History of the Negro Church- A Dull Report

So in prepping for February 2023, I have finally finished Shaw resident and father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson’s, History of the Negro Church. Good lord this book is boring. I’m just yawning at the thought of writing anything about it.

Sadly, this book is not as engaging as the Mis-Education of the Negro. But there are some useful parts, which unfortunately require getting through the tedious parts of the book to appreciate.

19-22-011-museum.jpgBishop Richard Allen By Dsdugan - Self-photographed, CC0, Link

One of the biggest things I got out of it was that African Americans were organizing and establishing and operating churches and preaching in America prior to the Civil War. Slavery and emancipation where major themes in the book. It is also Methodist heavy.

Thinking of this book makes me wonder if there is an alternative approach to Black history, which tends to be focused on the period of slavery. It is so much so, one may be left with the impression that African Americans didn’t do anything until they were emancipated, either by running North or with the Emancipation Proclamation.

There are gems, but you need to dig through a lot of dullness to get to them. When February rolls around, I’ll try not to bore anyone. Well, no more than I normally bore you.

Memory Lane: Richardson Place, 2005

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

1700 Blk Richardson Place NW, Dec 2005

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from  2005.

Memory Lane: Morgan St NW Stairs, ca 2003

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this photo from 2003-ish.

Memory Lane: 1623 New Jersey Ave, 2003

Popup in process

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from  2003, maybe. I don’t trust the date.

As you can see a pop up is popping up in this picture. The 2004 photo hides the pop up.

Memory Lane: Shaw Library 2006- the ugly one

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from August 2006. Above is the Waltha T. Daniels Shaw Library in 2006. There is a much prettier library in that spot now.

Back to School, for what?

If you look at data for Black children’s literacy rates in America, it is just so depressing. The shut down of schools during Covid didn’t help.  There is lots of blame to go around. Parents, community, culture, education fads, and the kids themselves play a part.

So take your anti-depression meds and lets look at Shaw education as school gets back in session.

Back in the Winter of 2019-2020 I looked at all the Shaw schools I could get data on. To be fair, I’ll stick to the 2018-2019 PARCC data, because in 2020 everything went to Hell in a hand basket. Even if there is 2019-2020 data, it would be worse.

Black students PARCC Test Meets/Exceeds Below Adv & Failing
Dunbar ELA 2018-19 16.50% 83.50%
Dunbar Math 2018-19 0.50% 99.50%
Dunbar Males ELA 13.40% 86.60%
Dunbar Males Math 0.90% 99.10%
Cleveland E ELA 2018-19 20.30% 79.70%
Cleveland E Math 2018-19 20.30% 79.70%
Cleveland E Males ELA 10.80% 89.20%
Cleveland E Males Math 24.30% 75.70%
St. Augustine** ELA 2017-2018 49% 51%
St. Augustine** Math 2017-2018 51% 49%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary ELA 2018-19 9.20% 90.80%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Math 2018-19 22.90% 77.10%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Males ELA 7.30% 92.70%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Males Math 18.20% 81.80%
Center City PCS – Shaw ELA 2018-19 26.50% 73.50%
Center City PCS – Shaw Math 2018-19 28.90% 71.10%
Center City PCS – Shaw Males ELA 13.60% 86.40%
Center City PCS – Shaw Males Math 31.80% 68.20%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) ELA 2018-19 39.70% 60.30%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Math 2018-19 68.60% 31.40%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Males ELA 30.00% 70.00%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Males Math 62.20% 37.80%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) ELA 2018-19 36.40% 63.60%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Math 2018-19 32.10% 67.90%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Males ELA 29.30% 70.70%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Males Math 28.70% 71.30%
Garrison ES ELA 2018-19 37.50% 62.50%
Garrison ES Math 2018-19 27.50% 72.50%
Garrison ES Males ELA 45.50% 54.50%
Garrison ES Males Math 36.40% 63.60%
Meridian ELA 2018-19 16.80% 83.20%
Meridian Math 2018-19 14.20% 85.80%
Meridian Males ELA 14.70% 85.30%
Meridian Males Math 14.70% 85.30%
Mundo Verde ELA 2018-19 22.00% 78.00%
Mundo Verde Math 2018-19 22.00% 78.00%
Mundo Verde Males ELA 20.00% 80.00%
Mundo Verde Males Math 25.00% 75.00%
Seaton ES ELA 2018-19 35.00% 65.00%
Seaton ES Math 2018-19 37.50% 62.50%
Seaton ES Males ELA 31.60% 68.40%
Seaton ES Males Math 26.30% 73.70%

**St. Augustine is a predominately African American school and does not break down data by race.

I am left asking myself what percentage of Black students who are below reading level or does not meet expectations in math acceptable? It sure as heck isn’t 99% or 80% as it is at Dunbar.

