Blagden Alley Naylor Court Association (BANCA) issued the following statement regarding Washingtonian and Fox5 News coverage of the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Historic District:
"We appreciate the Washingtonian Magazine and Fox5 News for shining a light on challenges currently facing Blagden Alley residents and businesses. While we believe raising awareness about problems can help in their resolution, we know making our neighborhood better requires educating the public and gaining support for change. This is what we want the world to know about the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Historic District:
Post-Civil War, Blagden Naylor was home to emancipated slaves—here you will find the home of our first Black U.S. Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce, a man born into slavery and who went on to serve in the Senate from 1875—1881.
In the 1930s Blagden Naylor's struggling African American community banded together to protect these alleys from the Alley Dwelling Elimination Act of 1943 and an onslaught of Federal government propaganda—if it were not for them, these alleys would not exist today.
In the 1990s, in an effort to support development while preserving the alleys, the then more diverse community had Blagden Alley Naylor Court listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2015 the DC Alley Museum was established—this outdoor collection of stunning murals supporting local artists pay tribute to alley history and the spirit of struggle and inclusion—made possible by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and the support of the Blagden Alley neighbors.
According to District regulation, the city shall "[e]ncourage adaptive reuse and mixed use infill development along Blagden Alley, a residentially zoned bloc with historic structures such as carriage houses, garages, and warehouses. Appropriate measures should be taken to safeguard existing residential uses as such development takes place."
Today, Blagden Naylor is an integrated community and more diverse than 98% of neighborhoods in America. It is known for being a sanctuary in the middle of downtown where neighbors and tourists come to enjoy the art, culture, and history in a safe, family-friendly environment.
All of this is what BANCA is fighting to protect when we advocate for preserving the alleys. We strongly support a diverse array of responsible business that have helped improve our neighborhood. We strongly oppose irresponsible business or businesses that, by their inherent nature, jeopardize the character of memories weaved into historic residential alleys."
The Blagden Alley Naylor Court Association (BANCA) is a citizen's association established in 1985. Its members reside in and around the alleys. The mission of the association is to advance responsible neighborhood stewardship where commercial and residential can coexist and compliment character of the alleys and their complicated past. BANCA endeavors to embed racial equity, inclusion, and opportunity in every aspect of neighborhood development. Our vision includes preserving the alleys as a sanctuary offering a level of vibrancy for residents and tourists alike can connect, respect and reflect upon the alley's profoundly moving African American history—a story of struggle, survival, and success. These alleys are the heart of our broader Logan/Shaw/Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhoods and precious to many in the District, the country, and around the world. We support the Picnic Bench Foundation: www.mypicnicbench.org. To sign up for BANCA's newsletter please visit: www.myblagdennaylor.org
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