Annotated Bibliography 3&4- Residents of Shaw

Two people walking down 14th street by Howard Theatre
The street of the Howard Theatre.
  1. Exhibit

Englert, Carlos M., and Morgan A. Eddy. “Underpinning and Shoring of Historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.”, Accessed 26 Mar. 2017.

In “Underpinning and Shoring of Historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC,” Englert and Eddy suggest that the restoration of the Howard Theatre was an intense process that inevitably brought to light major construction challenges. This source is primarily an analysis on the different construction techniques used to restore the Howard Theatre to its current state, but it also provides insight into architectural choices made for the theatre itself. Englert and Eddy, in their report, emphasize the need to maintain the exterior appearance of the Howard Theatre as it was built originally. The interior of the Howard Theatre would preserve some of its original architectural designs, but would accommodate newer technology. In doing so, Englert and Eddy illustrate the deliberate decisions made to bring the Howard Theatre into the twenty-first century.

This source is arguable one of the most unique in my collection. There is little commentary about socioeconomic and demographic differences relating to either Shaw or the Howard Theatre, which some may interpret as a negative characteristic. However, I believe the lack of commentary and the reporting of construction challenges allow for me to make connections regarding Shaw’s socioeconomic and demographic shifts myself. This source also allows me to think about how Howard Theatre came to be a nightclub for some people while also serving as a place one might go to if they wished to listen to opera. This connects especially well with my analysis of the theatre’s website because I will be able to draw relationships between the various services of the theatre to its architecture.

  1. Background

Hyra, Derek. “The Back-to-the-City Movement: Neighbourhood Redevelopment and Processes of Political and Cultural Displacement.” Urban Studies, vol. 52, no. 10, Aug. 2015, pp. 1753–1773.

In the journal publication “The Back-to-the-City Movement: Neighbourhood Redevelopment and Processes of Political and Cultural Displacement,” Derek Hyra adds nuance to the process of gentrification in Shaw. Hyra acknowledge on one hand, the influx of younger affluent residents in Shaw may result in an improved quality of life. He suggests that newer residents may demand better infrastructure repairs and political participation. On the other hand, Hyra also acknowledges that there may be differing perspectives among community residents. Younger affluent residents want to make Shaw a center of revitalization with the neighborhood earning a title of being “new and improved.” Older residents are often pushed to the side and are displaced from their homes, churches, and other community centers. The role of the Howard Theatre in Shaw, however, continues to serve as a place where primarily older residents are able to attend despite the changes around them.

I especially like the analysis that Hyra provides connecting the influx of young white affluent residence to possibly unforeseen social implications. I admired the way the source brought to light two different narratives regarding gentrification and how one might look at it. The source illuminated what newer residence may view their role as, which is essentially as saviors of the neighborhood. The source also illuminates that older residents may view the same phenomenon as a narrative to eventually evict them from their home and destroy their culture. Both views, in my opinion, are equally valid and I believe I can find a way to incorporate them into my larger essay.

  1. Background

Hyra, Derek S., and Sabiyha Prince, editors. Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, D.C. Routledge, 2016.

In Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, D.C., Derek Hyra gives insight on the greater dilemma of gentrification in Washington. This publication is a book with several chapters dedicated to different dimensions of gentrification and its effect on the District’s race relations. The book reinforces “the reality that the District of Columbia is a much more vibrant, vital, and changing urban center than tourist postcard scenes of munificent parks and public spaces might suggest” (322). Hyra explains this by thoroughly deconstructing demographic changes by asking questions like, “Who is supposed to be here? Who is actually here?” He also explores the concept of economic inequality in D.C. by investigating the evolving economic employment structures and its effect on hiring patterns in socioeconomically depressed areas.  His findings lead him to suggest that, no matter how turbulent changes may seem, they actively change the identity of a neighborhood or region. However, Hyra does not endorse viewing such changes passively and encourages residents to take an active role in shaping their communities using the successes and failures of Washington as guides.

In my opinion, this source is especially important for me to understand and put into conversation with my other sources. This is the case because the source enables me to connect the Howard Theatre, buildings I’ve seen around the theatre, and my interactions with Shaw into broader context. My field research on the Howard Theatre has been extremely specific to this point, and while I understood fragments of a larger narrative, this book clearly puts my experiences into perspective.

  1. Exhibit

Samuels, Robert. “Aged out of the District.” The Washington Post; Washington, D.C., 17 June 2014, p. B.1.

Robert Samuels of the Washington Post, in his article “Aged out of the District,” makes the argument that the District of Columbia is actively trying to invite millennials to stay by making neighborhoods more desirable to live in. In this article, Samuels does acknowledge that, with the rising cost of housing and other services, the millennials that can afford to live in D.C. are usually single and affluent. However, he says that the rapid increase of housing costs may inadvertently be pushing even those single millennials out. They are more likely to stay in the District in the short term and in knowing they are only there for a small amount of time, they don’t bother making meaningful connections with long-time residents. Furthermore, the District has been getting so expensive to live in that these millennials are second-guessing their decision to start families. In perspective, however, this does not fare well especially for older residents who may be low- or fixed-income. Then, it is needless to say that community development in the District of Columbia is simply vicious.

Many of my other sources allude to how affluent white millennials are moving to D.C. neighborhoods like Shaw because it’s simply the “next big thing.” Businesses are starting up, crime rates are being reduced, nicer brunch places boasting watered-down ethnic foods are being built. A dream come true until one looks at the repercussions. The truth is, rising costs have inadvertently led to rise of homelessness in D.C. This is a concept that my other sources allude to but have never named. In relation to my other sources, this source can potentially highlight the aftermath of city-sponsored development projects. I can then connect this source and contextualize it with the demographics of who now attends Howard Theatre, or maybe who does not.

  1. Exhibit

Wilgoren, Debbi. “Group Wants Affordable Housing in Shaw: [FINAL Edition].” The Washington Post; Washington, D.C., 27 May 2004, p. DE.03.

According to this Washington Post article written by Debbi Wilgoren, it is entirely possible to align the interests of real estate developers and long-time residents of Shaw. To do this, Wilgoren introduces the ongoing conflict of residents being forced out of their neighborhood due to community development and then a proposal drafted by an advocacy group. In one instance, she quotes a single mother, Anika Trahan, who says, “We cannot afford to stay.” Through the advocacy group Manna, Wilgoren explains that consensus between residents and developers can indeed be achieved. She explains Manna has proposed to have developers: 1) Increase available affordable housing, 2) Offer below-market rents for existing businesses, and 3) Recruit more Shaw residents for jobs created as a result of projects. The success of this proposal is astounding. As Wilgoren states, “Manna officials said the proposal, developed over 18 months, has the support of several advisory neighborhood commissioners, Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham (D), various churches and nonprofit organizations in the neighborhood and five private developers interested in building there.”  Ultimately, this proves that the success of developers doesn’t always have to be at the expense of residents.

This source is will be an essential piece in concert with my other sources because it offers a perspective that would otherwise be unheard. Many of my sources describe a deliberate scheme to systematically oppress the residents of Shaw through gentrification while using the history of the Howard Theatre as a lens. There is truth to this. However, this Washington Post article suggests that there is a possibility to hinder that scheme, to bring about progress that isn’t at the expense of others.

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