August 2 – Nap Turner Way (ONP #214)

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Found it!  This is the alley I was looking for the other day. The colorful mural had caught my eye when I was driving down U street last week.

But this alley turned out to be so much cooler than I ever could have guessed! I didn’t know, for example, that it was named after DC blues artist (and bassist and poet!) Nap Turner. I didn’t even know who Nap Turner was before today. I didn’t know that this alley is one in a series of alleys that they hope to commemorate after DC artists. I didn’t know what Black Broadway (painted in large letters across the sides of the buildings down the alley) meant—that it was a designation for U Street and the role it played for DC’s black artists. I didn’t know that the colorful mural that caught my eye was painted to depict Afro-Columbian life. 

This is why I love alley dives–it’s all here: the mishmash of graffiti and art, history and the present, the things we throw away and the things we keep (or the things that keep on).

This ONP project is so humbling and inspiring all at the same time–all these places and people that have been here all this time, that I never noticed as I went through my routine, all the things I never knew. . .  But at the same time, all the things that are out there to know. . .