The Plan & Wiki

Not the Florida Market Plan. Another plan. A plan that I thought was born in the fifties and sixties and died possibly in the 90s. But like an aging celebrity you thought was dead because you haven’t heard about them doing anything recent, this thing is still alive too.
I write of the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan. Poking around the National Capital Planning Commission website I found the plan, buried down the list:

Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, Washington, D.C.
7/7/05, Modifications to the plan

So, it was adjusted in 2005, for what I don’t know, but that hints that The Plan is still alive. Admittedly, I’m too lazy to walk over and ask for a copy of The Plan from their offices, and they might charge me for it. The District Government may also have a copy of The Plan, but I fear it is in the hands of the Department of More Important Things, where they never return your phone calls and really that’s handled by someone else.
Another thing I noticed poking around on the Internet, was the Wikipedia entry for the neighborhood formerly or currently known as the Shaw School Urban Renewal area. “Shaw, Washington, DC” has in it’s history that

Shaw grew out of freed slave encampments in the rural outskirts of Washington City. It was named after Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Can anyone provide a dead tree reference for the slave encampment part? I’m aware of encampments around the city, and the big Freedmen’s camp was out in Alexandria, not so much one notable here.
And this is one of those moments I wish the African American papers were in an accessible database. ProQuest allows me to search the Post back to the late 19th century, but it was the white paper, and up until the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, the Post called this area the 2nd District. I’m curious about what Black residents called the area prior to The Plan, well besides Northwest.

6 thoughts on “The Plan & Wiki”

  1. so Shaw was named after an historic white civil war general and not named after a school…that’s most logical.

    and fascinating about the encampments. if president lincoln summered at 3700 north capitol street it would have to be between here and there.

  2. According to Wikipedia, yes.
    I’m a little more doubtful. I’m willing to believe that version more if there was some documentation behind it. I don’t want to say the neighborhood wasn’t consciously named after Col. Shaw, because a) I haven’t found anything saying that it wasn’t and b) that would unneccesarily piss off some folks.
    The little bit of research I’ve done points to this version: The area was called Northwest (which would be most of Old City), more specifically the 2nd District, then in the mid 20th cen. it was called the Shaw School Urban Renewal area, then later shortened to Shaw. The school that was named after Col. Shaw named the neighborhood.
    But I haven’t looked at the Black local press papers, or some other books on the pre-1960s neighborhood, so I can’t prove this alternative view. I also recognize there is a political and racial element to a certain view of history so I’m only going to state what I can prove with documentation.
    Everything between the 3000 block of North Cap and 1600 Penn Ave contains a basketful of neighborhoods. I’m against the idea of stealing another neighborhood’s history (claiming something that happened or has a stronger basis in Le Droit and claiming it as Shaw’s). The other problem is pre-1880s people weren’t really good about exact addresses (house numbers), which is annoying.

  3. I guess what I was trying to say is, there might be a book or something stating that yes, the area was established by slave encampments and yes, it was called Shaw after the Civil War dude by said 19th Cen. inhabitants and here’s what those statements are based on. However, I haven’t seen it. If I do find it, I’ll share that. If I don’t find it, ditto.
    I know I don’t have a full view of the neighborhood’s history. However, the statement in Wikipedia just struck me as, odd. My research starts in 1880, about less than a decade at the end of the Civil War. The row of houses I live in were built at the end of / after the war and mostly filled with African American laborers from VA and MD. Until 5 minutes ago I’ve never thought of it as a ‘freed slave encampment’. Now I need a definition of an emcampment.

  4. “Shaw” only took on that name from the urban renewal plan. It was formerly known as Uptown or Midcity to the folks who lived here before urban renewal. The Shaw school was once an all-white school called McKinley Technical school and then it was transferred to the black public school system and renamed Shaw Junior High School, after which the urban renewal area was named. So, technically, the neighborhood was named after the school, which was named after the Civil War general.

    To anyone who lived in Midcity before it became Shaw, the current name for the neighborhood is contentious. They hear “Shaw” and think of the school. It was an imported name that urban renewal advocates used to reshape a changing neighborhood.

  5. ryan thank you for the clarification.
    Also for historical notes one can read Jean Toomer’s Cane to understand where Shaw’s boundaries end and Uptown and the Greater U

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