Riot, Renewal, and the Rise of a Black Ghetto
This chapter focuses on the uprisings following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and their aftermath of urban renewal and commercial redevelopment. This chapter also maps changes to the built environment on H Street onto changes in how blackness and capital intersected. The chapter charts the unique history of the H Street NE corridor to illustrate the ways in which the meaning of blackness shifted over time as well as the development and designation of H Street as a Black space. The chapter explains how the devaluation of H Street, as a Black space, and the strategic deployment of visual rhetoric depicting the space as a “blighted,” “slum,” “ghetto” prepared the space for its eventual re-valuation and re-elevation for neoliberal times. Ultimately, this first chapter tracks the long march of blackness to become diversity and considers the ways in which blackness became synonymous with the urban ghetto.
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