U Street

In my semester long project I chose to research the famous U Street Corridor. Visiting clubs and resturants on U Street, I have grown fond of its beautiful culture and muscial scene. I learned about its rich history as a African American community to a riot-stricken desserted drug market. In my research I provide many documents, pictures, stories, and lives. Adding to the interest, I also partied hard in many of the places I have researched. Finally, I have comprised a semester long project about the beloved U Street and learned to appreciate what it offers.

Annotated Bibs

Exterior Descriptions

Interior Descriptions 

Mapping Commonplaces

Mapping Commonplaces: How U Street’s past shaped its future

Map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/2/viewer?hl=en&authuser=2&mid=1PkLaNoA2uZaw8Z0Ep63eu0E_IAk&ll=38.91717533568296%2C-77.03167324999998&z=15

The U Street Corridor is a very fascinating spatial network that has experienced many changes. Throughout its history the corridor has seen the height of jazz to record high crime rates and,most recently, a multicultural utopia. Now, when I refer to the corridor as a utopia, I try to exemplify the fresh look of U Street as a melting point. The reason for comparing its culturality to a utopia is to help my audience of travelers and tourists understand the recent change it has experienced. Once the change is understood, it can be investigated and studied to see how the past of U Street beautifully shapes the method that was used to implement its change. The argument is not designed in such a fashion which praises the culturality of the new U Street while mocking the African American ghetto of the old U Street. Rather, it portrays the network which was created in the old U Street in order to explain the multicultural change which has occurred. Of course, such a network can be used at the discretion of the neighbourhood’s officials and was conspicuously used to model the means through which the change was facilitated.

Communion on U Street

To better understand the point of my research, you must understand the rhetoric which was present before the contemporary U Street. Firstly, lets go all the way back to the jazz age of U Street and understand how it emerged as an African American community. As Brianna Thomas put it in her article on “The Washingtonian,” “the neighbourhood hummed day and night.” The interesting mystery was the reason behind all the unity and communion. As Brianna Thomas explains, the neighbourhood had almost 300 businesses all run by black people, many of which were in turn supported by the same people. But, it wasn’t the myriad of businesses which kept the community together in harmony, it was something more magical.

Music trembled through the streets day and night, literally exemplifying the “humming” phrase Thomas used to describe the vibe of the community. Specifically jazz was the unifying music that acted as a honey which attracted every single bee or in this case, person, to the honeycomb. In this situation, the honeycomb is the various famous jazz clubs in which black people met and harmonized over the sweet sound of jazz. The early jazz clubs were literally basements with jazz musicians and instruments, which occasionally served beverages. Further down the road, the predominantly black community realized their love for food, as well as music, and began producing famous restaurants where most of the community would meet. Eventually, the two titans of community, jazz and food, became one when many jazz clubs started to offer food and live music. The black community loved the idea so much that the corridor started to flood with music lovers, food lovers, and lovers of social communion. The U Street Corridor was finally coined “Black Broadway” and continued to flow with black musicians and black artists.

Dessertion on U Street

Zooming a little further in time, the community which boomed with so much life and union turned into a drug market. Furthermore, it was a deserted neighbourhood which housed drug lords and gang leaders in abandoned homes for no charge. All of this change and turmoil was finally seen by the neighbourhood’s leaders. These leaders looked at the deserted neighbourhood and started to come up with ideas which would help the well being of the neighbourhood. The first thing they did was create housing projects which served to be very affordable for the residents around U Street. With minimal success, this idea was halted and leaders started to look elsewhere. Although not expressly stated, leaders started to become desperate to rebuild their neighbourhood. Finally, they looked to the past for some answers and the past answered. According to her article about U Street on “The Atlantic,” Garance Franke-Ruta explains how leaders lowered property taxes and rent to encourage the middle class people to move to U Street. Sooner or later, the plan worked and the neighbourhood started to repopulate. With the repopulation of different peoples, along with the low housing costs, new businesses started to open their doors. Through different combinations of music, food, and culture, venues started to open and fill with different and unique cultures.

