Carter G. Woodson Park Dedicated
The new Carter G. Woodson sculpture and renovated park at the southwest corner of Ninth Street and Rhode Island Avenue were dedicated to the memory of the father of black history on the afternoon of Dec. 5. Shaw Main Streets sponsored the dedication, which included representatives from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Park Service. The dedication of the park was scheduled to coincide with Dr. Woodson’s 140th birthday, which was being celebrated in December.
After everyone stood for a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Alexander Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets, opened by noting how long it took to get to this point. He originally got the city to name the park after Dr. Woodson in 2001. Real improvements to the park did not start until 2005, when preservationist Denise Johnson worked to develop projects to mitigate the effects of the new Convention Center on Shaw’s architectural heritage. Padro credited Johnson, now deceased, with organizing the project and identifying sources of funding, such as grants from the US Department of Transportation.
Then Charles Allen, councilmember for Ward 6, remarked that the dedication was an important recognition of the neighborhood’s history and another milestone in the rapid revitalization of Shaw. Ann Honious, deputy superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, described the importance of the park to her project to convert Dr. Woodson’s adjacent home into a National Park Service site. Ray Kaskey, the renowned sculptor who created the remarkable bronze of Dr. Woodson, said how honored he was to get the commission, but also noted that it took 10 years to complete due to bureaucratic delays. Adrienne McCray, the landscape architect for the project, remembered that when she first came to the site, the most prominent feature was a large old oak tree that was surrounded by asphalt. Besides removing the asphalt trapping the tree, her design included a rain garden to retain water and prevent runoff.
Padro concluded the event with a quote, inscribed on the back of the monument, from Woodson’s book “The Story of the Negro Retold,” which explains that that the historian must ensure that “Truth comes to us from the past, then like gold washed down from the mountains.” The ceremony ended with the playing of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday.”
Shaw Main Streets Holds Holiday Party
Shaw Main Streets held its annual holiday party at the Howard Theater on the night of Dec. 7. With hundreds of Shaw residents attending, it was the biggest of the SMS holiday parties so far. Guests included DC Councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Vincent Orange, along with former Mayor Vincent Gray. Dozens of Shaw businesses donated food and provided other support. Entertainment included DJs and vocal performances from the DC American Classic Woman of the Year Pageant. A raffle for attendees awarded the winner a gift basket courtesy of Dacha Beer Garden. The night ended with a massive line dance.
Seaton Elementary Principal Declared 2015’s Best
Seaton Elementary School Principal Kim Jackson was declared Principal of the Year by the DC Public Schools. The announcement was part of the annual Standing Ovation Awards, where DC Public Schools recognizes excellence among its teachers, administrators, staff, and schools. Jackson, who is in her fourth year leading Seaton Elementary, was applauded for creating “a positive and inclusive culture at Seaton, where students form strong bonds that reflect their diverse background.” Chancellor Kaya Henderson made a surprise visit to Seaton to inform Jackson of her award. The award comes with a cash bonus and will be formally presented at the Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools event at the Kennedy Center, Feb. 1.
Holiday Miracle on Seventh Street
While all of Shaw swelled with the holiday spirit, the most celebrated sign of the season was the transformation of Mockingbird Hill. Rechristened Miracle on 7th Street, the sherry-focused bar was decorated to reflect the holiday season. A Christmas-themed diorama above the bar included both gilded deer and golden dinosaurs. The back room was the Hanukkah Hangout, with a menorah overlooking the ham-carving station and a yule log video. New drinks with names like Yippie Ki Yay, MF, and You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out! were crafted quoting films with holiday references. The results led to a line of people outside, every night, waiting to get in.
Shaw Makes the Big Time
If you still need proof that Shaw is the place to be, look no farther than the year-end issue of The Washington Post’s Weekend Section. Food critic Tom Sietsema declared Convivial best new restaurant of the year. The reopened Duffy’s Irish Pub was named best re-emergence, and Uprising Muffins’ Upwich ice cream sandwich was the best food hack. Looking ahead, the cover announces, “Coming this year to Shaw: Even more restaurants,” with Kyirisan, Metier, All Purpose, Buttercream Bakeshop, and Hazel opening soon. Nightlife editor Fritz Hahn hailed the 2016 reopenings of The Columbia Room and The Passenger, “Probably the most anticipated bar opening of the year.” Add the stories on Blagden Alley’s DC Alley Museum and the history of the 9:30 Club, and now everyone knows that Shaw is the neighborhood to beat.