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Making Headlines For More Than 160 Years

Date of Publication: 
11/04/2013

Dr. Michelle Chatman Receives Grant from the DC Humanities Council

In the early 1960’s, an anthropologist named Elliot Liebow conducted research among a group of Black men who lived, loved, and labored around the 11th and N Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The study was published as an ethnography called Tally's Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men in 1967. Now a seminal work in sociology and anthropology, Tally's Corner has been read by millions of college students across the nation. In 2012, Dr. Chatman, received a seed grant from the university to explore residential changes in the historic and rapidly gentrifying 11th and N Street neighborhood. Once a predominantly Black area, the community now consists of residents from various racial and ethnic, class, and cultural backgrounds including Central and South American immigrants, Asian business owners, whites, professionals, working class families, homeless men and women, and churchgoers. In October 2013, Dr. Chatman's project, Tally’s Corner TALKS, was awarded a $5,000 "Who Is A Washingtonian?" grant by the Washington D.C. Humanities Council. Using the book as a focal point, her project aims to inspire dialogue among the various constituents within the community around the new identity of "Tally's Corner." In the face of the visible neighborhood change occurring in D.C., the project also seeks to understand how community members maintain their connections to the past, while engaging critically around present day issues of equity and access.

Dr. Chatman’s project will culminate in a brief film screening in Summer 2014, exhibiting the beauty and diversity within this historic neighborhood, resident reactions to the book, and thoughts about a shared community vision. The Tally's Corner TALKS project is part of a larger effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Tally's Corner in 2017, and the contributions of urban anthropology. The project is also supported by The Center for Applied Research and Urban Polity (CARUP). Dr. Chatman, assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work, is also a graduate of UDC’s Sociology/Anthropology program (class of 1993). She is honored to have the opportunity to engage students in meaningful social science research, an experience she was afforded while an undergraduate student at the university.  Dr. Chatman received her master’s and doctorate degrees in  Applied Anthropology, and Cultural Anthropology, respectively,  from American University.

For more information about the project, contact mchatman@udc.edu. Information about the Washington, D.C. Humanities Council can be obtained by visiting, www.wdchumanities.org