My research is provided to explain how the rhetors of the past shape the contemporary U Street Corridor. Using a few famous landmarks, such as Ben’s Chili Bowl and Twins Jazz, I portray the new cultural venues as deviations of these past venues. Through my four rhetors of music, food, culture, and change, I construct a CLS which is derivative of the eternal network of the corridor. Even though I explain my rhetorical situation above, I try to let the commonplaces speak for themselves and make my audience ask themselves: What was before?


Works Citied:

12, Briana Thomas on February, and 2017. “The Forgotten History of U Street.” Washingtonian, 12 Feb. 2017, https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/02/12/forgotten-history-u-street-black-broadway/.

Franke-Ruta, Garance. “The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in D.C.” The Atlantic, Aug. 2012. The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/the-politics-of-the-urban-comeback-gentrification-and-culture-in-dc/260741/.


Solutions to Architectural Exclusion

Exclusion by the first amendment: Freedom of speech

In the context of exclusionary techniques used by cities and towns, it may be beneficial for them to rethink their exclusionary infrastructure in order for a economical gain. In her “Architectural Exclusion”, Sarah Schindler describes ways to alleviate the harms of existing architectural exclusion and ways to prevent it in the future. Beginning with an incentive for city legislators and local governments, Schindler proposes a change in the design of a city in order to provide more jobs and promote the travel to a city or town. She continues with possible solutions which she then evaluates in the present reality to show how probable they actual are. Excluding judicial solutions due to ambiguity of legislation, Schindler then turns to the root of legislation: Federal, State, and local elected officials. Moreover, she turns to administrators who conduct a detailed environmental review to expand their review in order to consider the project’s impacts on the exclusion of certain underrepresented groups. In addition, Schindler pressures legislatures to construct an act similar to the Disabilities Act in which individuals with disabilities are accommodated in order to experience normal civic life.

Although few,  legislators have indeed taken into account the effect of architectural exclusion and prohibited its existence. On February 11, 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898: “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” The order basically called attention to low-income environments and urged federal agents to attend to their effect on the minority community. It required federal agencies to adopt strategies which address environmental justice concerns within the context of the respective agency operations. Although non-binding and moderately effective,  the order showed the issue which Schindler presents was acted on by a president; consequently showing that the issue of architectural exclusion is not invisible.

Works Citied:

Arthur Totten, Bill Dickerson. NEPA Executive Order 12898. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/ej_guidance_nepa_epa0498.pdf. Accessed 1 May 2017.


Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

Law as a factor in Architectural Exclusion

Village of Arlington Heights Homes

Throughout history, law has been used to exclude certain undesirable members of a community from certain parts of the community. In her article “Architectural Exclusion” Sarah Schindler has noted that courts and legislators have often seen architecture and design as ambivalent in the context of excluding individuals from certain areas of a built environment. She starts out with examples of racial zoning and racially restrictive covenants which the courts disapproved of to show that at least some form of exclusion was not tolerable. However, Schindler goes on to describe a method of exclusionary zoning, where municipalities have a minimum square footage and a minimum lot size to make homes unaffordable for poor people and minorities. For example, she extends her argument to the supreme court and quotes their opinion on such a matter explaining that the court required the plaintiff to have intentional discrimination in order to show strict scrutiny. Moreover, legal scholars have touched on this sort of exclusion and have found it hard to prove intentional discrimination, therefore proving the ambiguity that the courts present in the context of this matter.  

In many court cases throughout history, methods of exclusionary zoning have been tried but to no avail. In the court case “Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp,” the Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation sued for  declaratory relief. Moreover, it claimed that the denial of rezoning was discriminatory in nature and violated the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Fair Housing Act of 1968. However, the Supreme Court held that the corporation failed to prove that discriminatory purpose as a factor in the zoning of the village and therefore remanded the case. Finally proving that lawmakers and housing authorities have found loopholes around the law in order to discriminate against certain individuals.


