Revitalizing Washington neighborhoods

In 2007 and 2008, I did more than 60 oral history interviews and documentary research for Washington’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) office. This week, LISC celebrated its 30th anniversary in Washington and it released a book derived from the interviews, written by community development expert Tony Proscio.

The author interviewing former D.C. mayor and current D.C. council member Marion Barry. Credit: LISC.

LISC and its local educational partners plan to release the complete oral history archive later this year. The interviews were conducted in LISC’s offices and in the offices of its partners and clients throughout the District of Columbia. Former Washington mayor Marion Barry, former Federal Reserve member Alice Rivlin, former D.C. council member and college president Charlene Drew Jarvis, and urban planner James Gibson were among the people interviewed. Also interviewed were current and former banking executives, community development corporation leaders, foundation executives, and community leaders from all of Washington’s neighborhoods in LISC’s local footprint.

From the book, Becoming What We Can Be: Stories of Community Development in Washington, DC:

As we continued the journey we were joined by oral historian David Rotenstein, who did a masterful job of interviewing and documenting the words of elected officials, philanthropists, bankers, developers, staff of nonprofits, and community residents. The chapters of the book are infused with the voices from these interviews. — Oramenta Newsome, Executive Director, Washington, DC LISC