Today, the K-Pop phenomenon has taken the world by storm; but it seems that American fascination with Korean music goes all the way back to the late 1800s, 1896 to be exact. Long before bands like BTS sold out stadiums, there were seven Korean (then called Chosun) students whose singing captured the attention of “dozens of damsels” at Howard University.
2422 K St. NW, nestled in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood just down the street from the George Washington University, looks like any other D.C. row house. But for the Filipino community in D.C. during the 1930s through the 1950s, it was a haven — a source of culture, community, and comfort. As those who remember it fondly today can testify, 2422 K St. NW wasn’t just a row house; it was the Manila House.
In 2005, Ethiopian restaurateurs led a campaign to rename a strip of Ninth Street between U and T Little Ethiopia, to reflect the contributions that Ethiopians made to the Shaw neighborhood over the previous decade. These business leaders faced backlash, however, from Shaw’s African-American community who thought the renaming campaign discounted the neighborhood’s proud African-American history.
Inspired by the new LATINO AMERICANS film, we decided to seek out a local perspective on the Latino experience in our community. With the help of the good folks at the Arlington Historical Society, I got in touch with Luis Araya, who is a Bureau Chief in the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services (public works). He immigrated to Arlington from Bolivia as a young boy in 1966, when very few Latinos lived in the county. He's worked for the county government for 40 years and he also happens to be a Director at the Historical Society. So he brings an interesting perspective on the experience of Latinos in Arlington over time. On top of all that, he's one of the most accomodating people I've ever met -- offering up not only his insights but also his family photos for our local video project.