Black History Month meet Memory Lane: Carter G. Woodson’s House

Looking at some of the photographs I’ve taken I get to go down memory lane. Since it is Black History Month, let’s look at the father of Black History, Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s house at 1538 9th St NW. But let’s look at it in February 2014. A decade ago.

At the time it didn’t seem the National Park Service was going to do anything with this property or the adjoining properties it owned. I also vaguely remember the NPS was trying to take over a private home on the corner that is now a restaurant.

It had been this way for a while.

Dream On S Street – In Shaw – Mari in the Citi

I listen to a fair number of audiobooks because there are duties at work that do not always require my brain to be engaged for the task. On call, but not always engaged (ex. photocopying or scanning).
Recently I listened to two books that I highly recommend should be heard close together. Maybe not back to back as I listened to a sci-fi teen in danger book that was the last in the Divergent series in between the two. The first book is the updated Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, DC, updated as the previous version leaves off somewhere in the early 90s. This updated edition goes up to Mayor Gray, but the bulk of it focuses on the Barry era. Marion Barry the activist, Barry the Mayor, Barry the crackhead, and Barry, Mayor for Life. It’s not about Barry, but the corrupt city he cultivated, a city that started off promising after Home Rule (1973) but rotted under the cult of personality for someone who was not a servant leader. I didn’t care much for Barry before this book, I disliked him more after learning of the alleged sexual assault in the book.
S Street Rising, is DC from the point of view of a crackhead crack reporter. Well former crack addict, now recovered and healing reporter for the Washington Post. I really enjoyed this book, I completely recommend it for any resident of the 400-800 block of S Street NW and anyone who walks or bikes through that area, as I do. The book begins around 1989 when the author Ruben Castaneda arrives from the west coast to DC. I didn’t arrive in the DC metro area as a resident (frequent visitor to family who lived in DC & MD) until 1995, and Shaw until 1999/2000, so I could see easily in my mind’s eye the Shaw Castaneda was describing. The book gave me a better appreciation for the New Communities Church on S Street, from which one of the best DC non-profits, Manna Inc, sprang. Still not a fan of ONE DC, which may have sprung from Manna, it’s like ANSWER, but a bit more housing focused. I’m not a fan of ANSWER either, but I digress.
Wonder S Street
S Street Rising also looks at the city and Barry. But this book helped show that Barry’s interest in drugs and women had a negative impact on the  governance of the city. Barry threw Justice under the bus and ran her over good in the appointment of Larry Soulsby, who removed an effective person in Homicide in order to protect a Barry crony. Also Barry was too preoccupied with his passions to govern the city, leaving the governing to his handlers.
S Street, and Shaw for that matter is a different place than it was in the late 60s, or the 70s, or the 80s, or the 90s. I love learning about it’s past, but I just don’t want to live in the past. Too many drug dealers and shootings.

S*H*A*W* M*A*S*H* (the In Shaw version)


Life goes on though.
The day care co-op plays in the rear of the Kennedy Rec Center.
Young men sit at the corner of 7th & O, yards away from the checkpoint.
People with medical/ mental/ ??? issues walk down 7th.
And I explored the maze of pedestrian options in alleys, parking lots and walkways between 6th & 7th. It might also be an option with a Smart Car.

Monday walkabout

Greetings from the free and liberating part of Shaw, Truxton Circle. Pretty much a block or two away from the Convention Center nothing looks different. Well except for police loitering over at Dunbar or in the park across from the Safeway.
I walked around. Ran some errands. The register was down at the 5th St Hardware and I think I saw Michelle Rhee walking out the Safeway with her assistant/ aide/ some random guy pushing her cart. 5th Street is normal. 6th Street appears to have the 70 bus running down it. Military vehicles block 7th and 9th and a tiny portion of 8th for one level of security. The G2 seems to be running normal on P, and taxis were running up and down O. I was able to walk by the Humvees and military personnel towards the checkpoints without showing any ID. The sidewalk is blocked off at 7th and O on both sides and I didn’t test whether ID required to walk to the front door of 1330 7th St. Little matter as you can get to their parking lot from the rear.
I spoke with one resident living in the militarized zone and he pretty much had a good spirit about it all. Of course he complained about the set up noise and the helicopters flying overhead kept him up at night. Also he’s happy he’s parked in just the right space where it is close enough, but doesn’t require the military to unblock his way.
Also I noticed on my walk, some hangerouters moved to sitting in cars and throwing chicken bones out of open windows. I nearly got hit by a bone. The grocery stores were busy. Azi’s didn’t look busy. But it was 11 something and one guy in there. I don’t know how busy they are normally.
Some others have reported on the security around the area. Such as Economic Policy Journal looking more at the south end. The BAANC blog editor worries about fire safety. CCCA has a clever SHAW MASH post but I’m guessing the military medical vehicle wasn’t sitting in front of Kennedy when the Prez was out there. Cause that would have been a good picture. Maybe I should walk out again (I forgot something at the store) and take a picture of it.

Where’s when you need them?

So they are closing the area around the Convention Center. Ok.
They are closing the streets to cars.
They are restricting parking.
They are fencing the streets surrounding the Center and restricting resident and pedestrian access.
Oh, no. That’s sounds like someone’s 4th Amemdment rights are going to get violated!
I do hope residents do get a lawyer because it just seems to me that their American right to move freely and access their homes, entertain guests will be violated for 48 (or more) hours. And though some of you would gladly give up your Constitutional rights for any length of time for the shiny beads of security, nobody should be forced to have to carry around ID just so they can go home. Seriously, if events like this require this level of security, they really should have it somewhere in West Virginia or Camp David or somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.
Today it’s the residents of Mt. Vernon Sq for 48 hours, the next day it may be a few weeks for the residents of Trinidad….. oh, never mind.

