It’s very questionable which Ward suffered the most hardships during the epidemic of crack cocaine in the 80\’s and 90\’s. The one thing that is self-evident is Ward 5 took a big hit because a major operation was located here. Orleans Place, Trinidad Avenue and Montello Avenue were major areas of distribution for drugs. Neighborhoods were infested with crack heads, dope fiends and of course drug dealers.
As an elementary school student I can recall the multiple gunshots at night and seldom during the day. I remember the shots heard while in my 6th grade class. Once school let out, a whole block was yellow taped off because someone was murdered and others were wounded. I don’t recall if any suspects were ever apprehended. The crack epidemic took many lives and ruined tons of families for generations to come. Some families are still trying to pick up the pieces.
Coined as \”The Murder Capitol\” Washington, DC quickly became one of the main focuses of the War on Drugs.
“One of those battle zones was Washington, D.C., where the country\’s highest homicide rate earned the city the designation as the \”nation\’s murder capital. The troubled city also became a punching bag in Congress, with Republican Senator Phil Gramm of Texas going as far as to question the city’s ability to govern itself. \”This is the capital of the United States of America, we have to have standards here that are reflective of the country as a whole, that this is not some third-world country,\” he said at a hearing in 1989.
The majority-black city had only won the right to elect local leaders a little over a decade earlier, and now there were rumblings of a federal take-over. President Bush announced he was renewing the war on drugs, and the opening salvo would be against Washington, D.C.’s crack addiction. Bush’s lieutenant would be recently-appointed drug czar Bill Bennett. To all Americans it is a shame, and it is a cruelty for hundreds of thousands of D.C. citizens — law-abiding citizens — who must live with this nightmare every day of their lives, said Bennett, during a speech announcing his plan to tackle the drugs and violence in the nation’s capital.”
More than 30 years later, the residual after effects of the crack epidemic lingers throughout DC but due to gentrification a lot of the families affected are being displaced and are ending up in homeless shelters.
American University Radio