Slum history note or Fun with ProQuest

In the category of ‘research on the side’ I’m looking at something I noticed played a huge role in the development of Shaw around and after the riots, as reported by the Washington Post, the RLA or Redevelopment Land Agency. The RLA was started up in 1945. The Post proclaimed, “[the] RLA would be one of the most powerful governmental units ever ti operate in the District.” The RLA would purchase ‘slum’ properties and then sell or lease those properties with certain controls. A quick scan of the first RLA project, the Marshall Heights plan in SE, failed. It seems people just needed the City to put in sewer lines and pave the streets, not a huge governmental take over and undermining of property rights.
Fast forward past the SW redevelopment and all of its drama, to dealing with the “crime-ridden Second Precinct” in the mid 1950s. Where is the 2nd precinct? It is bounded by Florida Avenue, 14th St NW, the rail road tracks in the east, and MASS Ave and K Street to the south. Hhum, what could fit into that, what now? There is no neighborhood that ‘currently’ stretches that far, but I believe there is one that sorta fits, and I shall call it Shaw. With the National Capitol Planning Commission’s help they were going to clean up this ‘slum’ too. Yet the thing that gets me is the Post had a graphic proclaiming the 2nd as “THE WICKEDEST PRECINCT”. Okay I pick up on this later and see what adventures the Post, the RLA and the National Capitol Planning Commission has in store.

Attacking Slums. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Sep 28, 1945. p. 8 (1 page)
New Survey Area Covers 2d Precinct; Boundary Listing Is First Step to Rehabilitation of Broad Section New Survey Area Covers 2d Precinct by S.L. Fishbein. The Washington Post and Times Herald. Washington, D.C.: Sep 18, 1954. p. 1

3 thoughts on “Slum history note or Fun with ProQuest”

  1. thanks for providing the background info on the RLA. to this day they are STILL doing a bad number of the neighborhoods.

  2. wow. How can people get access to ProQuest? That sounds like an eye-opening summer reading project

  3. Several libraries have subscriptions to ProQuest. I’m sure if you are on the campus of UMaryland (sorry the only library I know where you can get on a terminal quick & easy) you can access it there. MLK might have it but getting on a computer is too much of a wait for my tolerance levels. If you work for a big enough organization/ agency/ law firm and you have a library, you might be able to access there.

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