Exploring the Shaw Community through the Lens of Two Community Anchors, Lincoln Temple Church and Shaw Community Center 

Our proposed project aligns with the mission of HumanitiesDC to enrich the quality of life, foster intellectual stimulation, promote cross-cultural understanding and promote appreciation of local history in DC neighborhoods and falls within your vision to “transform lives through the power of the humanities.” Shaw is a central neighborhood in northwest DC and its U Street Corridor historically has been the city's black social, cultural, and economic hub, witness to Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and numerous riots, marches, and protests that fought to achieve racial equality.

During the past decade, the face and demographics of Shaw have changed dramatically with a great influx of young, non-African-American professionals. This sea change has caused consternation among our small community with many long- time residents feeling that they are being driven out of their own neighborhood. Shaw is a neighborhood in transition with average incomes showing significant increases, yet, poverty continues to impact the educational attainment and socio-emotional well- being of the youth. As Shaw rapidly gentrifies, the narrative of its legacy residents remains unexplored and untold. SCC hopes to remind community of that legacy but to use the Study as a way of rekindling the passion for social and racial justice through the lens of two community anchor institutions and change agents.

SCC hopes to relate the black narrative in Shaw by examining and memorializing LT’s social justice legacy, honoring its contributions and learning from the past.

In this way, SCC dons LT’s social justice mantle in its current programs and acts as socio-economic change agent in the Shaw community. Activities and products include: 

Mr. Acker studies and memorializes the LT’s legacy in Shaw. The completed Study as well as Executive Summary will be uploaded on the SCC website and digitized for HumanitiesDC. 

• Mr. Acker and ED Sudi West will assist Shaw youth in identifying and interviewing Living Legends (Anne Weissenborn, only living founding member of SCC; Channing Phillips, son of Rev. Channing Phillips, former pastor of LT and social justice activist; Rubin Tendai, former pastor at LT, civil rights activist; Anne Houston, editor of the LT Reporter; Others will be identified and added to the list. 

• SCC youth will produce polished video-recordings of the interviews and upload these interviews onto the SCC website. 

• Workshop presentations/learning materials gleaned from the Study will be presented by SCC staff/Living Legends to SCC youth and to community. 

• Development of Walking Tour App - Creative Junk Food and SCC youth will create a digital app with the embedded QR codes, including appropriate transfer stamps for various media/ formats. They will edit and upload video, publishing through the app interface linking, and creating User Experience (UX) interaction design for the Tour. The app will highlight a series of historical and cultural engagement experiences located within and around Shaw, e.g., many famous African-American voices such as Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and Roberta Flack have sung in the sanctuary and the app would link to their performances. Mr. West will identify the sites on the Tour. The Tour app is innovative because it takes dull facts and make them come alive and accessible by today’s digitally inclined society. 

Public Historian Daniel Acker is well-qualified to research and write this Study. In 2015, after a two-year effort, he co-authored the publication of 150 Years by Faith: History of Rehoboth Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. 1864-2014, a documentary survey of the manuscripts, photographs, and stories the church’s historical committee had collected. It was published by The DC Community Heritage Project, a partnership between Humanities DC and the DC Historic Preservation Office.

He has presented papers to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History on the History of Black Owned Banks; African American Mutual Aid Societies, African American Architects, and The Rosenwald YMCA’s and William Washington Browne. Similarly, from May-September 2019, Mr. Acker will study LT church archives, “Washingtonia” historical records at the Daniels Shaw Library and the Library of Congress. He is excited about interviewing living church members (Living Legends) and to pour over old copies of the LT Reporter edited by Annie Houston, a former LT member. He will listen to recorded radio interviews and watch videos of LT’s last worship service held in 2018. By October 2019, he will have completed the Study. In October 2019, he will walk the Tour sites with ED West and SCC youth. The Study will be the basis for website content, teaching materials, Tour information on the app and Wikipedia updates to the LT page. These extracts from Study will occur from October 2019 - May 2020.

SCC hopes to relate the black narrative in Shaw by examining and memorializing LT’s social justice legacy, honoring its contributions and learning from the past.

The Study will be a researched or remembered account of the church as it was, celebrating growth, economic accomplishments, and the many ministries within the church that were formed to have a positive social impact on the community. The Study may serve as a model for other DC congregations seeking to preserve their history. Unlike Rebohoth Baptist Church, however, LT has closed its doors. We hope that the Study will serve not only as a reminder of the past but also a way forward - rekindling the memories of the church’s legacy as social change agent and giving hope to SCC youth and families for our collective futures. Once the Study is completed, its contents will be used as the underlying basis for website content, promotional materials, teaching materials for workshops, Town Halls and parents’ meetings, the information on the Tour app and updates to the L-T Wikipedia page. 

