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50 Years Ago in Shaw: Remembering 1968 with Videos and a Tour

Photo Credit: Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


On April 4, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN.  As word reached Washington, DC, neighborhoods throughout the city exploded in anger and pain, fire and looting.  Half a century later, the Shaw neighborhood is still recovering from the aftereffects of the 1968 uprisings.


"Shaw in '68: An Oral History" is the first in a series of short videos created by Shaw Main Streets and Long Story Short Media. Using archival photographs and film footage from 1968, and oral histories collected by the District of Columbia Public Library's Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, "Shaw in '68" brings to life the events that forever changed the neighborhood.


Neighborhood leaders like Ibrahim Mumin and Jackie Hart recall the emotions that they and their neighbors felt as Shaw was torn apart. Additional videos are in production and will be available this summer.


The "Shaw in '68" project is supported by HumanitiesDC and the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office,  and funded in part by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Additional funding was provided by Douglas Development Corporation. 


To continue exploring 1968 in Shaw, please join us for a walking tour of 7th Street focusing on the 1968 riots and their aftermath:


Shaw 1968: A Walking Tour

Saturday, April 7, 2018, 1:00 PM. Meet at pocket park at southeast corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue, NW. Free. No tickets or reservations required.

Seventh Street in Shaw was devastated during the riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in April 1968 The neighborhood was changed forever, as blocks that were formerly filled with independent businesses were looted and burned  and homes were lost. Decisions to demolish remaining buildings and implement the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area plan resulted in new high rise and garden apartment development and vacant lots that remain to this day. Join Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander M. Padro for a guided tour of 7th Street, bringing the uprising to life with archival photographs and oral histories, seeing the scars on the neighborhood that still await healing, and learning how the neighborhood has been transformed in recent decades into a model for inclusive urban revitalization. Sponsored by Shaw Main Streets and the Washington Architecture Foundation and presented as part of Architecture Month 2018.