Barry Farm Film Premiere

This Juneteenth weekend, join the DC Legacy Project, Martin Luther King Jr. Library and the Bertelsmann Foundation for the world premiere of Barry Farm: Community, Land & Justice in Washington, DC.

Following a screening of the documentary film, directors Sabiyha Price and Sam George will lead a panel discussion of the film and this iconic neighborhood.

About the film:

Take a left off of the Anacostia Freeway on to Firth Sterling Ave – what do you see? You see empty fields. You see shiny new buildings just breaking ground. Construction equipment. Sweeping views of the capital.  As one community member states in this film, if you are a developer, you see a gold mine.

But these empty fields hold powerful memories. Enslaved people once worked this land. Later, during Reconstruction, the formerly enslaved purchased it, and built one of DC’s first thriving Black communities.

Here, the city constructed a sprawling public housing complex in the 1940s, beloved by insiders, if notorious to outsiders. Here, the movement for Welfare Rights took shape. Here, the Junkyard Band honed its chops on homemade instruments before putting a turbocharge into the city’s Go-Go music. Here, residents lived in the Barry Farms Dwellings up until 2018, when the final community members were removed for the redevelopment.

This documentary film, a collaboration between The Bertelsmann Foundation and the DC Legacy Project, tells this story of a journey for community, land, and for justice. It is a story of Barry Farm, but it is also a story of Washington, DC. And, in the cycles of place and displacement, it is a story of the United States of America.

Stay tuned following the film for a community conversation featuring:

Sabiyha Prince, Film Co-Director

Samuel George, Film Co-Director

Joseph Eaglin, Barry Farm Resident, 1944 – 1951

Stephen Gilbert, Descendant of Emily Edmonson

Arlene Horn-Dines, Barry Farms Resident, 1956 – 1974, Etta Horn’s Daughter,

Amber N. Wiley, Historian, Rutgers University

Exposed DC Photography Exhibition

Opening reception May 29, 2022, 3-6 pm.

The 16th annual Exposed DC exhibition will be on view at Lost Origins Outside located along the exterior wall of Ellē restaurant at 3221 Mt Pleasant St NW through July 24.

The show features 38 images that were taken by local photographers and selected from a contest for their unique perspective of the DC metro area.

Amber has a photograph included in the show entitled “Preserving Barry Farm,” and she’ll be at the reception to discuss the subject matter. Proceeds from the purchase of her prints will go to the DC Legacy Project: Barry Farm/Hillsdale.

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.

Preserving Black Revolutionaries

On March 7, 2022 Amber gave the Yale School of Architecture’s George Morris Woodruff, Class of 1857, Memorial Lecture. It was a tremendous occasion to present where her love of historic preservation started. It was while an undergraduate at Yale that she took a graduate seminar in preservation led by Catherine (Tappy) Lynn, that sowed the seeds for her current professional practice. The talk, “Preserving Black Revolutionaries: Carter G. Woodson and the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation” covered her recent work updating the Woodson National Historic Site landmark nomination and research conducted as a Dumbarton Oaks Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies.

A Quest for a Continuing Revolution

On March 3rd, 2022 Amber delivered the fourth lecture in the Sciame Lecture Series: Radical Black Space at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York. Her talk, “A Quest for a Continuing Revolution: Black Heritage and the 1976 Bicentennial,” focused on the research she is currently conducting as an Mellon Urban Landscape Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as the National Historic Landmark nomination update she completed for the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site. She examined the legacy and impact of the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation (ABC), illustrating how the ABC set the precedent for a more nuanced understanding of the American past by expanding the National Park Service’s inclusion of Black historic landmarks twentyfold, including the Woodson site.

The Radial Black Space series brings together architects, preservationists, planners, artists, and historians of color at a precipitous moment. The Movement for Black Lives demands that Americans from all walks of life confront racism and its sordid impact on constructed environments, and understand the rich, vital tradition of Black resistance, innovation, and creativity. Speakers will touch on many questions: How do the places and things made by African Americans disrupt the racial status quo in the United States? How is difference celebrated? How is equity imagined and achieved? What constitutes anti-racist spatial practice? Radical Black Space shows that the Black radical tradition is alive in art and architecture, and that having a handle on Black history is essential to understanding the present and shaping the future. Join us to find revolution in the everyday and to recognize the extraordinary places and objects that Black Americans make and the stories they tell about themselves. Radical Black Space is convened by Marta Gutman and Jerome Haferd.

Sojourner Truth Memorial Project

In November 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a preservation campaign to preserve and protect places that have been overlooked in American history and represent centuries of African American activism, achievement, and resilience. Since launching the program, the Action Fund has raised $70 million and supported more than 200 preservation projects nationally.

Through this preservation effort—the largest ever undertaken in support of African American historic sites— the Trust partners with and empowers Black and diverse communities to expand the American story.

Since October 2021, Amber has served as a thought leader and member of the interpretation team for the Sojourner Truth Memorial Project in Akron, Ohio. Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee, which oversees the project, secured financing from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in addition to the Action Fund. The Memorial Project will include a landscaped park with a sculpture created by Akron artist Woodrow Nash and a plaza laid out by Summit Metro Parks landscape architect Dion Harris. It will be located on South High Street near the place where Truth delivered her famous speech May 29, 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in the Universalist Old Stone Church.

DC Legacy Project: Barry Farm-Hillsdale

Amber is a proud member of the DC Legacy Project: Barry Farm-Hillsdale Steering Committee. The DC Legacy Project is dedicated to uplifting the Black-led struggle for land and housing in DC at an important site of this sacred struggle—the five remaining buildings of Barry Farm Dwellings. In 2020, the site was designated a historic landmark.

By undertaking research, creating art, hosting public programs, and engaging former Barry Farm Hillsdale residents and their descendants in planning and advocacy, we will secure the Barry Farm historic landmark as a commemorative community space honoring the generations of people who have lived in and were displaced from this area. The site is also envisioned as a space for community organizing, education, small business incubation and other activities that support Black DC residents impacted by gentrification and dispossession.

The DC Legacy Project: Barry Farm-Hillsdale is made up of community members, preservationists, scholars, architects, organizers, artists, advocates, former residents, and descendants who have come together to create a vision for the future of five historically landmarked buildings at Barry Farm.

National Heritage Sites Research Committee

Amber is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History National Heritage Sites Research Committee, which oversees the work of the Cooperative Agreement with National Park Service. This includes selection of principal investigators and peer reviewers for all NPS and CESU Task Agreements. To date, she has worked with fellow committee members to select researchers for agreements totaling almost $1 million in projects at the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, and the Valley Forge National Historic Park, among others.