Works Citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp | Casebriefs – Part 2. http://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/property/property-law-keyed-to-cribbet/discrimination-against-groups-of-people/village-of-arlington-heights-v-metropolitan-housing-development-corp/2/. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Practice of Architectural Exclusion


Jewish segragation in Europe

Authorities of municipalities have used a number of exclusionary techniques that have a purpose to keep certain people out of areas. In her “Architectural Exclusion”, Sarah Schindler touches on the specific technique of physical barriers, which several different groups of legal authority use to exclude people. Schindler begins with the fact that several law officials and authorities collaborate with architects and engineers to loop around the law to make it physically difficult for people to access certain locations. For example, architect Robert Moses was quoted on his idea to restrict buses 12 feet and higher from accessing certain bridges from Long Island to Jones beach. Moreover, Schindler explains that this way the architect used physical barriers to restrict people who use public transportation to access Jones beach. Furthermore, Schindler goes on to provide examples of transit stops, highway placements, and street designs to explain how these authorities barricade places from certain people. Ultimately, Schindler shows us how architects and law officials collaborate in order to create subtle barriers which separate people.

This kind of exclusion is not only present in modern times, but also in the history of built environments. According to Professor Monika Richarz, she writes in her article about jews living in Europe in the 19th century and being utterly segregated. She tells us that not only were the jews not allowed to trade and lend money, but also they were prohibited by leaving their community during certain times of the day. For example, she writes that in Tsarist Russia jews were sentenced to live in certain barricaded areas which were like present day ghettos. Looking closely at the issue of exclusion through architecture it becomes more and more evident in the context of undesired individuals.  
Works Citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

Richarz, Monika. History of Jews in the 19th Century and Early 20th Century. http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/pdf/Volume%20I/The_History_of_the_Jews_in_Europe.pdf. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Architecture as a regulation

Manhattan, NY is separated from the 3 boroughs by water

Throughout history, people have constructed cities and social norms in such ways which discriminate against undesired groups and make it very hard for them to access the other side of town. In her article “Architectural Exclusion” Sarah Schindler exemplifies the apparently hidden, yet obvious, role that architectural and design play in the behavior of people in a space. At first, Schindler addresses the seemingly obvious role architecture plays by giving us an example where a park bench has armrests, which serve to keep homeless people from sleeping on public benches. However, she then describes that basic geographical and planning scholars do not express concern about architectural importance in the exclusion of groups in a space. Schindler then tells us how obvious the role of exclusion is in the circle of legal scholars. For example, she quotes legal scholar Lawrence Lessig when he writes about a situation where a highway divides two neighbourhoods. Although subtle and not easily noticed, the role architecture plays in exclusion is well known between many legal scholars and authorities.

An example of exclusion through architecture is the well-known island of Manhattan. In the city of New York, there are three boroughs which surround Manhattan. These three boroughs, Brooklyn,Queens,and Bronx have a high population of minorities which work at low-income/skill jobs and create a lot of crime. In order to separate these minorities from the scholars and skillful people, Manhattan was made to not be easily accessed. Having less than 10 bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan and the other three boroughs, people in each borough would think twice about getting on a train or buying a car to travel to the island. Therefore, the deficit of connecting bridges or tunnels exclude people from the other three boroughs from entering the island of Manhattan.



Works citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

“Manhattan.” Wikipedia, 30 Apr. 2017. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Manhattan&oldid=778043782.

Miracle on U Street and Bohemian Caverns

Nelson, Daryl. “Wale Goes Go-Go on ‘Miracle on U Street.’” The Boombox, 19 Dec. 2014, http://theboombox.com/wale-miracle-on-u-street/.


In his article on the “BoomBox”, Daryl Nelson introduces DC native Wale and his song “Miracle on U Street”. Nelson tells his audience that in addition to his mixtape “Festivus” he released this song as a sort of Christmas present for his hometown. Furthermore, he explains where Wale’s song’s title comes from as he tells us that it is obvious play on the classic holiday film ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ In addition to that explanation, Nelson provides some of the song’s lyrics in order to relate them to U Street. Finally, he ends with Wale’s next appearances and the names of the cities he will be in.

