A Right to the City
These items are housed in the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and appear in the exhibit A Right to the City curated by Samir Meghelli.
"The history of Washington neighborhoods reveals the struggles of DC residents to control—or even participate in—decisions affecting where and how they live. Prior to passage of Home Rule in the 1970s, Congressmen, private developers, appointed members of the local government, and even sitting Presidents decided the course of the city’s development, often with little or no input from residents.
In the mid-twentieth century, massive federal “urban renewal” projects, school desegregation, and major highways, both proposed and built, spurred civic engagement, protest, alternative proposals for development, and a push for self-government. By 1968, “White man’s roads through black man’s homes” became a rallying cry, pointing to the racism that afflicted the urban and suburban planning of the era.
A Right to the City highlights episodes in the history of six neighborhoods across the city, telling the story of how ordinary Washingtonians have helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways: through the fight for quality public education, for healthy and green communities, for equitable development and transit, and for a genuinely democratic approach to city planning."
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