Franklin Square: A Story
When I begun the research for this project in the beginning of the semester I did not realize that the metaphorical rabbit hole of articles, photos, and accounts that I would learn about and experience would be so deep. I found myself not only finding my research through articles online, but also experiencing first hand a part of the history of Franklin Square. I will do my part in discussing some of the reasons to what makes Franklin Square’s past noteworthy.
For those unaware, Franklin Square is a one block by one block park in downtown Washington, D.C. At first glance there is nothing special about this piece of land. It is a fairly ordinary park in a bustling city (Franklin Square Wikipedia). At the start of my research, and even after my first visit to the square, I thought that I would be in trouble trying to find something of interest to discuss. However, the beauty of Franklin Square was not in its appearance, but in its rich history. From, Alexander Graham Bell’s first telegraph message to the protests that echoed the streets of the district on the day of Trump’s Inauguration, Franklin Square is calling out to have its story told. I will try and give the square some justice and discuss four events that I found particularly compelling.
Alexander Graham Bell delivered his first wireless message in 1880 from the Franklin School to a building a block away. The technological importance of this event is one of if not the most important in telecommunications. It opened a whole new way to communicate messages long distances and allowed for information to be shared quicker. Which in turn, led to a rapid increase in technological improvements in other fields. He himself called it one of the most important inventions of his time. (Alexander Graham Bell Wikipedia). Bell’s invention helped bridge an isolated world, that today no longer exists. The global world that we live in now is taken as a given and Alexander Graham Bell’s message was one of the first inventions that brought us to this point.
A year later in 1881, Clara Barton hosted the first meeting of the American Red Cross in Franklin Square. The importance of this meeting might not have been known that day, but now over 136 years later, we can look back and realize the historical significance and Clara Barton and the original members of the American Red Cross. This organization has helped millions across the country in needs varying from disaster relief for those that have had their lives completely uprooted, to services for military members and their families (American Red Cross). The good that has come from Clara Barton and the thousands of others that have donated their time for the aid of others will never be understated.
In more recent history, Occupy D.C. was a branch of the Occupy Movement, that was gripping the nation in the fall of 2011. The Occupy Movement fought for their belief that the money in America was static and that the richest 1% of the population were the only people that could increase their wealth. These activists brought attention to this issue by occupying parks and other public areas across the United States for long stretches of time. Franklin Square was one of the primary places in D.C. where these activists made their stand and points heard. (Occupy D.C. Wikipedia). The ending outcome of the Occupy Movement is still not known because there is still demand for a fairer system in place that allows for more socioeconomic mobility in the United States. Until that day comes about, there will always be those that call themselves apart of the occupy movement fighting for change.
Lastly, the inauguration protests were protests that happened on the day of President Trump’s Inauguration on January 20, 2017. That day protesters marched on the streets of Washington in solidarity to express their disagreements with the outcome of the election. After hours of marching they managed to make their way to Franklin Square where they stayed until they dispersed late into the night (Krieg). I was privileged enough to be able to attend these protests and experience first-hand a small part of that day. Talking to some of the protestors and listening to what they had to say about why they were there, what they had encountered that day, and what they hoped to accomplish was truly an eye opening experience. They all had their own reasons for being in Franklin Square, tales of events they witnessed that day, as well as hopes for their vision of a better future (Shanosky). Like the Occupy D.C. movement, many will continue to challenge the status quo and fight for what they believe is right. Also, the historical relevance will not be known until years after the end of Trump’s presidency where historians and politicians alike can argue the effectiveness of protesters like these to make a difference and affect policy.
I chose these four events not only because of their significance to Franklin Square but also for their significance in their specific part of time. By this I mean, the landscape of Franklin Square and D.C. as a whole has changed in what we consider historic moments. The first two events Bell’s telegraph message and Clara Barton’s first Red Cross meeting both can equate most of their success to an individual. Whereas now, these new modern events, Occupy D.C., and the inauguration protests did not happen because of the will of one person, but instead, by the power of masses fighting for a common goal.
