Heller, Christopher. “Have You Seen Michael Horsley’s Photos of a Blighted D.C.? Probably.” washingtoncitypaper.com, 28 August 2013.
In his piece, Christopher Heller provides an overview of the photography work that photographer Michael Horsley had done, specifically during the 80s crack epidemic. The piece begins with describing the corner of 14th and T in which Horsley himself recalls “johns bought sex” and“I had a knife pulled out” on him while he was sitting “on my stoop”. These are among only a few of the sights during the “District’s toughest years” for the majority of the 1980s and early 1990s. The piece points out that these “pre-gentrification” documents are as popular as they are because they contrast with the modern white middle-class majority that moved into the city. To some, they reflect a sense of comfort and nostalgia, even though they represent some of the worst parts of DCs history.
I plan to use this source as primary documentation in the cathartic narrative of the ‘real’ DC. Though these photos do represent a sense of comfort for many of DCs older residents, they are also important in showing how DC has in a way improved. Although through gentrification some groups have been driven out, there was still a much healthier outcome for the quality life and economic prosperity from the most modern standard. This is important to take into account whenever anyone criticizes the modern presentation of DC. Just because the change has had consequences does not mean that DC is any worse-off. In addition, just because DC has improved by our modern standard does not necessarily imply that DC is ‘better’ from a community perspective.
Lewis Aidan, McKenna, Bill. “Washington DC from murder capital to boomtown.” BBC Magazine, 6 August 2014.
In this piece from the BBC, authors Aidan Lewis and Bill Mckenna seek to present more background on how DC has gone from the “murder capital” of the United States to one of the most desirable “boomtowns” of the United States. In order to add to the historical information, there are also video documents from both former journalist and author of S street rising, Ruben Casteneda, and photographer Michael Horsley. These videos provide a primary source for what DC once was in contrast with what nostalgia made circa 1980s DC appear. Based on this information, DC has seen in a practical sense a revival. DC is no longer the “murder capital” of the United States, and crime is at a vastly lower rate. In addition, though some argue that there have been some unintended consequences to these changes, DC is economically better off, and much cleaner now.
I plan to use this source as an honest representation of why in a way DC needed to be gentrified in order to allow for it to improve socio-economically. Furthermore, I can use this source to add to the dialogue of what has changed about DC, and if it has a sense of community or an original charm. In conjunction with the the the information on Horsely’s documentation alone, no stone will be left unturned in understanding the whole narrative of 14th street NW, and how it became modern DC.