I’m not even going to search for a photo. But do a quick and dirty post for Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church at 1518 M St NW. In 1957 it was a big church, with 1200 members in 1957, with about 400 showing up on any given Sunday. The professional majority were skilled laborers, followed by Professionals and white-collar members. It was and is, as far as I can tell, still a Black church. It does not give a breakdown but claimed many members lived in the Northwest Urban Renewal area under study at the time.
My male cousins on my mom’s side of the family are doing okay. One lives in Manhattan with his wife and 3 kids. Another, he moves around a lot, but once when he worked for the state of NC, his salary was like a quarter of a million dollars a year. I think he left to make more money elsewhere. He’s a finance guy. Their parents, my aunts and uncles, were teachers and civil servants raising their kids (my cousins) in Afro-American middle-class bubbles. I like their results and would like to re-create that for my own son.
Education was a part of their success. Not being Humanities majors also helped, as they were math and science people who currently have math related careers. So I attended a meeting about Black education in the city, wondering if I might learn something that I could use to help re-create and re-affirm my son’s membership in the middle class and beyond.
ehhhhhh, not really. But what I did get out of it was a hope that the Charter vs DCPS fight might die and find a way to work together. Kids like my son, who have two involved parents and live economically stable lives, aren’t a priority, or even a consideration. And why would they be when a large number of African American students struggle because of their neighborhood and or home life?
So I will have to go my own way and find a different path for Destructo-toddler, since I’m the only one interested in him. This may even mean figuring out how to create our own bubble.
I’ve been playing around with school data. Charter school data, DCPS data, parochial school data, random group data, and think tank data. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ll need to start saving money in a 529 for private high and maybe middle school. Next month over at the City Mom’s Blog I’ll go into a little more detail about the reasons why. To sum it up, I’ve concluded the outcome for black males is better in private school. But even that has its own problems, besides cost of tuition.
I feel no one is asking, ‘what is Black academic success and how do we replicate it?’ I feel that the question is ‘how do we support this institution’ with the assumption that if the institution or if a certain profession is supported then academic success will follow.
I’m rambling. I’ll stop here.
So Bloomingdame asked me via a tweet why a clean up would be needed for the area of Florida and Q St NW. Then that Sunday Scott Roberts asked me about this. So during my lunch I looked for an answer in the 1970-1969 City Directory, because someone else asked a similar question for another part of Truxton Circle.
I’m guessing the laundries, the car lot and the dry cleaners might have a little something to do with it. Looking at the 1952 aerial photo, there were structures on that section of the street, so maybe someone is being super duper careful or adding a hurdle to development.
I had a job interview a few weeks ago, it went well, so well I seriously gave thought to what we would do if I was chosen for the position. You see, it is in the same suburban area of Maryland where my spouse, the Help works, and I said if I were to get a job there, we’d move. So for several days I was looking at moving to Maryland and all that would entail.
We already know what neighborhoods we want to live in on the other side of the border. Yes, this is something we think and talk about on a regular basis. But I hadn’t thought about the consequences of leaving Shaw and the city.
What we’d lose
Our part of Shaw is a wonderfully compact. Within a 1/3 mile I can walk to the grocery store, a couple of bakeries, a bunch of restaurants and bars, the metro, and Destructo’s daycare. I haven’t owned a car for over twenty years and it’s been a couple of years since I’ve driven. I like being able to walk with Destructo or plop him in a stroller and walk to a park. When I looked at a few houses on-line that I thought was close enough to a metro station, PG Plaza was over a mile away, and a park well over 1/3 mile. Whereas our block has a WalkScore in the 90s the areas I was looking at had scores in the 30s… and no sidewalks.
Lower Property Taxes
When looking at possible homes in our price range, looking at the property taxes made some places just, unaffordable. A lovely little 3 bedroom in the $300-400K range had taxes above $5,000 a year. Our taxes in DC are somewhere just below $3K a year. A couple hundred dollars of our monthly mortgage goes to taxes and insurance, but I was seeing sizable $400-$700 a month going to taxes for PG Co. properties.
Dangit, I been paying into this system, I’m going to get my 2 free years. Destructo won’t enter the school system until 2020-21. If we were to move, we’d be paying for 2 more years of daycare since PG County doesn’t have free Pre-3-4K. That’s when I decided I’d rather have a bad commute (I’d worked at this location before) than pay $30,000+ for 2 years of daycare.
Loss of connections
Living here for nearly 20 years, despite people constantly moving, we’ve got some deep strong connections here. After observing others move to other nearby neighborhoods or over into suburbs, I know after a while you stop seeing those people. I wouldn’t expect us to be any different. We have friends and family in PG County and those connections would get stronger, but I would miss what I have built here in Shaw.
