's not all that long ago..."

Back to the 1968 riots, learning about this "event" really taught me about rage and abandonment, which I think was what drove the riots. (I saw a film done by a local high school, featuring interviews with people from the time, at the DC Independent Media Center, in 2002, which really helped make everything click for me.)

I've talked with Marshall Brown, father of the Councilmember, who claims to be the person who threw the first rocks at the People's Drug Store at 14th and U Streets NW.

He called it an insurrection...

(Also see this blog entry Tom Sherwood, Duncan Spencer, Anwar Amal, and thinking about what I call the Uncivil War.)

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