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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shaw in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Reading and ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic

Midcity at the Crossroads

 

—Shaw Heritage Trail —

 
Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, April 9, 2018
1. Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker
Inscription. Wrapping the corner across Rhode Island Avenue is Asbury Dwellings for senior citizens. In 1901 it opened as the city's white-only McKinley Technical School, memorializing slain President William McKinley (1843-1901). In 1928 the "colored" school system took over the building for a new Shaw Junior High, honoring Robert Gould Shaw, the white commander of the Civil War Union Army's 54th Massachusetts regiment of black soldiers.

Shaw's acclaimed faculty included abstract artist Alma W. Thomas (1891-1978), who taught there from 1924 until 1960. Today her paintings hang in renowned art museums worldwide.

As time passed, the school became overcrowded and rundown, and parents protested for better conditions. Finally in 1977 a new Shaw Junior High opened at 925 Rhode Island Avenue. Asbury United Methodist Church rehabilitated the former school, and opened Asbury Dwellings in 1982.

During the segregation era (1880-1954), the neighborhood was a center of black education. M Street High School, the nation's first high school (1870) for black students, moved nearby in 1892. Three famous high schools — Cardozo (business), Dunbar (traditional academic successor to M Street), and Armstrong (technical) — were here as well. Thousands of southern families migrated here specifically for the schools, where
Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, April 9, 2018
2. Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker
teachers with advanced degrees found work denied them by discriminatory universities.

The library building across the street honors plumbing businessman Watha T. Daniel. Daniel (1911-1973) was a leader of the Model Inner City Community Organization, an early 1960s coalition founded to ensure that the poor would have a say in the urban renewal of Shaw. MICCO's work evolved into the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan of 1969, designed to repair the devastation of the 1968 riots. The plan called for improved schools, better housing, and more services, including a branch library.
 
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 8 of 17.)
 
Location. 38° 54.761′ N, 77° 1.335′ W. Marker is in Shaw, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of R Street NW and 7th Street NW (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling west on R Street NW. Touch for map. Near the 8th & R Streets entrance for the Shaw-Howard University metro station. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1701 8th Street NW, Washington DC 20001, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grief Turns to Anger (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Phyllis Wheatley YWCA (about 700 feet away); Working for the Race
Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, April 9, 2018
3. Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic Marker
(about 800 feet away); Carter G. Woodson House (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Fires of 1968 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Howard Theatre (approx. 0.2 miles away); Spiritual Life (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dunbar Theater/Southern Aid Society (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shaw.
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches & ReligionEducation
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 66 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 9, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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