Capital Constructions: Race and the Reimagining of Washington, D.C.'s Local History in the Twentieth Century

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2006-12-05

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From the time of its creation to the present day, Washington, D.C. has been conceptualized as a symbol of the United States, rather than a city in its own right. Such a view disregards the idea that Washington, D.C. possesses a local history. Through the investigation of two recognized historic districts--Georgetown and U Street--this thesis explores how Washington, D.C.'s local history has been commemorated. Examining the constructed nature of these historic districts--the "reimagining" of them--reveals that over the course of the twentieth century, Washington, D.C.'s local African American history has been both erased as well as embraced. Furthermore, the recognition of these two areas as historic has had dramatic repercussions for residents of these neighborhoods.

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