Photo of a truck holding councilmembers, other speakers and supports as it drives through a street with a few men standing around it.
Two trucks were used as mobile stages for the MLK Day parade in D.C. By Robert Warren

On Jan. 15, the nation marked the 89th birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebratory parade in Southeast D.C. reflected many of the changes that occurred in 2017. It started at Anacostia Park and finished in the embattled neighborhood of Barry Farm, an area that has needed investment since the 1980s. Public housing and its status as a historic site make the area prime real estate, and longtime residents are currently in court over its redevelopment. It is said that the land sale of Barry Farm financially contributed to the creation of Howard University.

With many people discussing gentrification and its ramifications, the District government decided to honor a bright spot from Barry Farm: The Junkyard Band started in the neighborhood as youths, creating their instruments from objects they found, and rose to become among the best known Go Go bands. Both young and old partied to the band and another local group, the Backyard Band.

Photo of three men, one holding a microphone and read off a paper.

Councilmembers Robert White Jr., Trayon White (right) and other speakers. By Robert Warren

The intense financial interest in this neighborhood may mean this parade was the last time Barry Farm will have a celebration. The community hopes the future of its inhabitants will be at the forefront of any development that occurs at Barry Farm.