This article contains a production of a rapper who was brought up by the producers present in U Street. It gives my research an argument/exhibit source that exemplifies the connection between contemporary musicians and the musical U Street. It expands my research to the life of a famous rapper and his music. The article shows that his music contains the rhetoric which was created by a thankfulness and love for U Street. With this research I can show an example of U Street’s success as well as support my argument of its musically rich nature. Lastly, I can use the information present in this source and be sure it is reliable because it contains a contemporary document created by a DC native.   

Musician Quincy Phillips sets up his drums for one last live jazz performance
Stein, Perry. “A Legendary Jazz Club Is the Latest Icon to Close on U Street.” Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/bohemian-caverns-hosts-its-final-show-as-u-street-continues-to-change/2016/03/28/8d460ec6-f4ee-11e5-8b23-538270a1ca31_story.html.
Perry Stein describes the end of an era, in his article on the “Washington Post”, as a legendary jazz club opens its doors for one last jazz performance. He explains that the prominent contemporary musician for the Bohemian Caverns, Quincy Phillips, prepares for a bittersweet last jazz performance of the venue. Moreover, Stein portrays the Bohemian Caverns as a centennial venue which has seen many changes to U Street. For example, he tells his audience how the venue withstood the riots in the 20th century and continued to produce live jazz performances for DC. In addition to that, he also takes the feelings of contemporary musicians, which played at the venue, and describes them to us as he quotes their nostalgic words. Finally, he ends with the heart broken remarks in which the owners of Bohemian Caverns describe that they cannot afford to renew the lease.
This article contains a venue which withstood all the eras of U Street but has suffered the consequences of cultural mixing and basically time. It gives my research an argument and describes the effect of multicultural populations in U Street. Likewise, it gives me an example of a centennial venue which could not accommodate the contemporary tastes of music. Therefore, I may also use it as an exhibit in order to help my audience understand my argument. Lastly, it is a credible source of information because it is about a real jazz club in U Street.

Peaches of Ben’s Chili Bowl and Native rapper Oddisee

Morgan, Richard, and Richard Morgan. “One Woman Has Stirred the Pot at Ben’s Chili Bowl for 40 Years. Her Name Is Peaches.” The Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2017. washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/one-woman-has-stirred-the-pot-at-bens-chili-bowl-for-40-years-her-name-is-peaches/2017/04/12/7a9ccab6-1ee2-11e7-ad74-3a742a6e93a7_story.html?utm_term=.bc5caef5f2bc.

Bernadette “Peaches” Halton has seen it all from behind the counter at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

In his article in the Washington Post, Richard Morgan writes about a woman who is eternal to the operation at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Bernadette”Peaches” Halton has worked at Ben’s chili bowl every since her 17th birthday. Morgan goes on to tell the story about the friendship between Bernadette and the current owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl, Virginia Ali. He describes a friendly first encounter with the two and then tells us how Ali quickly learned to love Bernadette. Ali even explains how Bernadette practically ran the business because of her general knowledge about the neighbourhood. He basically brings the mother-daughter relationship between the two to the audience.

This article is a very important source for my argument. U Street is a culturally significant neighbourhood and this article highlights that. A loving relationship between a black and an older white woman in the biggest cultural landmark in U Street. The article builds credibility as it goes on, taking quotes straight from the two, and taking us through a day in Ben’s Chili Bowl. It produces specific material from the specific neighbourhood I am researching and in a specific cultural landmark I am researching. I believe it has narrowed the discussion for my topic.

