30 march 1968 & shaw residents fear 'urban renewal' is 'negro removal'
"All they know is that the houses they live in are just as bad or worse as before. The landlords seem to be making fewer repairs. More and more houses are vacant and boarded up."
John Howard, MICCO citizen director (March 1968)
#OTD 30 March 1968 Shaw* residents expressed concern and fear that, despite their organizing, coalesced under the Model Inner City Community Organization (MICCO), the "urban renewal" program that officially started in 1966 would be a "negro removal" program. Just like southwest in the 1950s and the Northwest One area (bounded by North Capitol St, New York and New Jersey Aves, NW) a few years earlier.
The photo above is from a community-held election in Shaw at the old Raphael Theater (1409 9th St NW) to vote on which neighbor would be elected and forwarded to President Lyndon B. Johnson as a recommendation for one of the nine appointed City Council seats. However, many residents didn't participate in the election because they feared intimidation and retaliation from the city government, especially housing and welfare agencies.
*I use the designation 'Shaw' although it is a problematic term that grew out of the "urban renewal" program.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you or a family member living in Shaw at the time? Do you remember what the neighborhood looked like before King's assassination? Do you remember MICCO? Do you remember the Raphael Theater or the Congregation of MICA, which used it for services? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DC Public Library, 20 August 1967. Photographer unknown.
Amber Wiley, "MICCO: Urban Renewal With the People, By the People, For the People," 4 April 2017.
Leonard Downie, Jr. "Shaw Fear: 'Removal' or 'Renewal' ," Washington Post 28 March 1968.
Paul Hathaway, "Shaw Area Votes, But the Results Are Kept Secret," Evening Star 20 August 1967.