Typically at the end of a paper a writer would end with a concluding statement that they would want the reader to take away from the paper. However, I want to leave the audience instead with this quote from a live streamer that goes by the name Ice Poseidon. “If you’re just like everyone else you’re going to be just as good as everyone else”. All of these individuals and groups that have I have mentioned throughout this paper all had different ideas and ways of expressing those ideas however they had one trait that made them memorable and worthy of writing about. They dared to be different. All found ways to make a mark my paper, on Franklin Square, on Washington D.C., and in history. Franklin Square is not what made these people, they made Franklin Square. Do not be afraid to take a step in a direction that might be different. Who knows, maybe I will be reading about you someday.
- “Franklin Square (Washington, D.C.).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Apr. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Square_(Washington,_D.C.). Accessed 3 May 2017.
- “Alexander Graham Bell.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Apr. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell. Accessed 3 May 2017.
- “You Can Make a Difference.” American Red Cross, Red Cross, www.redcross.org/. Accessed 3 May 2017.
- “Occupy D.C.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 May 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_D.C. Accessed 3 May 2017.
- Krieg, Gregory. “Police Injured, More than 200 Arrested at Trump Inauguration Protests.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 Jan. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/01/19/politics/trump-inauguration-protests-womens-march/. Accessed 3 May 2017.
- Shanosky, Michael. (Personal Account), inauguration protests, 20 January 2017
In Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi’s article Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces, they discuss the importance of both a structured and unstructured learning spaces. They mention how important the structure of classrooms are and how historically this has been the true and tested method for the average student to retain the most information. However, as this article discusses, students are better off if they have a multitude of learning environments with traditional classrooms and untraditional places often lead to the best outcome to learn and retain information.
These untraditional places are crucial for not only the outlier students that would do better learning in a different environment but also the average typical student. Some of these different learning environments include “nature trails and public outdoor areas”. This concept does not seem to difficult to grasp in that students that take advance of as many different learning as they can will often have a better chance of succeeding than those that are confined to classrooms. However, this brings us to another issue. Typically those that can take advantage of different learning environments are those of middle or upper class areas where they have access to things like nature trails. Where as, those in the inner cities would often be confined to only being able to learn in the traditional classrooms. This puts these students at an either further disadvantage.
In the final chapter of David Fleming’s, City of Rhetoric, he talks about three final reasons why he is hopeful that are societies future can be heading in the right direction. They are first that the nature of human society is that one of betterment. Meaning that we are always trying to improve not only ourselves but neighborhood, city, state, nation, and world around us. We have thousands of years of human innovation and progress to look back on that we as a species generally have our best interests at heart. Even though that peoples ideas of what a better future looks like thats all everyone wants in the most part, the only difference is how we get there.
The second point that Fleming makes is that even though some people may disagree with some or all of Fleming’s ideas on society, because they believe these dense cities to be unnatural, often times these unnatural cities provide the best hope for Earth’s future sustainability. This again is similar to the first point where although the ideas are different on how to better the planet, all sides have a common goal, a better future. The only difference is how we get there.
The third and final point Fleming makes is that himself as a teacher has seen hundreds of students and that having seen and heard the ideas of these students he believes that society as a whole will continue to improve. He mentions how it is impossible to not be optimistic of the future when you have so many young people filled with their own creative ways of solving problems how can one not be optimistic for the future.
“If you’re just like everyone else you’re going to be just as good as everyone else” -Ice Poseidon
This quote from live streamer Ice Poseidon sticks out among a mass of motivation quotes. This is because of the simplicity in it. It conveys as simple message, do not mindlessly follow the crowd unless you want to just be as good as everyone else. You will never be better than anyone if you just follow the herd. Often those who succeed the most are the ones that go off and follow their own passions.
In David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, chapter eight titled Toward a New Sociospatial Dialect, Fleming addresses the issue about creating the best possible society. What I believe this chapter basically comes down to is that even if it were possible to create a world where everyone was given the exact same chance with the same benefits and the same upbringing and the same biases “we cannot guarantee that people will act or think the way that we want them too”. Meaning that even in this hypothetical utopian society their will still be many people that fail, many people that commit crime, and a many people that simply do not contribute to that society.
