Top Ten List: Washington, DC by Habeeb A.
The first thing to see/visit in DC at the very top of my list would be the African American Museum. The building itself is so beautiful from the outside and inside. The inside is the museum and it shows you the entire timeline of African American history from the beginning of slavery and moves you through the years.
On my top ten list in second place is my favorite food place here in DC. Reren Lamen. Reren is an Asian restaurant and they have the best fried rice I have ever tasted. Their seafood fried rice is just a chef’s kiss. They also have different noodle options and a great variety of drinks. 10/10 You have to eat there at least once.
One thing about me is that I’ll eat wherever I go, which brings me to the second food place you have to try. Gogiyogi. Gogiyogi is a Korean bbq restaurant and you get to cook your own meat on the little table stoves! The food is also great and delicious, overall a 10/10 experience also.
When you have free time, Chinatown should be one of your top priority places to visit. They have a great mall around with different shopping places, and overall it’s just a fun and pretty place to visit. They have so many different restaurants and great food you might feel a little overwhelmed with joy.
There’s a play called Drumfolk, and it is the best play I have ever seen. It’s a play about African American history in a way that I’ve never seen it be done before. From the dancing to the acrobats to the outfits, the drumming, okay I’ll stop, I’m not going to give too much info, but you have to check it out. Trust me it’ll be THE coolest thing you have ever seen and I can bet on it.
I’m a big sports fan so of course I’ll do a quick plug to my favorite sport which is soccer. If you enjoy or even play soccer then boy do I have the perfect proposal for you. Look for tickets to one of the MLS games and go to them. They are 100% worth it and the scenery is great. The pregame festivals will also have you wowed. 10/10 experience.
When you’re in DC the main form of transportation will be walking or the bus or the metro. The metro is one the coolest ways of getting from point A to B in my opinion. It’s basically a bullet train taking you places, makes me feel like I’m in a spiderman movie.
U-street is the place to be on the weekends/at night. Imagine State Street on a Thursday night/ Friday night, and now imagine that times 10. There’s bikers popping wheelies, four wheelers, great food places, and overall just a rowdy and fun place. You’re bound to see the cool scenery.
The Holocaust Museum was one of the best museums we visited when we were here. Everything was done so well. The museum had videos and pictures reading through the history and tragedy of the holocaust. They also had different exhibits that really caught your attention and made you realize just how horrible the tragedy was. They had this specific one where they had the remaining shoes of the holocaust victims and it just kind of takes you back and made you say like wow.
The last place that’s a must place to go is obviously the white house. You’re in DC of course you have to visit the white house, hopefully you get a glimpse of the president too:)
Final Reflections by Julian M.
At first, I found it repetitive and overwhelming to include field trips during the later part of the day during the whole program. As I felt, it only added to the stress of the work we were given. However, when taking my selfish needs out, I found it very helpful and welcoming to learn more about what we would be discussing during the seminars. While at times, it felt that the information we read was very polarizing when entering these museums and reading first-hand accounts of the people who lived through American history and its racism. It put more of human touch on the policies and laws created. As the museums gave more of a down-to-earth touch to the account that we discussed. Looking back at the seminars, it felt very much that we discussed these historical grievances with today’s lenses. At the same time, we can look back at the past actions and policies and claim things as hindsight being 20/20. However, the giant looks in a mirror and sees nothing. Professor Canon’s inclusion and equilibrium help ground more of the argument and make us look at the opposite side of an idea. Looking back at this thought process helps ground most of the literature we read throughout the seminars. When reading and looking at the museums’ information, we started to see more of the whole picture that many minority people face when dealing with these race-driven policies and laws. While during the entire program, most of what we learned was very morbid, and it seemed like a hopeless battle for the inclusion of all people. It was also exciting and helpful to see that hope just needs to rely on one person to bring about change. Anyone can bring about change. It does not take much to bring about change in the community. If you cannot do great things, you can do small things in significant ways. This was one of the biggest takeaways that the program had.
One overall all-life skill that I was able to learn would be to have participants speak. By this, I mean that when having discussions related to race, it seemed that many of the other students would discuss their emotions and not be very thoughtful of their words. While the subject matter does bring up a lot of emotions. One thing Professor Canon seemed to want us to do would be to just listen to the things we would say. Being able to listen is probably one of the best life skills you can have, but to be able to listen, does not just mean to listen and nod your head but to be able to understand what a person is saying and understand the background of their perspective. This is one thing that Professor Canon did a lot as he would listen to just what the students would be saying, and the only time he would try to jump in is to give a different perspective. As I feel the professor did this to make us think about why others may agree with our arguments. During seminars, it seemed that a lot of the class would agree on every topic but just because we all agree does not always mean we are also right.
