Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Histories of Potomac Gardens (Part 1)

Here is the fascinating 1993 documentary In Search of Common Ground about Potomac Gardens residents. The seniors living in Potomac Gardens (public housing in Ward 6) talk about their lives in rural North Carolina and other parts of the South -- many as sharecroppers, harvesting cotton and doing much difficult work -- before coming to DC in the 1950s. The interviewees remember their excitement about DC and their happiness that they no longer had to do agricultural work. At the same time, they also described the new difficulties they confronted in segregated DC.

In her classic, highly readable, eye-opening book on Mt. Pleasant, American University anthropology professor Brett Williams similarly shows the historical, social, economic, and cultural connections between the Carolinas and DC. African Americans migrating to DC (like those in the video) brought Carolina culture with them and traveled back and forth, maintaining ties with the Carolinas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! When we moved to the neighborhood nine years ago, we found this area to be much more friendly than the majority white neighborhoods where we lived before. I have heard since from others that DC's African-American neighborhoods are so friendly because so many people have roots in the south.


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