However, in spite of all that it is our duty to try and make the wold better and to not give up. Because even if many people will still fail in our utopian society we will definitely cut down on the umber of people that do as well as give everyone a fair chance to succeed, and as far as legislation goes you can never get everyone to act the way that would be best for them. Legislation can only go so far, but it definitely a step in the right direction of leveling the playing field and giving and equal opportunity to all that want it.
In David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric Chapter 6 discusses his idea of a new urbanism. The main point that Fleming is trying to address is that what “new urbanism” basically boils down too is the fact that many cities across the country are being gentrified. Now whether gentrification is a good thing, a bad thing, or somewhere in the middle is up to debate. Fleming, however argues that it is often a bad thing that leads to the displacement of poor and heavily favors and tailors to wealthier individuals.
Flemings offers us the example of Cabrini Green, a historically low income area in Chicago that is currently going through the process of gentrification. Although this idea of gentrification seems like a good idea on the surface, getting rid of the poorer areas and brining wealth and everything that comes with it to historically poor areas, that does not come without consequences. Flemings believes that as the process of gentrification continues through Cabrini green “thousands of residents” will lose their homes and be forced out due to the rising cost of living. Fleming believes that this idea of a “new urbanism” should never be looked at as inherently good and that with is comes a lot of consequences that us as a society as a whole need to address. We cannot continue to pretend that these problems to not exist and that thousands of people every year are losing their homes do to the ever encroaching wealthier areas pushing them out.
twitch.tv is a live streaming site where in the past was primarily used for gaming is quickly adapting into an irl (in real life) streaming site where broadcasters can show their audience a part of their life they are experiencing through video. In layman’s terms is kind of like a live video log.
I was considering using this site as well as my audience to help gain attention to some of the issues and problems facing the people that call Franklin Square their home. This has been a hobby of mine for some time and incorporating it into my final project seems like a very interesting an ambitions task. I have already gone around and talked to some of the locals of the area and they talk to me about some of the issues they are facing as well as what they like and do not like about Franklin Square. Some of the perspectives and information I received could be found nowhere else and I am somehow incorporating it into my final project.
prezi.com is website intended to aid those in presenting a topic and as a tool to group information together. It also makes the information much more audience friendly and allows the presenter to show their audience quickly and easily the points they want to discuss as well relevant information they have come across.
I would incorporate prezi into my final project by potentially using it as one of the mediums to display my information I which to convey. It would be great for grouping like ideas as well as drawing the links to some ideas that might at first not seem similar but in actuality have a lot in common.
3. image: Inauguration 1 by Michael Shanosky January 20, 2017
This image taken by myself depicts a single police officer in a relaxed stance as a group of his fellow officers are on a break behind him. To me this image seems almost eerily calm with only one officer looking off into the crowd with not that much happening.
In my paper I will use this image to show how an image does not tell a whole story. In this picture one would believe that not that much occurred at the protests and that the police were only there as a precaution. The truth is often found after piecing together multiple images and accounts from multiple perspectives this allows for a wider view of the event as well as give less of chance of misleading an audience with lack of facts intentional or not. This helps support my main point that images can be seen in different lights and that often one image is not enough to create a narrative about.
4. image: Inauguration 2 by Michael Shanosky January 20, 2017
This is another image taken by myself that shows three groups of people at a conflict. It shows the protestors blocking off the street trying to cause a disturbance, the police force, which is attempting to contain the protestors to area surrounding Franklin Square to not cause further disturbances around the city. Lastly, it depicts a group of trump supporters forming a line to protects the police officers from the protestors. This image helps show some of the tension that day as well as many of the participating sides in Franklin Square.
I will use this image in my paper to also show how one image does not capture the whole story of an event. I just looking at this picture many would believe that there was constant back and forth and conflict between all of the major parties, even though this factually true or depict an accurate representation of the events of that day.