Kimble, Julian, and Julian Kimble. “Oddisee Returns to His U Street Corridor Origins, Playing the 9:30 Club for the First Time.” The Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2017. washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/oddisee-returns-to-his-u-street-corridor-origins-playing-the-930-club-for-the-first-time/2017/04/21/20325690-268f-11e7-928e-3624539060e8_story.html?utm_term=.52404f9705dc.
U Street rapper Oddisee

In Julian Kimble’s article on the Washington Post, a DC native rapper is highlighted as he returns to his hometown and returns to his favorite street. Oddisee is described as a big DC rapper coming from maryland. Kimble tells us that Oddisee started his career sneaking into Republic Gardens which is on U Street. He goes on to explain how Oddisee met his fellow rappers, yU and XO, in Capital City records which is right on U Street also. Finally he explains his success and multitude of albums he created, along with Oddisee’s current whereabouts.

Kimble’s article allows me to put another aspect of my research into better perspective. This article shows the effect of the emphasis U Street puts on music and give the audience an understanding of the success coming out of U Street. I can use this evidence and DC’s love for the artist as credibility of the claim that renowned artist’s come out of U Street. I would say that this article creates another dimension in which one can see the lasting effect of such a musically cultural neighbourhood.

U Street’s New Directions and Twins Jazz


U Street’s vicinity

Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/u-street-corridor-preserves-its-roots-as-it-blossoms-in-new-directions/2016/03/17/4b8b1a0c-d58c-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

In her article in the “Washington Post”, Harriet Edleson describes the U Street corridor as maintaining its roots while blossoming into other directions. To start of the article, Edleson gives us a brief description of what U Street was in its prime during the early half of the 20th century. Describing the prominent artists like Duke Ellington, Edleson tells us the story of how U Street boomed in Black culture and music back in the early 1900s. Suddenly, she switches to the contemporary neighbourhood and how it has changed from being unicultural to multicultural. Edleson describes that it is packed on Friday and Saturday nights with an array of different ages, cultures, and colors. She continues with different aspects of the neighbourhood such as real estate, landmarks that survived the change, crime rates, education, and transportation.

I would use this source as an argument  source because it uses the fundamental base to structure my argument. Even though this article about U Street is more centered on creating an imagine which inspires the residents of DC and other states to consider living on or near U Street, it contains valuable information about U Street. Since this article describes the mostly multicultural U Street, it contributes to my argument about the rich culture of U Street. It even narrows down to the roots of my argument which describe that the history of U Street contributes to its lively musical night scene. This is a very credible source because it uses quotes from residents and the reliable statistical sources to enhance its argument.


Kelly, left, and Maze Tesfaye came to the United States on a student visa in 1972.

West, Michael J., and Michael J. West. “These Sisters Never Imagined Their Restaurant Would Become a D.C. Jazz Institution.” The Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2017. washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/music/these-sisters-never-imagined-their-restaurant-would-become-a-dc-jazz-institution/2017/03/30/2973fa6e-0a70-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.1c8c00295ec7.

In his article in the “Washington Post”, Michael J. West describes an almost centennial restaurant that has become yet another landmark in U Street. Started by two sisters, Kelly and Maze Tesfaye, Twins Jazz was opened in 1987. West goes on to explain that  it was first intended to be a normal restaurant offering seating and food, but it went on to become a jazz club. West tells us that through a stranger’s help, Twins Jazz turned into a prominent jazz club which local artists begged to play in. He also describes the hardships they faced when they were evicted due to noise complaints in 2007. He goes on to tell the readers that through unity and tradition, the reputation of Twins Jazz stayed the same as it opened up for a second time with the same waiters and cooks.

The article that I presented will be an exhibit to my main research argument. It is one of many examples of the eternalness of U Street. Many of the venues which built the network of U Street still stand today and this is one of them. What I genuinely like about this article is that it describes the attitudes of the people which contributed to U Street’s upbringing and maintained its history throughout the change of gentrification. It adds another dimension to my research as it describes the success of restaurants through the years on U Street. I believe I can use this article because it is very credible taking quotes and stories from the actual owners of the restaurant/jazz club.

