Spill the Tee
Welcome home my avid readers! With February/President’s Day/Black History Month coming up, any regular blogger could tell you to go visit the National Mall, but the MakeATeeOnline.com blog switches things up. We’re making history as we travel back in time for a different kind of D.C. Weekend Getaway full of history, food and fashion!
Let’s jump into the heart of our Nation’s Capital, and grab a seat at Ben’s Chili Bowl: a landmark restaurant who walls have been singing with soul since the 1950’s, for a lesson in how life on Historic U Street contributed to African American Renaissance, Revolution and Resilience.
Pres. Wilson – Hoover
U Street’s history is as rich and complex as Ben’s Chili recipes. Under President Wilson, The Post Civil War Great Migration began. Millions of African Americans moved out of the South, and into the North and Midwest regions of America to pursue their own identities. Many relocated to Washington D.C., making the U Street neighborhood their home.
Known as “Black Broadway” throughout the 20th century, the community of talented African American pioneers in science, civil rights, literary and performing arts became a prominent symbol of black culture and art to the rest of America while still in times of political and racial unrest.
This Renaissance gave birth to widely influential people whose impact can still be felt in today’s society.
To name a few:
- The Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson
- One of the First African-American Women to Earn a College Degree, Civil Rights Activist and Suffragette, Mary Church Terrell
- Anthropologist, Author and Poet, Zora Neale Hurston
- “The Man Who Killed Jim Crow in America,” Civil Rights Lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston
Not to mention the Great American Composer, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, whose career filling theatres and nightclubs gave artists like Louise Armstrong and Billie Holiday a place on the U Street stage during the Roaring ‘20s. Many of which were known to chow down on the World Famous chili dogs and good company over at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
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Pres. Roosevelt- Johnson
U Street continued growing well past the Great Depression thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. War after war, the American people began to reconsider what freedom meant to them. This cultural shift drove us headfirst into Civil Rights Movements throughout the country. Activists like Mary Church Terrell, Rosa Parks, and specific to D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. were some of the most prominent of their time. Many joined together and held peaceful protests throughout the country, and faced brutalities that would forever transform life in American society.
President John F. Kennedy was a supporter of Dr. King, and under his administration made great strides in Civil Rights legislation to guarantee equal access to public facilities, end segregation in education, and safeguard the right to vote under federal protection. After his untimely assassination in 1963, former, Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson gained control of the cabinet. He used his decades in congressional experience to pass the Civil Rights Act in honor of the Pres. Kennedy.
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Through our country’s historic times of celebration and hardship, U Street has maintained its roots. With much of its 20th century architecture and theatres intact, there is no shortage today of cultural awareness within the community. Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant is still serving piping hot meals to empty bellies from all walks of life; even President Obama has been known to chow down from time to time. Vibrant graffiti artists pay homage to U Streets rich history by decorating the streets of their city with murals of Americans who have fought the keep their country strong. The activist spirit in present times of change, U Street has held significant #blacklivesmatter protests.
Clothing has always played a pivotal role in civilian political broadcasting. What and how you wear an article of clothing can inspire dialog. Silence does not bring about change; but shirts have the ability to spread messages even when our voices aren’t loud enough. MakeATeeOnline.com is a design melting pot where you can freely pay tribute to the beautifully strong Americans that inspire you to make a difference.
Next Weeks Tease:
While you’re out there living life chowing down on chili burgers, take a moment to reflect on the contributions our nation’s leaders have made. History must be learned from; we must continue to advance as a people in both politics and fashion. How do you influence change in your everyday life? If you have a story you’d like to tell, PUT IT ON A T-SHIRT!! Shop and customize all these powerful products hassle free and online at MakeATeeOnline.com!
Use my coupon code KAT2 to receive 10% off your purchase order. Keep in mind to #makeateeonline when you’re out and about changing the world in your one of a kind design to be entered in a chance to win a $25 gift card, and have people read about you as a spotlight feature on Spill the Tee! Watch for us next week when we hit the internet highway again, and uncover more hidden gems.