Addition- Looking around I came across Flex Your Rights when trying fond info on what citizens can do regarding police barricades around their homes.

Post Office on Chopping Block

PoP already posted this some time ago about the LeDriot Post Office, that thing that sits between New Jersey, Florida and Rhode Island Avenues. Yes, it isn’t open on weekends, it closes at 5pm M-F, and it is terribly small. Regardless, it is the one place where I buy my stamps and send off books I’m selling (Half.Com). I guess a letter to Eleanor Holmes Norton is in order. I know the Postal Service is hurting for money, but when the Fed-Ex and UPS has more outlets with convient hours, it may be the easier choice when deciding how to mail off packages. And that does not make USPS more profitable.

Anyone know anything about this bill

Today around noon the DC Council is looking at the “Human Rights for Ex-Offenders Amendment Act of 2009”, Bill 18-0136. According to the Council’s agenda it is:

To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit employment, housing, and educational discrimination based upon arrest record, or conviction record, with certain exceptions based on the relationship of the arrest or conviction to the position sought, lack of knowledge of the conviction, reliance upon an authorized certification, a record of violent crimes, or positions specifically exempt.

The DCGOP is looking at it from an employer standpoint. I’m comcerned about it from a residential and landlord standpoint, as I know several people who rent out their basement apartments, and when they bother to do a background check past criminal activity is one of those things. I believe it should be at the owners descretion.

Why I don’t support the bag tax

Because this weekend I discovered farmers market strawberries and an iPhone don’t mix in a bag. The theory is that we should carry our canvas bags, and my main bag is a canvas bag. However, not all my groceries and purchases play well together or with the thing occupying the bag, and when my phone decided to be one wonderfully designed brick for 24 hours after sharing a bag with strawberries, I wondered how this new well intentioned law passed by the DC Council will work out in practice.
Yes, I wasn’t for it before the iPhone- Strawberry incident, mainly because the law includes paper bags and I wondered how it would impact pet poop pickup. I wasn’t aware paper bags were clogging up the waterways, so I question the logic of including paper bags which are recyclable, compostable, and good for boxes to be mailed. Seriously, taxing PAPER!?
Back to my bag…. I do have several canvas and other totes. And I do try to avoid getting a bag for small purchases. The $.05 credit I’m supposed to get doesn’t always get credited when I forgo the bag, I wonder if the charge will be levied regardless? Other problems include the fact that the bag has a limited amount of room, and it doesn’t help that I’m carrying around other things in it. Even when I have an extra plastic bag in my tote, that bag has been used and reused for lunch and more than likely is busy holding plastic lunch containers.
My first job was cashier at the Winn-Dixie and there I was taught proper bagging. Part of the lesson was certain things weren’t supposed to go in the same bag. Detergents, shampoos, soaps, paper (birthday cards, magazines) and the like, don’t go in the same bag as food, like milk, loose veggies and fruits, seafood, and deli items. Apparently the veggie bags and paper pastry bags will be tax free, so maybe there will be a greater use of those.

It will be interesting to see what human behavior results from all this.

Carter G Woodson, and a broke agency

Yesterday was a nice activity filled day. Did some gardening in the morning. In the afternoon got some dancing in at the Afro-American Civil War Memorial as part of DCLX. Lastly there was a meetup with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and some other local bloggers. My hearing is bad because of the background noise at the coffee shop I didn’t make out all that she said.
A topic of interest was the National Park Service and parks. Park-parks, with open space and stuff. However I asked about the NPS and the Carter G. Woodson house on 9th St. The short answer was the NPS did well enough to get the money to buy the Woodson house and the adjoining houses. They don’t have any money to do anything else.


This morning I had in mind to write one thing but read in today’s Washington Post “D.C.’s Past Is Prologue,” about the Historical Society of Washington D.C. over on Mt. Vernon Sq. Reading the article I’m a bit concerned about the paragraph:

Thomas said he envisions a place where more records could be archived, such as papers from neighborhood associations — and that could increase the annual line item. The society’s supporters are suggesting an appropriation of $2.5 million to $4 million.

I have no problem with the city supporting and funding some of the Historical Society’s functions, but I’m concerned about what this would mean for the DC Archives (Naylor Ct) and the Washingtonia Division at the Martin Luther King Library (Gallery Place), both under the DC government’s jurisdiction. Does it mean the problems of the DC Archives can be ignored?
The article also says the Historical Society tells the city’s non federal stories and “the King public library and the Jewish Historical Society… have archives, theirs are more specialized.” When the author writes the “King public library” can I assume that’s the Washingtonia division at the MLK? And if so, what exactly is it’s speciality that makes it so different from the Historical Society’s archives? More printed and published material at the MLK? A better set of census microfilms at the MLK? Just for my own research I found a lot of overlap. With maps they and the Library of Congress overlap. The major differences were in quality of the document, ease and price of making duplicates, access, staffing and hours. However each repository has its own particular strengths that don’t overlap. The Historical’s on-line catalog makes it a superior resource as well as its fantastic photo collection. The Washingtonia’s strength is that it gets down to the neighborhood level in organization and has a great library of published resources. But they both cover DC history.
Also DC history is all over the city. It’s at the Historical Society, in the Washingtonia division of the MLK, the Library of Congress, George Washington University, Georgetown, Catholic, National Archives, and the DC Archives.