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Duke Ellington's Washington DC Urban Renaissance




Urban Renaissance


Like many other urban centers of Black America, Washington's U Street community lost its glory and cohesion and spun into decline in the 1950s and 1960s, hit first by the end of legal segregation and then by the rioting in 1968 after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King. But in the 1990s, U Street has made a stunning comeback by building on its celebrated past. After the DC government put up a major office building and a new metro station, developers and charitable organizations began restoring legendary sites - the Lincoln Theater, Whitelaw Hotel, 12th Street YMCA, and True Reformers Hall. Jazz clubs and restaurants reopened. Handsome old 19th century row houses were restored. Modern condos appeared and Manna, a community development corporation, reconditioned more than 300 houses for low income owners. As historian James Horton observed, U Street's renaissance offers hopes to a Detroit, a Cleveland, a Newark. We're talking about a community which has a history. History is important to a community. It provides the foundation."

Landmarks in Shaw's Renaissance

African American Civil War Memorial
Ben's Chili Bowl
Bohemian Caverns
Dunbar High School
Ellington Mural
The Howard Theater
Howard University
Industrial Bank
Lincoln Theater and Colonnade
The Reeves Center
Remembering U Street Sidewalk Exhibit
Republic Gardens
State of the Union
True Reformers' Hall
12th Street YMCA
U Street/Cardozo Metro Station
The Whitelaw Hotel


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