On April 1st, 2022, The Humanities Truck went to the DC History Conference, an event that was created through partnership been the DC History Center and the DC Public Library system.
The conference, which took places at the MLK Jr. branch of the public library system, focused on topics and themes such as identity, migration, gentrification, displacement, and more. Fitting these themes, the Humanities Truck park in front of the library displaying “Downtown Displaced: A Case Study of Gentrification in Mount Vernon Square 1840-Present.”
At this event, we asked participants to engage in a new activity in which they would create and label their own maps. We asked them to reflect on their communities within DC and how those areas have changed overtime. The example above shows a map at the corner of MLK Avenue and Whaller Rd. The author has drawn a building on the corner, stating “Done so much for me as a kid coming up back in the 1980’s-1990s!”.
This mapping activity creates space for community members to make their experiences with displacement, gentrification, and change over time tangible by drawing out the spaces that hold meaning to them and marking how they may perceived these changes and recording their reactions to these changes through the medium of a short form oral history interview. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate this creator for a follow up interview at this event.