Putting Shaw on the Map

On April 19, 2022 presented “Putting Shaw on the Map: Planning and Preservation in the Heart of Black Washington” to the Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians in Washington, DC. The lecture built upon a keynote talk she had previously delivered for the organization’s biennial symposium “Race, Ethnicity, and Architecture in the Nation’s Capital” in 2021.

In 1974 the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation (ABC) began a two-year contract funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey Black historic sites in the nation’s capital. As they determined, “Shaw has more historically black sites than any other community of its size in the country.” As a part of the 701 Comprehensive Planning Assistance Grant program, the survey’s purpose was to identify and protect historic properties, then earmark them for rehabilitation using federal funds. The ABC saw preservation and planning as essential to maintain both the people and places of an embattled District neighborhood. This presentation discussed the efforts of ABC to use novel planning and preservation mechanisms to combat decades of disinvestment in the heart of Black Washington.