Murals like this one, from the Logan Circle/Shaw neighborhood can be seen popping up all over Washington, DC while walking, and they’re beautiful (as is everything in our most gorgeous capital city).
I’m learning how to use software to create the image that I see with my eye rather than the one captured by the camera. Here’s the original:
Just down the street is another beautiful and meaningful mural, celebrating the work of Washington, DC photographer Addison Scurlock:
Scurlock’s studio was just a few blocks from where I live, and from it he captured some of the most haunting images of Washington, DC as it was destroyed following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In its present incarnation, the building that housed his studio is now at the center of the modern day LGBTQ community in Washington, DC, fitting because these are the spaces where the future is born.
Here’s a composite of the two eras (1968-2014) that I produced previously (excuse the poor perspective – I’m always learning :))
As the title of the post says, this neighborhood and the ones surrounding it were deemed “obsolete” by the then The National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1950, with the recommendation that they be completely be re-faced. (Was your neighborhood “obsolete” in 1950? – Greater Greater Washington). These neighborhoods were supposed to be destroyed by a grand highway (they weren’t). They were supposed to be skipped over for Metro access (they weren’t due to community activism). They were supposed to be neglected by city administrators who lived in places very far away, with different ideas about diversity and inclusion (they were). Other parts of the city were not spared and were decimated in the name of modern, car-centric planning, and continue to deal with that legacy.
So maybe in the end, a declaration of obsolescence was really the most health-sparing intervention that happened in this place that was felt to have no value. Except to people like Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., and present and past leaders in the LGBTQ community who continue to lead the world in a better human experience for all. (see: Photo Friday: Leading in a world that doesnâ€™t want you to â€“ Thurgood Marshall Center, Washington, DC USA â€“ Ted Eytan, MD)
For more info about this area, see my series on Vermont Avenue, NW.
My city mirrors my professional experience in health care, which is that innovation happens in the obsolete places, which is why it is always gorgeous in my mind.
More photos of this mural below