| Podcast by McKinnon de Kuyper, Story by Nokuthula Wathi |
U-Street corridor jazz clubs gave rise to the music that defined a generation and a neighborhood. Identified as the nation’s largest urban African American community in the mid-1900s, the music in the clubs exemplified the people’s struggle.
There were many simultaneous developments of jazz in other American cities, such as New York and New Orleans. However, Washington, D.C. was one of the prominent centers as far back as the 1800s.
Dr. Sabiyha Prince, cultural anthropologist and scholar said that the impacts of gentrification on the U Street area left the African Americans a minority and those demographic changes had an influence on the performance culture.
Although the population on U Street is no longer primarily black, there are still live jazz performances at clubs like Blues Alley and Bohemian Caverns. Also, this club landscape has expanded to new spots like Sotto, a relatively new underground bar on 14th street.