LEGACY: an adams morgan story




Displacement has a long history on this ground

Nacotchtank: the Piscataway people’s name for this land

Describing the convergence of rivers and its people

This park was a Black cemetery

Powerful abolitionists lie interred here

We imagine a legacy

Seeds of contemporary resistance

Sowed by generations long past


Act I: A History of Segregation and Resilience



Beautiful Black faces

Living in humble dignity

Under the shadow of segregation

But with heads held high

Showing one another love

This neighborhood can be cruel and austere

But it is home



Children in jubilation

Emblematic of the hope of desegregation

This great faith that together

We will all be stronger

This hope in a nation’s promise



Cities explode

As Nina sings

The king of love is dead

We ain’t ‘bout to be nonviolent honey

From this urban wreckage

A new iteration of movement emerges


Act II: The Era of the Adams Morgan Organization



A community organizes

Building unity from diversity

Manifesting participatory democracy

Remaking a neighborhood’s terrain

A moment of hope and expectation



Ripe fruit from an urban rebellion

DC home rule is born

An opportunity to recreate a city

Reimagining community power

Not statehood

But a taste of autonomy and democracy



A neighborhood in motion

Centering wellness and connection

The catalytic power of youth athletics

A multitude of struggles interwoven

Building potent unity

Challenging speculation and evictions

A neighborhood fighting for its life



Redlining uprooted

But housing prices rise

The community resists displacement

Refusing to relinquish its roots

Paving a path for decades to come

Naming housing as a human right


Act III: The Nexus of Displacement and Resistance



Victories live on

Pasadena tenants claim their building

Co-ops proliferate

Undocumented neighbors claiming equity

A river of justice flows

Infused by healing waters of community



A neighborhood transformed

There is a dialectic of diversity and displacement

Two halves of a shared truth

Gentrification claims our city

Adams Morgan is on the front lines



The Gonzales family had roots here

A mother enchained by predatory lending

Constricted by immigration law

Miguel Gonzales dies freezing

Unhoused in our neighborhood

May his spirit rest in power

May his soul rest in peace


Epilogue: Our present and our future



There is a deep tree of justice 

She sinks powerful roots here

A legacy persists

Like a fire subterranean


But there is an undoing

Unleashing vicissitudes of the market

Displacement and gentrification

Virulent plagues of our era


What we do with this story is up to us

What can we create on the foundation laid

Sacred bricks placed by generations past

Reclaiming a vision of an inclusive Adams Morgan

This poetry collage was created for the Neighborhood Power Project.

The exhibition will be in Walter Pierce Park at 2630 Adams Mill Rd. NW, Washington, DC, from September 10th through the 30th.




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