The Theatre, the Wall, and Shaw


In Ruben Castaneda‘s S Street Rising, Shaw is described as “a vibrant cultural center” (50). I wanted to explore what Castaneda meant by this, so I set out into Washington to research the area myself. He was right. It is a cultural center and it is quite vibrant. But I feel there’s more to that.

For the first portion of my project, I look at the Howard Theatre and the general history of Shaw. I look at the past and the present. My research had no clear goals in the beginning because I wanted to see where this journey would take me. It took me on a path that explored how Shaw changed over time and whether these changes were as good or as bad as people of the community said they were. The Howard Theatre became my commonplace and it was my entry point into Shaw.

I soon discovered that the image of Shaw was gilded and presented as an up and coming neighborhood. I think there’s some truth to that, but I began to give commentary on the consequences of Shaw as well. I began to give commentary on the plight of older residents and what can be abstractly defined as a “violent” takeover. Ultimately, this shifted my perspective of Shaw and led me on another path to explore how gentrification affected the people of Shaw.

As I delved deeper into my project, I realized the importance of moving out of my entry place and exploring the environment around it. This led me to a quaint little cafe called Uprising Muffin outside of the Shaw-Howard U Metro Station. Well, to be truthful, my friend did because she wanted a smoothie. Upon entering Uprising Muffin, I had some sort of epiphany. I saw a mural that I felt best condensed what I came to learn about Shaw.

This website is the home of all of my findings for my research, and then some. I have attached links below that will make it easier to navigate this site and understand the factors at play in Shaw.

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