The Lincoln Temple Church building remains the hub of the Walking Tour.

Other partners on the Walking Tour include:

Lincoln Theatre, Metro-PCS store which houses the only extant Go-go music collection, African-American Civil War Museum, Lincoln Westmoreland affordable housing complexes, Industrial and Friedman banks, local businesses of color (Wanda’s, Lofton Tailor).

 

More sites will be added to the Tour. Each of the sites’ owners or managers will assist in the development of its own historical narrative. Each site’s owner will need to give permission to embed a QR code on its property so that people on the Tour know where to stop to learn about the significance of the site. 

In its role as a Community Anchor, SCC hosts community Town Hall meetings every quarter and mandatory monthly parents’ meetings. We will gather community input (e.g., other Living Legends). During these meetings, Mr. Acker will explain his project, seek public input and discuss the Study’s findings.

 

As he walks the Tour with ED West, he will speak to the owners/mangers of the sites and documents their historical significance. As extracts from the Study are made for website content and teaching materials, he will be instrumental about sharing that information with our after-school and workforce youth, and used in our annual Celebrate Your Heritage skits, panel discussions and TedTalks.

Mr. Dan Acker

Public Historian, principal researcher for the documentary survey (the Study). 

 

Mr. Sudi West

SCC Executive Director, acts as the grant’s Program Director. A native Washingtonian,

Mr. West is the institutional powerhouse of this project.

He and SCC youth will walk the Tour with historian Dan Acker and will relay information

he has gleaned from living in the Shaw community for his entire life. 

Consultant Creative Junk Food

Will create the app and along with SCC youth,

strategically embed the QR codes at the various sites on the Walking Tour.

 

150 SCC Youth

Will play a seminal role: they are the co-creators of the app,

principal interviewers of the Living Legends,

videographers of the Living Legends

and the target audience of the developed curriculum.

May-September 2019

Historian Acker

Will explore archival materials at LT, Daniels Library of Congress.

He will interview living church and Board of Trustee members,

Review the LT Reporter, National Historic Registry forms. 

October 2019

Historian Acker

Completes the Study, walks the Tour sites 

with Mr. West and SCC youth.

Acker provides Study to HumanitiesDC. 

 

November 2019

Extracts from the Study for teaching materials, presentations and workshops

will be taken and used in our programming and events.

For promotion purposes, Constant Contact communications begin. 

Creative Junk Food

Designs/Creates app for Walking Tour

[Embeds QR codes.] 

 

June 2019 - August 2019

SCC youth will interview Living Legends during summer camp.

They will present a polished production of the interviews for upload to the website. 

February 2020

(In time for Black History month)

website content

Living Legends interviews will be uploaded on onto the website. 

March 2020

Walking Tours begin.

• Uploads onto SCC website.

• Panel discussions, presentations, and youth TEDTalks at 3 SCC-sponsored annual community events: Celebrate Your Heritage (black history); Community Graduation and Awards Ceremony, and May International Day of Service.

• Panel discussions or presentations during year-round afterschool, summer camp and youth workforce development programming. The workshops or presentations may be offered during our Speaker services by SCC staff and the Living Legends identified during the Study.

• Constant Contact monthly email communications.

• Using an already existing app platform (e.g. AirBnB) the app would offer a digitized Walking Tour of Shaw institutions and sites. The Tour will start from the Lincoln Temple building where SCC currently provides programming. 

SCC is uniquely positioned to implement this program because we have:

1) the necessary human capacity and financial resources secured.

2) long history in providing cultural identity and place-keeping studies, culminating in our annual Celebrate Your Heritage (CYH) performance.

 

3) the technological knowledge to create the app; and 4) a long history as a community leader in Shaw. 

• For evaluation, SCC will perform observation of the youth at work and have them complete historical knowledge, cultural awareness/cultural competency surveys of their impressions of the Shaw community, past and present.

The surveys will measure the difference in knowledge, level of engagement, duration of engagement and their feelings about interaction with Shaw community leaders. 

• SCC will also measure youth creativity using multiple media and improved self-confidence and mastery of various media, especially in the polished production of the Living Legends interviews. 

• Creative Junk Food will add an evaluation function on the app to rate the Walking Tour.

If time permits, CJF will add an interactive feature on the app so users may rate their experiences and comment on the Tour.

Their ratings and comments will be added to the digital archive as a User Blog. 

• As Mr. Walker makes presentations at community Town Hall meetings, parents’ meetings, and other public forums, SCC will use surveys to measure the caliber of the speaker, the quality of information offered, and level of knowledge acquired by the audience.

The survey will seek information on how to improve, and what was the most useful/least useful information presented.

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CONTACT:

1701 11th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Phone : (202) 232-1258

Email : info@shawcommunity.org

© 2019 Shaw Community Center

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