The Corridor is Cool Again

In her New York Times article “The Corridor is Cool Again”, Alicia Ault highlights one of her favorite neighborhoods in her hometown of DC. She presents the re emergence of the neighbourhood of U Street in a proud, and exciting fashion. In fact, I don’t believe anyone can blame her. Imagine the last time you saw your hometown it was being desecrated, neglected and forgotten. Flashing back to modern times, the same place is booming with cultural diversity, nightlife, food, and music. It’s the change of the century and of course you would want to tell everyone about it so they can share the same experience. Now, if you were to write about its brilliance, I believe that it is only appropriate to write in an epideictic oratory when describing this neighborhood.

From her website, Alicia Ault explains that she is a DC native who used to cover everything health care. From the Reagan to the Obama administration, Ault covered the beginnings of the AIDS crisis to the ascendance of the Affordable Care Act. However, in 2014 she explains that after eight years as a medical publisher she joined the freelancing community. In her freelancing career she tells us that she has written about things like the  Patagonia mountains and the Consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Most of all, she explains that if she had a “holy trinity” to chose from it would be the three things she loves most: Food, Culture, and Music.

Wild women wear red clothing store

She truly found the perfect mix of her favorite elements when she realized the exciting re emergence of her hometown neighbourhood of U Street. To make things even more picturesque for her article, she had the pleasure of describing a place where she spent so many of her years in. Ault was literally there when it happened and revealed specifics about the street which no website or article could ever describe in such detail. Whether you wanted to know where to get 70s retro oversize sunglasses or a Saint & Angels belt with a Jesus-and-Mary diptych buckle, you knew Ault’s information was reliable because it was coming from a native.

Not to mention, she did it with so much pride when she described that for a restaurant on U Street named Creme “there was a two-hour wait for the restaurant’s upscale version of Southern dishes like shrimp and grits(16$) or pork and beans (18$).” Basically explaining that even though there was a two hour wait, the restaurant served cheap dishes that were in fact so good that they even created the two hour wait in the first place. Beyond her numerous examples of U Street’s food and clothing outlets, Ault also commented on the unusually vast art scene. From the western end to the eastern end of the remade neighbourhood of U Street, there were numerous works of polish art, local art, war-themed photography, and many more. Not only did she include the diversity of art, but as a side note she added that one of the galleries participated in the famous International Center for Photography in New York. Ault used the day-scene of U Street to subtly persuade tourists and  locals to visit this neighbourhood.

U Street’s Landmark: Ben’s Chili Bowl

Using seemingly obvious techniques of logos, and ethos, Ault pulled the ordinary traveler closer to booking a ticket to DC in order to experience U Street’s awesomeness. But Ault didn’t only use the outlets and exhibits to attract her audience. She also quoted college kids, senior citizens, and former tourists on their views on this reincarnated street. A former DC resident, who moved to Philadelphia, had a revitalizing experience when he revisited his home town. Ault tells us that Phil Coleman, a forty-three year old, thought he got out on the wrong metro stop when he went to visit a friend on U Street.  To say the least, the former resident was astonished by the diverse crowd and multitude of things to do. Ault shows her audience that if something is so new and eye catching to a resident , it would be even more enjoyable to an ordinary tourist. She even shows her readers a totally different perspective of a young Georgetown graduate to incorporate and relate to the new generation of young people.  The 24 year-old alumni speaks to the relaxing, classy, and jazzy atmosphere that he feels when he goes out to U Street. With this Ault uses ethos in order to help readers from all ages relate to the experiences which are presented in her article.

