(left to right: US Department of Arts and Culture, Anna Julia Cooper Season, Historical Pleasure Lab, Future of Your Street)

The Future of Your Street #FutureOf

“Future of (Your) Street” is a city-wide civic engagement project where DC residents dine with their neighbors, exchange ideas & collectively vision for their communities. Launched April 1st, 2014. 

Historical Pleasure Lab

Historical Trauma is cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, over a lifespan and across generations. For example, patterns of abandonment or substance abuse might be seen across three generations. We hypothesize that Historical Pleasure is also cumulative, emotional and psychological; it is in our bones, it is what we know without “knowing”. It’s a dance that sprung up out my hips when I visited a drum circle in Ghana.

The Historical Pleasure Lab focuses on reclaiming and creating stories/narratives of Pleasure. Participants have used the workshop as a space to devise new performance art, interrogate their personal relationship with pleasure and to just play. 

In this experiential workshop participants reflect, write, move and create both independently and in community. This workshop was developed through a black feminist warrior-healer lens.  This project is inspired by: found photos, Women Who Run With The Wolves, Kameelah Rasheed’s archival work, Alice Mae’s (my grandmother) infamous house parties, #PleasurePolitics, Shug Avery, the smell of ylang-ylang

Participating in the Historical Pleasure Lab was such a rich and generative experience. I really enjoyed myself, and it provided the much needed mind-space for me to celebrate my personal pleasure rituals and those of my family.
— Jessica Valoris

Anna Julia Cooper Season

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964) was an educator, author, and activist who fought for social justice and civil rights for women, young people, and the poor through her scholarship, organizing, and educational leadership.  Her life spanned the 19th and 20th centuries - from the end of slavery to the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Born into slavery she later became the 1st African American women to graduate from Oberlin College (B.A.) and the Sorbonne in France (Ph.D).

In Washington, DC, Cooper helped build cultural organizations that advocated for fair housing, equal employment, equal education and cultural preservation such as the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, the Colored Women’s League, the Washington Negro Folklore Society and the Bethel Literary and Historical Society. Cooper taught at Dunbar High School, served as Principal of the M Street School, President of Frelinghuysen University and lived in LeDroit Park for 50 years. Inspired by her emphasis on the importance of lived experiences as a site of knowledge, the theme for the Anna Julia Cooper Season, “Community at the Intersections of Identity, History and Radical Imagination” explores what it means to gather to celebrate her life and legacy while visioning for generations to come.