Khari Eyen Zame Johnson | Washington, DC

Youth - KhariI was 14 years old when I got involved with intergenerational work. The powerful intergenerational legacies within my city are inspiring.

That’s why, through I SAW! DC,  I sought to document the continuum of local history for individuals of all ages. I wanted to ensure that, as time passes, we do not become blind to the importance of our elders and their contributions to an evolving society.

I SAW! DC gave me a chance to uncover important historical information by conducting oral histories with local elders, highlighting their significance in the community.

As researchers, we forged connections with elders who are descendants of Washington, DC’s, early African American societies.

Mentors like Dr. Tessie Muldrow, Neville Waters, and Carter Bowman Jr. helped guide us through a historical odyssey.

Khari, Ronnie Rimbert, Joe Jenkins

Using web-based platforms, we conducted surveys to gain a perspective on our impact to local communities. We also used cameras to capture the strength of Washington, DC’s, historical narrative and how it affected all generations.

As a result, I SAW! DC allowed all ages to have a stake in documenting the city’s history.

In 2013, we had two youths from the 2012 program return to participate and, during the 2014 project, we had a Kent State graduate return to help coordinate the program.

Another success was this year when I SAW! DC conducted research with the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and the 15th St. Presbyterian Church.

This research included contacting George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate and linking fascinating historical connections across the tri-state area.

We placed our research into an online exhibition and the Historical Society of Washington, DC, invited I SAW! DC to present our findings at the 41st Annual Historical Studies Conference.

Those are not our only successes.

My project has profoundly changed how I view the passage of time and the legacies people leave behind. This project also reinforced my belief in the importance of youth involvement in uncovering the historical tales of their neighborhoods and communities.

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