Urban History

Demolishing “Participatory Dictatorship”: Leipzig in 1968

By Andrew Demshuk

In a rambling speech to colleagues on Hitler’s birthday in 1963, district party secretary Paul Fröhlich insisted upon the proposed demolition of Leipzig’s fully intact Gothic University Church: “I recommend that, when deciding this question, we proceed on the basis of the Politburo resolution. The people can certainly express their opinion about it, but we must be sovereign to decide for ourselves.” Massive public opposition had arisen to block the unthinkable outcome—how could the regime tear down the historic campus that had been the center of intellectual exchange since the University of Leipzig (in communist times Karl Marx University) had grown out of a Dominican cloister in the 15th century to become the oldest university in East Germany?

AHA Member Spotlight: Matthew Spady

Matthew Spady is an independent historian and director of the Audubon Park Alliance, a community organization focused on preserving and promoting the neighborhood’s architecture, history, and culture. When he is not pursuing his avocation, he works as a production director/project manager for a global consulting firm. He lives in New York City and has been a member since 2016. 

The Rise and Fall of DC’s Chinatown

By Shaobin Zheng

Located along H and I Streets between 5th and 8th Streets NW, the Washington, DC, Chinatown was once home to thousands of Chinese immigrants. Today, mostly as a result of development and gentrification, fewer than 300 Chinese Americans live in the neighborhood. The historical development of the neighborhood speaks both to the vibrant immigrant community that once lived there and the indomitable will of those who remain to fight against social and racial injustice. 

December 29, 2017

#SayHerName: The LA Uprising, 25 Years Later

By Brenda E. Stevenson

“No justice, no peace!” was the anthem of the day in late April 1992 in Los Angeles as local blacks, Latinos/as, and even a sprinkling of Asian Americans and whites joined in the five day “rebellion” that purportedly underscored the injustice of the verdict in the Rodney King police brutality trial. It ended with a devastating toll of losses—54 deaths, more than 2,300 injuries, 3,600 fires, 1,100 buildings destroyed, 4,500 businesses looted, more than 12,000 arrested, and $1 billion in damage.

Downtown Cleveland. Wikimedia Commons

Cleveland 2016: LeBron, Trump, and Life after the 10th Inning

By John J. Grabowski

It has been a memorable year for the city of Cleveland: the Cavaliers won the NBA championship; it hosted the RNC convention that nominated the man who is about to become the next President of the United States; and its baseball team almost won the World Series. The series loss was certainly a disappointment, but possibly not a problem given one of the defining characteristics of the city.

December 20, 2016

History, Economics, and Food: A Case for Interdisciplinary Education

By Rachel Snyder

Applying for college is stressful enough without having to pick a major. That is why after writing a personal statement, answering philosophical questions in less than 500 words, and providing character references, I wasn’t ready to click a box declaring my plan of study for the next four plus years. The decision seemed binding and final—I clicked “undecided.”

November 21, 2016