Ault persuades tourists and travelers very well with all of her appeals to different aspects which elicit a sense of credibility. But, she does this with a passion which seems to eternal and the real rhetoric of her article is the fire which fuels this passion. Now, if we were to put ourselves into Ault’s shoes, we could understand what this fire is and where it comes from. Well, if the riots and gentrification of U Street started in the late 80s and went into the late 90s, then Ault was only a teenager going into her mid 20s during these riots. She basically was taught not to go to the neighbourhood of U Street because of its crime

U Streets Bohemian Caverns modern times(left) and the 90s (right)

and danger.  Now, almost 15 years later, Ault returns to see the area of crime turn into a new and exciting utopia of new cultures. Something which was off-limits and not really safe in her childhood turned into the place to be in terms of her three favorite things: Food Culture and Music. Ault did what any regular, sentimental human being would do; she revisited the revolutionized neighbourhood and bathed in its luxuries and excitement. Not only did this reincarnated neighbourhood attract Ault and many more like her, but also it was representative of who raised her. The change of U Street showed the entire world that if DC as a whole can change such a trouble neighbourhood into such a utopia, together, DC can do anything. I believe that Ault caught on to this representative situation and used U Street to show where she really came from. She used the neighbourhood to take pride in her hometown. Her specific oratory was fueled by this love for her city and contributed to her epideictic tone. She wanted to appeal not to a group of people, but to everybody and show that U Street is not the only utopia present in DC. Of course, as all great journalists know, pride and the ability to express it is the key to writing a persuasive article.

We all understand Ault’s excitement  to rush and put her love on paper, but the interesting thing is how she did it.  Since her article is from over a decade ago, there are new inspired journalists in the same section Ault wrote in on the New York Times; the section is called travel and it has thousands of new articles since Ault’s. These new articles do not contain places as important as U Street, but they present their area in a more colorful way. These articles contain multimodal sources like picture, videos, audio clips, etc. For example, Lucas Petterson, a journalist for the New York Times uses a professional photographer, Darren S. Higgins, to create a beautiful image capturing the cool and hip of Baltimore.

Hampden Junque, a small vintage store whose shelves are packed with movie memorabilia

The multimodal sources make the article more appealing to the new technological generation and therefore allow for more agreement and interest about the article. In contrast, Ault’s article contains mostly plain text, without any pictures or alternate descriptions of U Street. This fact is especially interesting because of the time difference between the new and Ault’s relatively old article. It does not necessarily speak to the effectiveness of the article, but it does create two different norms for two different generations. I would say that Ault’s type of presentation of her article is representative of the time she wrote in therefore, all her audience needed was text. On the other hand, these new journalist’s articles appeal to a much different audience. An audience which needs a more colorful and appealing stimulation of their senses in order to understand and grasp the content of the article. In general, Ault’s audience is more old-fashioned and simple making them more easy to appeal to.

This explanation of  how these different journalists present their article does not necessarily show that Ault ineffectively presented U Street, it just shows that she did it in a different time to appeal to a different audience. Ault’s article was extremely effective and representative of her rhetorical situation. Just like in modern times people have created youtube to present information on video, the early 21th century, which Ault wrote in, had newspapers and journals to present information. Ault’s article wanted to express the utopia of U Street to all people willing to travel in 2006 by means of simple text which expressed love and pride of her hometown. She did it because she wanted to show everyone not only how U Street changed, but also because she wanted to she the effort her hometown of DC put into its neighbourhoods. Even if it Ault produced an article not appealing to the contemporary generation, I believe the rhetorical situation consistent with the time in which she wrote this article effectively expresses the importance of her content present in her article.







Alicia Ault | Journalist and Adventuress. http://aliciaault.com/. Accessed 22 Apr. 2017.


Ault, Alicia. “U Street: The Corridor Is Cool Again.” The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2006. NYTimes.com, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/14/travel/escapes/u-street-the-corridor-is-cool-again.html.


Peterson, Lucas. “Exploring Baltimore, a City With Style to Spare, on a Budget.” The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2017. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/travel/baltimore-budget-travel-john-waters.html.

“Ben’s Chili Bowl.” Tiny Urban Kitchen, 6 May 2010, http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/bens-chili-bowl/.

Bugs, Diva. “Wild Women Wear Red … Closing?!” Diva Bugs (TM), 28 Apr. 2008, http://divabugs.blogspot.com/2008/04/wild-women-wear-red-closing.html.