Frank, Stephanie Barbara. “If We Own the Story, We Own the Place”: Cultural Heritage, Historic Preservation, and Gentrification on U Street. University of Maryland, College Park, 2005. ProQuest, http://search.proquest.com/docview/304996415/abstract/1CE187B707EA4A1EPQ/1.
Stephanie Barbara Frank, in her publication titled, “If We Own the Story, We Own the Place,” suggests that people must take different approaches to gain more insight into gentrification in Shaw as a whole. Frank suggests looking at gentrification through a conversation of cultural heritage against economic development. She enumerates in her dissertation that we must understand gentrification as a very local process. In Frank’s words, “The key to unlocking the stories about the neighborhood undergoing gentrification is first-hand exploration of the people and the place” (85). Frank further explains that we must look for evidence of gentrification and its ramifications in mediums that span across the architecture of homes to the diction in local newspapers. She even suggests that if you don’t talk to the local people about their experiences, then there’s no weight to your findings.
This source provides extensive background information on gentrification around the Howard Theatre and D.C. at large, but I mainly want to focus on the toolkit section found towards the end of the publication. This section does provide various methods in which we can understand the power of gentrification at play while being an active observer in the area. I want to use this source as a guide to inform my research from this point forward. I want to further explore Shaw and all the information it has to offer if I look for the right things. I believe this source will help me achieve my goal because it gives me the agency to do so.
Lewis, Barbara. “Introduction: The Gentrification Game.” Trotter Review; Boston, vol. 23, no. 1, Summer/Fall 2016, p. 1A,2A,3A,4A,5A,6A,7A,8A,9A.
In her “Introduction: The Gentrification Game,” Barbara Lewis views gentrification through a lens that many may not even consider–war. Lewis argues that the word gentrification, although it has become a buzzword, is rooted in something much more sinister than a gilded view of progress. Lewis says, “At bottom, gentrification is a war game, with at least five basic elements” (2). The first element is to identify the “enemy” and launch a smear campaign, and the second element is to pursue a “divide and conquer” strategy. The third element, according to Lewis, is to breach borders, and the fourth element is to remove the defeated group from their land. The final element is to reflect on history, but blame the “enemy” to justify your conquering. To put it in this perspective is to introduce the fact that there is an inherent violence in gentrifying a space, and this violence does not have to be entirely physical. Rather, this violence is mostly the control and eventual destruction of a preexisting narrative. Lewis supports her argument by using historical examples that span from the colonial era to the present day. What’s most interesting to note about her argument is that it sheds light on the concept that gentrification was never new. It evolved in its practices and processes, but it has been a prominent tool used by the privileged throughout American history.
What I found especially helpful to put into context with my other sources is the concept of gentrification being an act of war. Lewis highlights that the processes of both gentrification and war have five phases in common. These five phases, she proves, are constant and they can allow us to understand the true effects of both events. Some may argue that because of the lack of immediate bloodshed, there is no violence to gentrification. It’s not the same as pulling a trigger. However, the piece Lewis has published encourages us to understand a different kind of warfare. In the context of the Howard Theatre, U Street, Shaw, and broader Washington, Lewis would suggest to think of everything as deliberate. Think of the design of everything as deliberate simply because it was so and everything has an agenda. Maybe then we could explain the takeover of Shaw by white millennials.