This two-story rowhouse seems like an ordinary dwelling in the contemporary U Street corridor. But looking at its history, it serves as a cultural landmark of the neighborhood. The importance of its history comes from the person who used to live there. This house was the residence of Lillian Evans Tibbs. Performing under the stage name Madame Lillian Evanti, she was one of the first internationally acclaimed African American opera singers. She was also the first African American to perform with an organized European opera company and she performed for Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House. The succesful opera singer is believed to be a product of U Street’s musical empire in the 20th century. Till today, Tibbs serves as an inspiration to young opera singers in U Street and contributes to the essence of musical culture in today’s U Street.
The African American Civil War Museum, located on the U Street corridor, is one of the most culturally rich places in that neighborhood. It embraces and showcasees the story of the United States colored troops. A largely unknown story where colored americans fought for the union in the American civil war and many lost their lives in order to give peace to other Americans. I believe it is fittting for this museum to be in U Street because it highlights many traits that African Americans have. It shows how pioneering and revoultionary the black society of America can prove to be. Most importantly, the significance of the museum shows the unity of the African American and explains how U Street became such a famous street.
In many neighborhoods there is usually only one concert or musical hall that every event happens in. That occurs because most neighborhood leaders understand that only one is needed in order to accomodate the musical hunger of some, but not all, residents of the neighborhood. If you ever come to U Street, the idea of one conert hall does not exist. The simple fact that everybody in the neighborhood has a mutual love for music in general creates a need for more seating when it comes to concerts. Therefore, a theatre as large as the historic linclon theater, where so much history happened, is the only place suitable for such a musically sound neighborhood.
Even though howard theathre used to be a place where jazz, classical, and gospel music used to be played, the gentrification promoted the assimilation of younger people and therefore it currently boasts a largely hip-hop theme. Dont get me wrong, it is still very representive of the culture that was built in U street in the early 20th century, but now it doesnt sound as it used to. It does, however, promote the same musical nature that it used to. The culture is the same, U Street still boasts the musical experssion that it used to, the difference is the medium it presents it in. Even though times have changed, Howard theater is still representative of the culture that U Street created when it used to be the jazz center of DC.
U street’s population was largely dominated by african americans in the mid-20th century to the late 1990s. Many people believe that the population was decreased due to the spontateous decision of education, middle class white people to move into the neighborhood. The article this picture is in argues that was not the reason and that in fact it the migration of african americans was nothing close to spontaneous. Politicians like President Obama, and the mayor of DC seen in this picture started to worry about the crime rates and danger that was present in the neighborhood. In an effort to reduce this danger, authorities started to crack down on the vacant buildings that were illegally run by drug dealers and essentially started to impose higher taxes on these vacant properties. As the taxes increased, more money went into the hands of politicians to build new apartment buildings and open them to the public at an affordable price. But, even after all the gentrification and the moving, we still see a majority of african americans at the one and only: Ben’s Chilli Bowl. Of course we see the mix of Asian and White americans, but it says alot about the lasting affect of culture when the african american president of our country chooses to have lunch in one of the neighborhoods cultural landmarks.