Friday, August 23, 2013

How the history of the Southwest Library is related to DC statehood (DC history I)

At any other time, the history of the Southwest Neighborhood Library would have me oohing and aahing at the race relation improvement fairs, the inclusion of a library in the southwest redevelopment plans, and the long-standing support by community members for a local library.

But this isn't any other time.   It is the week of the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington.   DC residents and friends of the city will rally and march August 24 from 8:30 - 9:30 am in support of DC statehood and self-determination.   And here's why:

The library's Board of Trustees requested $175,000 for construction. The 1938 Congressional Appropriation Act for the District of Columbia included $111,000 for the construction of the Southwest Library as a wing of the new junior high school. (Emphasis added)


Negotiations with the Redevelopment Land Agency and the National Capital Planning Commission over a suitable site continued until 1962 when a parcel at the corner of Third and K streets S.W. was set aside for library use. Congress approved $49,500 for purchase of the site and an additional $36,000 for plans and specifications in 1962. (Emphasis added)

Don't get me wrong.   The history of this library branch is interesting and it provides a necessary lesson on the community, especially for those who are 1) not from DC, 2) are not familiar with the history, or 3) too young to know much about DC pre-1990s.

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