Other things I had to consider
Then there is the question of selling or renting. I’m emotionally attached to this house I live in. It was my first property. I’m not sure I can just hand it over to some renter to make their mark on. However, renting would allow me to return to the TC if I manage to return to my current duty station if an opportunity arose. Also the rules about renting in this city seem to get more complicated, which would mean hiring a property manager. Some of my former neighbors self manage, other use a property manager. Question would be would I want to self manage my baby?
Then we’d have to make the house suitable for renters. When you own your own home, there are things you let slide. Our AC died 3 years ago. We’ve got portable and window units that work well. The bathrooms aren’t painted that well, because I painted the whole house myself and never ever got back to them. There is a whole long list of little repairs that should be done, but since the health of the house does not depend on those repairs getting done anytime this century, they don’t.
If I were to sell, the property tax issue I have such a problem with would be less of an issue, because the equity we have in our home would make some places mortgage free. I wouldn’t have to think about managing a DC property.
Mari InShaw to Mari N. Peagee?
A lot of my on-line identity is based on being in Shaw/Truxton Circle. Would I change it if I moved? I’m still pondering that one.
Recently, I found out I wasn’t chosen. I called one of the interviewers, who I knew professionally, regarding why I wasn’t and now I know what areas I need to improve. So when the next opportunity pops up I know what I will do, and if chosen, I have a plan.
Edited 12/11/19 to add Walkscore URL.
Okay, another random church not in Shaw but still around. St. Mary is in Fake Chinatown/ Gallery Place at 727 5th St NW. As far as data goes, this is almost useless. They can say 10% of the congregation was Black in 1957. I’d like to know if any of the congregation is Chinese. Because it would be nice to know how less fake Chinatown was in the 50s.
Anyway, here’s the survey.
CS-55-St Mary Mother of God… by on Scribd
Turner Memorial AME is not in Shaw. It was at 600 Eye Street NW in 1957. It is currently in PG County Maryland. As you may know the synagogue at 6th and I is there, and according to their history page, Turner AME was at 5th and P St (a Shaw church?) and bought the synagogue in 1951. In 2002 Turner AME put the church building up for sale.
Quick look at the survey page, it was a large Black church where half of the members were unskilled laborers. So a working class African-American church. The survey says it was at 5th and D, but the Turner Memorial website says it was founded in 1919 at 5th and P, so let’s go with that.
CS 54 Turner Memorial AME by on Scribd
Last year there was a very nice vegetarian spread. I write this as unapologetic meat eater. Anyway, heads up there will be a big ole health fair on the 1600 block of 4th St NW on July 28th.
The big deal about the fair is that the three sponsors, 4th St Fellowship, Mt. Sinai, and Masjid Muhammad would all have health fairs at different times. So for the past couple years they combined their powers, to create the biggest Truxton Circle health fair, ever. I’ll be there, mainly to nosh on free vegetarian food.
I have a few of these, churches outside of Shaw but part of the larger Northwest Urban Renewal Project Area. Notable notes are that Church of the Holy City at 1611 16th St NW was a white church in 1957 and kinda small. The congregants who showed up on an average Sunday was 60. Being white, not a lot of members lived in the survey area (the Northwest Urban Renewal Area), half lived in other parts of DC and the other half lived out in the burbs.
CS-57-Church of the Holy City by on Scribd
I have a superpower, it is finding money on the ground. I cannot summon money, it would be absolutely awesome if I could. This superpower comes from constantly scanning the ground. I’m looking for poop, so I can avoid stepping in it. And while I’m keeping an eye out for poop, and spit, I’ll see money, or a SmartTrip card with money on it.
I also spot other things.
This weekend I spotted a purse, with a cell phone sticking out sitting on the sidewalk. It was next to an SUV, where a mother was doing something on the opposite side (out of view of her purse) on the 1500 block of 7th St NW. Her husband was about 2 car lengths away for some reason. He showed up when we pointed out to her that her purse was just… sitting there. I spotted the purse ahead as we walked past Compass Coffee. She waved off our concerns. This is why I don’t say things or point things out to people. Y’all obviously don’t care that if I’ve noticed that you left your car keys or house keys in the lock, or your laptop in the backseat (seriously people stop leaving your electronics in your car) or left your bike unlocked (yes, you’re popping in for one second). But if I’ve noticed, someone else who is more willing to walk off with your (keys, laptop, bike) stuff has too.
Yes, you are just leaving it there for a second. But it doesn’t take long for a young pair of legs to run off with it.