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Strategy: Build Ties Between Academics and Community

Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.


Could a University celebrating its Bicentennial and known for its academic rigor, influence in Washington, D.C., and help a once-disenfranchised community celebrate its little-known history with African American neighbors – some of whom had had a stake in the neighborhood since the founding of the Republic only to be pushed out by gentrification and the growth of the University community?


University historians, administrators and community collaborated to produce a television documentary based on historical evidence uncovered in the print history, Black Georgetown Remembered, premiered and followed by a panel discussion with former residents and descendants about historical and social present-day implications of this once socially and socioeconomically diverse community.


The events produced a dialog that revealed an almost-forgotten history of one of Washington’s oldest neighborhoods and opened avenues for mutual understanding and encouraged preservation of some of Georgetown’s historical treasures.

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