SOURCE: New York Times
By the People, for the People, but Not Necessarily Open to the People
“'It breaks my heart that I can no longer access a building that has meant so much to me during my lifetime,' said Kenneth Bowling, a historian at George Washington University." Emily Badger writes that increased security will also impact the public spaces and parks accessible to the residents of the District.
SOURCE: Washington Post
The Complicated Racial History of the High School D.C. is Renaming
Renaming Woodrow Wilson High after Edna Burke Jackson, who taught history as one of two Black faculty members in the years after desegregation, is an obvious choice.
SOURCE: The Baffler
Trumpania, U.S.A.: Making Federal Buildings Fascist Again
by Ed Simon
Trump's obsession with establishing neoclassical architecture as the default style for federal buildings echoes the delusional plan of Adolf Hitler to rebuild bombed Berlin in a monumental style purged of "decadent" modernism.
SOURCE: Washington Post
White House Barriers Show We Have Forgotten the History Behind Lafayette Square
by Aurélia Aubert and Lorna Bracewell
That the principles Lafayette stood for were so brazenly repudiated in a square named in his honor underscores the depth of the crisis in which the United States is engulfed.
The Capital City and the Civil War
by S.C. Gwynne
In the winter of 1863–64, Washington was the most heavily defended city on earth.
The Turkish Embassy’s Surprising Role In Desegregating D.C. Jazz
What was a completely segregated art slowly — and somewhat secretly — began to integrate in the halls of the Turkish Embassy.
A Brief History of Presidential Inaugurations
by Rick Shenkman
From the mordant to the dramatic.
SOURCE: Washington Post
At history conference, a few different views of the District during Lincoln’s time
by John Kelly
Why the city of Washington D.C. is worthy of study.
At Congressional Cemetery, goats eating their way through an acre of poison ivy
The herd of 25 goats rumbled into Congressional Cemetery in Southeast Washington on Wednesday morning, passing tombstones engraved with words such as “The Honorable” and “HOOVER” (as in FBI legend J. Edgar.)They had been taken there for a mission. Over the next week, the goats are supposed to eat more than an acre’s worth of poison ivy and English ivy, which are imperiling the historic cemetery’s trees and endangering the gravestones.The 206-year-old cemetery, owned by Christ Church of Washington and run by a nonprofit group, figures the goats are a cheaper, less toxic way of cleaning up the 35-acre property, which borders the Anacostia Watershed....
Sculptor removes phrase from memorial to King
WASHINGTON — The Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin finished removing a contentious phrase on the memorial for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the end of the month.The phrase came from Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech. It read, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”Critics of the memorial, including the poet Maya Angelou, said the phrase did not show the true nature of the full quotation. The actual quotation was: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”...
Woman arrested after green paint found on organ at National Cathedral
A wave of vandalism continued to mar some of Washington’s more popular landmarks Monday with at least three more attractions spattered with green paint, and authorities announced the arrest of a woman near one of the incidents at Washington National Cathedral.The latest crimes occurred three days after the Lincoln Memorial was hit in similar fashion. On Monday, the light-green paint was discovered on an organ in the cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel, in the cathedral’s Children’s Chapel and on the granite base of a statue next to the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall.D.C. police said Monday evening that they had charged Jiamei Tian, 58, whom they believe to be homeless, with one count of defacing property.The mysterious markings on the statue of Abraham Lincoln blemished one of the country’s most visited attractions and an iconic symbol of freedom. In the cathedral, they tarnished what is widely known as the nation’s house of worship — and a building still under repair after an earthquake two years ago caused such severe damage that it closed for three months....
Newseum draws visitors but loses money
WASHINGTON — In five years since moving to its new home overlooking the U.S. Capitol, the Newseum has become a major attraction with 4 million people visiting its exhibits about journalism and the First Amendment. Yet it’s been struggling mightily to cover its costs.Public financial documents reviewed by The Associated Press show revenue fell short of expenses by millions of dollars in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Its parent organization, the Freedom Forum, has used its endowment to provide the bulk of the Newseum’s operating revenue since its creation, and the endowment’s principal value has steadily declined from $600 million to about $373 million at the end of 2011.Nonprofit management consultants say it’s worrisome for a museum to be relying so heavily on a shrinking endowment, but the Newseum’s top executive says it’s not in financial trouble....
Why Doesn't D.C. Have a Military Parade on the Fourth of July?
by David Austin Walsh
On Bastille Day in Paris, the trees lining the Champs-Élysées are covered in the French tricolor. Battalion after battalion of French troops march down the avenue, gleaming bayonets attached to their Space Age rifles. Tanks, armored cars, and nuclear missiles roll past a viewing stand where the French president and his generals look on as martial music plays.It's one of the largest military parades in the world, and it's been going on nearly every year since 1880 (except from 1940-1944, for obvious reasons). Here's what it looks like:Here's what the Fourth of July parade down Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C. looks like:
SOURCE: The Atlantic
Tony Horwitz: The Mammy DC Almost Had
Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. His books include Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War and Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.If I say the word "Mammy," you're likely to conjure up the character from Gone With the Wind. Or, you may think of Aunt Jemima, in her trademark kerchief, beaming from boxes of pancake mix.What you probably won't picture is a massive slave woman, hewn from stone, cradling a white child atop a plinth in the nation's capital. Yet in 1923, the U.S. Senate authorized such a statue, "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South."As a Southern Congressman stated in support of the monument: "The traveler, as he passes by, will recall that epoch of southern civilization" when "fidelity and loyalty" prevailed. "No class of any race of people held in bondage could be found anywhere who lived more free from care or distress."
DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood hiding graves
WASHINGTON — On a May afternoon in 2001, a group of volunteers cleaning up trash in Walter C. Pierce Community Park in Adams Morgan found a bone that appeared to be a human femur. The Washington region was enthralled at the time by the search for missing former government intern Chandra Levy, and the bone’s discovery sent murmurs rippling through the cleanup crew. Finally, a nurse in the group examined the bone. It’s not Chandra, she told the group. This bone is very old.Beneath Walter Pierce Park are two adjacent historic cemeteries: the quarter-acre Burying Ground or Place of Interment for the Society of Friends or Quakers, which dates to 1809, and a 6 3/4-acre African-American cemetery, which operated between 1870 and 1890. At the peak of its use, Mount Pleasant Plains Cemetery was the largest African-American burial ground in the District of Columbia....
Historic DC tree accidently cut down by Park Service
...The National Park Service said the contractor — a Lothian company called Greentree — was supposed to cut down a dead ash tree on the other side of the park. There was nothing wrong with the ginkgo....It was memorialized in 2006 as part of the Park Service’s Witness Tree Protection Program, an effort to encourage the public to relate to the history of the city through its trees. Historian Jonathan Pliska wrote that the ginkgo was probably planted in 1873, although it may have been there earlier and been incorporated into the design of the square, which honors Adm. David Glasgow Farragut, the naval hero best known for saying: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”The tree was 102 feet tall, with a crown spread of 79 feet and trunk circumference of 142 inches. That made it the largest ginkgo in Washington. Apparently it was a male, so it didn’t have that stinky fruit....
SOURCE: Southern Spaces
Mark Auslander: Enslaved Labor and Building the Smithsonian -- Reading the Stones
And what erudition. He can even read stone. Only he never figures out that the veins in the marble of Diocletian's baths are the burst blood vessels of slaves from the stone quarries.
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