DC alleys and stables were the pulse of the city reflecting the ecology of urban change. Their stories reflect many lives and are living artifacts of 200 years of human experience in Washington. Reconstruction cannot possibly replace preservation. In 1990, all of the properties in Blagden Alley and Naylor Court were recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Social messaging graffiti is creeping back onto the streets and into the alleys in Shaw, reminiscent of the days of the 9th Street anarchists a few years ago.That few seem concerned is probably because few understand the implications of graffiti as an assault on private and public property. It is also an assault on minds. BYPO (a social messaging graffiti artist with a self confessed bipolar psychiatric disorder) has been expressing himself liberally in the neighborhood through his cryptic messages that when traced, lead to his blog http://byporevolution.blogspot.com/
Public graffiti social messaging, to make a statement of conscience is one thing. To use this form of expression to instigate negativism, social unrest and hatred of any group is quite another. It is in fact illegal.
Perhaps there are some young lurking “peaceniks” in the D.C. alleys waiting to counterbalance the cyclothymic B+ or B - with their own social messaging expression of caring, inclusion and positivity that is devoid of unbalanced urban cultural code words of anger. ("Housing is a right. Gentrification is a virus.")
On the other hand, defacing others’ property is unacceptable, regardless of where you stand on any polarizing issue! This form of civil disobedience often actually accomplishes precisely the opposite of the intended goal of its creators. Today, there are many much more effective vehicles through which to exercise our freedom of speech in ways that can help us all move forward rather than oscillating in ever diminishing B+ve or B-ve circles. How boring! We all face that negative and demeaning dialectic on the news every night. People, let’s get a little more creative and a little kinder.