Ads on InShaw

I’m trying something.

And I have no idea of what I’m doing.

I’ve been approved to add Google ads to the site. I’m trying to figure out how to not put them all over the place and be obnoxious. If you don’t see anything, good. If you see one or two ads, good. If they are all over the friggin place, not good, and tell me.

New Year, New Job, New Goals 2022

Last year I moved out of Truxton Circle after selling my home of 19 years to the wilds of PG County. Despite that I am still the world’s expert on Truxton Circle History and it is not a skill I will be giving up anytime soon.

Speaking of skills, doing the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series, has helped me get a new job. Nineteen seems to be a magic number, as I worked in the same Bureau of Fight Club (they are funny and don’t want me to talk about them) department for 19 years. This weekly, sometimes daily, habit of hunting down people, possibly long dead, and writing up a quick biography has developed a skill of a quickie genealogist. It was a skill I could point to in my job interview, semi paraphrasing Liam Neeson in Taken:

I do have a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. If you are obviously still alive, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will protect your privacy. But if I’m not sure, I will look for you, I will find you, and I make sure you are dead.

It’s easier to do the job if the persons in the document are dead.

However, the new work environment will be a bit more restrictive. I don’t know how much attention I can pay to this site. I do know that I will no longer have access to the primary records related to Shaw and Washington, DC history, as I did with the old job.

I hope that I can work on a few new projects. I have warned that I will look at Squares 552 and 615, the core Bates area of the TC, and because my past research has been used for historic preservation/landmark, I want present owners to make the changes they can now before any restrictions come. There is also a journal article I want to write, but I have to figure out what story the data I’ve cobbled together actually says.

I’m a little sad that my job move means I won’t be exploring the history of DC public housing. Once upon a time public housing didn’t suck, and wasn’t shorthand for crappy crime ridden living conditions. But now it is, what it is.

The new job does pay more…. so I could conceivably hire someone to do the leg work of scanning those records.



1640 4th St NW- Blocked from Google Street View

So here’s a little break from Black Home Owners.

I noticed on Google Streetview this property on my old block is blocked. It’s just a blur. But here is what you’re missing.

1640 4th St NW

photo of property

Back when it was yellow.

It is probably blocked because the builders are throwing on a pop up and a bit of a pop back.

1640 4th St NW Construction

So when it is done. I wonder if it will be a fugly thing, of which there is a 50/50 chance. Or would it be an interesting addition.

The Darth Vader house, 1649 New Jersey Ave NW, is, interesting.

That little part that juts out at the front… that’s allowed now?

And yes, some of you are saying, ‘well that’s what you get for not being in an historic district.’ Remind me, Bloomingdale is a historic district and there are some monstrosities popping up and back on Quincy. And around the corner from Quincy on North Capitol, what’s all that going on? Also when the Wardman Flats (Sq. 519 4th, Florida Av, 3rd and R Sts) became historic the residents were not too thrilled about that.

Anyway,  we’ll see. Which reminds me, people of Bates St., you have a history, and I’m going to write about it once I’m done with the Black Home Owners of the 1920 census. Do your pop ups, pop backs, and vinyl window replacing now before I provide the world with enough evidence for a historic anything application.

Mulatto vs Black in the 1920 Census

As you may know I am working with the 1920 census looking at and for Black home owners in Truxton Circle. I have noticed in the 1920 census African Americans are not called African Americans, that is a more ‘recent’ term. In 1920, we were described as either Black or Mulatto.

I have seen in the census where some members of the family are described as Black and others as mulatto. This confused me, but I tended to dismiss it because those descriptions went away in the 1930 census and I clumped Black and mulatto into one group for my research.

So one day I asked an expert if there were any studies about what made someone mulatto vs Black. As an undergrad I studied the country that is modern day Haiti and the term mulatto has a definition as well as other like terms (quadroon) recognized in law and culture. Outside of Louisiana, it is meaningless in the US if not offensive to those who take offense.

The expert pointed me to the Instructions to Enumerators.My mind was blown because I was under the impression that people were self identifying as mulatto or Black for the census. I was wrong, it was the enumerator who determined if someone was Black or mulatto. It was the enumerator’s subjective opinion that Morgan H. Dawkins was Black but his wife was mulatto.

Above I have an image of a snippet from the enumerator’s instruction book. It reads:

121. For census purposes the term “black” (B) includes all Negroes  of full blood, while the term mulatto (Mu) includes all Negroes having some proportion of white blood.

I believe the African American is a unique person who is of America. Made in America with a percentage of non-African heritage reflecting the diversity of America. With a little bit of Native American here, a little bit of European there, and a whole lot of West African everywhere. So most everyone would be mulatto. I know what they meant….

This makes me wonder if I should take a closer look at census enumerators. Then I remember I have the rest of 1920 to do and then 1930.