City Within a City
Make For the first half of the 20th century, this neighborhood inspired and sustained the rich social, civic, and cultural life of Washington's African American community. During the years of segregation, U Street was Washington's "Black Broadway" and the heart of African American business and culture.
Here people of color responded with strength to the injustices of segregation, engaging in some of the nation's first civil rights protests while simultaneously building a vibrant urban center of their own – "a city within a city."
African American leaders in science, law, education, and the arts also walked these streets: Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Charles Drew, Langston Hughes, and the opera star Madame Evanti.
Each painting below represents one of the stops on the Greater U Street Heritage Trail. Click to see larger versions and full descriptions of what bit of history inspired each painting.
There are 13 stops on the Greater U Street Heritage Trail. Dana Ellyn is working towards creating a painting for every stop. Please check back often to see the newest paintings and learn a new bit of DC history with each visit!
Learn more about the Neighborhood Heritage Trails on the Cultural Tourism DC website.