Additionally, the aspects that the Professor tried to bring us to different food locations were very impactful. As he tried to connect the way we eat food with the fight for equality for all, as when we did an excursion towards U street and had lunch at Ben’s Chilly bowl. The long history of locations of food being also staging areas of the fight was equality was very memorable. When hearing the history of the owners, we learn about the race riots that occurred after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.. Ben’s Chili bowl was one of the very few restaurants open during this tumultuous time was also awe-inspiring and spoke on the fact that Ben’s Chilly bowl was a space of honest and open talks. One very memorable story that the owners told us is that during the protests of George Floyd, Ben’s Chili Bowl was open, which was very rare for the restaurants on U street to be open. As the owners told us the story, police and protesters sat next to each other and ate the food. No commotion or fighting occurred inside the restaurant. The owners spoke on how to bring change is the respect you must-have for the other person; if you cannot have respect, you cannot bring about an active dialogue. This was very impressive for the owners to speak about, as Ben’s Chili Bowl was one of the very few restaurants not to be looted, which the owners say is the respect that many people have for Ben’s as it is part of the community. As the owners say that change needs to occur by those in the community, not those who do not belong to the community, Ben’s Chili Bowl has always been part of the community.
One takeaway from the city as a whole is the manner in which D.C. is a city geared toward the political life of the National Capital. Every shop and most businesses either cater toward the politically related jobs of those who work in government and on the other side of D.C. cater towards the actual Washingtonians. The location that we lived in during our stay was one that was catered towards the people who work in government and are not reality native to the D.C. area. These restaurants and businesses tried to show the gentrified and more upscale version of D.C. however when traveling to U street, I found the atmosphere and the business to really truly represent that actual Washingtonians’ lives. The atmosphere of these businesses was close nit and very much it was an atmosphere that if you do not come from a big city you will feel lost. Thankfully, I grew up in Chicago so I understood that if you wanted to be seen as a local you needed to act like you knew where you were going. By this I mean, is that many of the tourists that walked around seemed to always be looking up and at a map.
Overall this program was able to offer a very more in-depth look at race relations in America. The wide arrange of topics that were over throughout the course will show the key point that was talked about during the whole course, race touches everything in America. Touching on voting rights, housing, representation, education, immigration, job opportunities, and much more allowed us to look at different topics that would take a semester and get the most important part of those topics and discuss as a whole what those individuals’ topics played a role in race relations in America.
My Program Experience in 100 Words by Olivia B.
To describe this program in one-hundred words or less is simply impossible. I could talk endlessly about this fantastic experience and what it has meant studying in Washington D.C. next to other students who share the same passion as I do. Besides the course content and visiting historic sites around the District of Columbia, having long and in-depth conversations with the other students was the most educational. Being lucky enough to acquire some of their knowledge and perspectives on race, politics, and other social injustices was invaluable. I am incredibly thankful for this experience and will always cherish these memories.
Please enjoy the photos below, which further describe some of the museums and places we visited during the program.
Being one of my favorite selfies I took during this program, here is a picture of me in a mirror cut-out of the Americas and Africa. Featured in the Afro-Atlantic Art Gallery, this mirror represents the long and tragic history between the two continents. This piece of artwork particularly impacted me because I could reflect upon the struggle and cruelty my African ancestors endured so I could be here today.
This is a picture of me on the steps of the Capitol entrance to the House of Representatives. Isn’t that crazy? Sam, Rachel, and I visited the Capital one afternoon to walk around and take pictures. At first, we were a little nervous about getting up close, but we got over it to pose in front of such a historic building. The way I think of it, “where everything goes down”!
Taken at the National Portrait Gallery, this was just one of many numerous rooms I visited. The minimalist rooms complement the artwork by allowing viewers to focus solely on the intricate strokes of paint that make a painting. Drawn in by the aesthetic, I found it necessary to snap a picture. Walking through the gallery was truly a breathtaking yet tranquil experience.
This picture was taken at the Library of Congress near our classroom. The architecture and design of the building were breathtaking and almost ethereal. Despite its beauty, what I enjoyed most about this field trip was the Rosa Parks exhibit, which illustrated her life leading up to, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement.
Here is another picture from the Library of Congress. This is an aerial view of the infamous Reading Room where all people (with a library card) can study and find information for extensive research. I was lucky enough to receive my own Library of Congress card, which allowed me to access this area.
This picture is of the first mornings we spent in Washington D.C. My roommate Emily and I decided to get an early start to the day by eating breakfast next to the Capital. I was in awe of its magnificence and the importance it holds within the United States.
Here is a picture of one of the exhibits at the National Art Gallery. I had decided to stop by because I was walking back to the hotel and was in the area. Blown away by the beautiful artwork, I felt as if I had been transported back to the 18 and 19th centuries.
As Emily, Rachel, and I were leaving the National Museum of Natural History. I decided to take a photo of my spectacular view. Additionally, I recommend checking out the Natural History Museum; it was the coolest thing! They had exhibits on mammals, the changing environment, pandemics, the origin of the human species, minerals/diamonds, bones, etc.!
Here is a picture of the notorious White House. The grand mansion that every President since John Adams has worked and resided within. I was ecstatic to visit this iconic building up close; however, behind the tall fence facing Lafayette Square, an equally influential place of historical significance for protests such as the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, and the Suffragettes. The day we visited a small group of people protesting violence in Tajikistan.