Washinton Post Articles shed Light on 1618 S Street

Man stabbed to death by assailant in auto. (1933, May 15). The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from


1.    Background

Within this Washington Post news article, author George Brown reports on the murder of a DC resident in which it is argued that twenty-four-year-old John Schanks was a victim of a hate crime. Schanks was at the time an occupant of 1618 S Street Northwest. Schanks was brutally slaughtered by three unidentified white men on the night of May 14, 1933. While it may be assumed that the he was a random victim within the city, the demographic of the area, a predominantly black community filled with influential leaders, provides a reason for why this area in particular. The only witness to the crime was his brother-in-law who was front and center to the situation. He claimed that three white men pulled up in front of the pair when one man jumped out and stabbed Schanks in the chest on the corner of 12th and Rhode Island. After being attacked less than a mile from his home, the victim died at Freedmen’s Hospital.

I intend to shed light on the demographic that is the foundation of the last century of residency at 1618 S Street. In addition to the article depicting a violent section of the city, the crime itself is one focused on race. The nation during the 1930’s was still deeply embroiled in segregation and the effects of Jim Crow laws and this murder is an example of aggression between the two races. However, the fact that a black citizen was killed in the same streets he lived in is still a shocking series of events. Additionally, this source will act as a contrast to the articles and pictures I have depicting the neighborhood now. A prospering and ethnically diverse street bustling with happy people on a Sunday afternoon is a far cry from the scenes depicted in the Washington Post article.


“Mrs. J.D. Kingsbury found Dead by Spouse.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), May 28, 1925, pp. 1, ProQuest Historical

Newspapers: The Washington Post, http://proxyau.wrlc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/149565321?accountid=8285.

2.    Background

This article comes from an unattributed author at the Washington Post who argues the elderly resident living in the apartment had come to a realization that her time on the earth was up. Mrs. Louise Borden Kingsbury was found within a room located in 1618 S Street Northwest. However, her husband John D. Kingsbury had the unfortunate business of calling the ambulance for his deceased wife who was pronounced dead on the scene. Although she was said to have been ill for several weeks, this end was by no means natural.

This Post article will provide background to the foundational struggles taking place within the section of Dupont. Much like in the way of racial crime seemed so unavoidable according to the above article, death had the same effect on this resident. I selected this source as background to highlight another life that has resided within the walls of 1618  S Street. This article once again reinforced the relatability of human mortality. In this way, we can be connected to the Mrs.Kingsbury decades later by using the article as an intermediary. This article humanizes the building in a way that construction records and ownership transfers cannot.

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