In the Alleys : Kids in the Shadow of the Capitol
The labyrinthine inhabited alleys of Southwest Washington, D.C., were deplored from their beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century as overcrowded, unhealthy slums, all the more shameful for their proximity to the Capitol dome. But when Godfrey Frankel began exploring the alleys with his camera in 1943, he also found thriving neighborhoods sustained by strong family bonds and a rich community life. Drawn especially to the innocence and dignity of the alley children at play, he returned again and again to photograph them. Published here for the first time and interspersed with the reminiscences of some twenty people who grew up in and near the alleys, the photographs evoke a time when even the worst living conditions were alleviated by the "extended families" each neighborhood formed.Frankel's photographs document a part of Washington that no longer exists. In the 1950s, the alleys were razed in the name of large-scale urban renewal, forcing thousands of longtime residents to move. While most alley dwellers gained better living conditions, many of those interviewed for In the Alleys lament the loss of their once tightly knit community - a loss suffered in poor neighborhoods nationwide during the decades of urban redevelopment.Including an essay on Frankel's life and work, a history of Washington's alleys from the turn of the century onward, and a foreword by photographer Gordon Parks, who documented the same alleys for the Farm Security Administration, In the Alleys captures the strength and vitality of an urban community that now survives only in the memories of its former residents, and in Godfrey Frankel's arresting photographs.
- Hardback | 120 pages
- 241.3 x 280 x 19.05mm | 839.15g
- 01 Dec 1995
- Smithsonian Books
- Washington, DC, United States