About 40 to 50 Shaw resident gathered at the Watha T. Daniel Library in the heart of their community Saturday to talk about what many of them feel is a conspiracy to remove poor black people form the inner city neighborhood, which has been predominantly black for the last 50 years.
Shaw, which was burned in the 1968 riots is the District's core and forms the northern boundary of downtown. Many of its block have been rehabilitated, acquired or demolished as part of urban renewal. It has one of the city's highest crime and poverty rates.
Currently it is enjoying a renaisance. Speculators and developers are buying up many of the tattered Victorian homes that dominate the area, evicting poor tenant's restoring the homes andreselling them to middle income people.
Residents who met Saturday told how the changes in their community had upset their lives.
"I thought it was a nice place when I moved in until every year the rent started going up," said Mrs. Carro Stocks a tenant at Linclon-Westmoreland, a federally subsidized 108-unit building at 7th and R Streets NW.
Her husband earns $200 every two weeks and the family which includes four children pays $135 a month rent for a three-bedroom apartment. When she moved in 1971 she paid $80 a month, Mrs. Stocks said.
Rents have increased in all six of the federally subsidized low-and-moderate-income buildings in Shaw, according to a November report prepared by the D.C. housing department.
"If the rent goes up again, I'll have to move because we can't afford it," Mrs. Sotck said.
"We can't go to the City Council or the Mayor and as them for help, said "Mrs. Joyce Chestnut, president of the tenants council at Lincoln Westmoreland, said. "We have to go to the feds (the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) and they say we don't have time to deal with all those tenants," she said.
Myrtle Williams, the owner, operator and resident of the Cadillac Hotel on Logan Circle at 1500 Vermont Ave. NW., said she also felt as if she was being forced out.
"We ran it as decent and respectatbale hotel," she said yesterday. "Anybody in Washington knows we didn't have prostitues until two or three years ago. They came in with the other people," she said, referring who have moved into the large gaslight-era homes surrounding the circle.
Because of pressure from the neighbors, the police have been trying to curb the prostitution in the area, but Mrs. Williams believes the increasing police activity has caused he problems.
Undercover policemen bring prostitues inot her hotel and arrest them after gathering enouhg evidence to prove a soliciting charge, she said.
"They don't have to bing them here. They're just using out place to run us out of business," she said. Tourist homes must be licensed by the city and these licenses can be challenged.
Mrs. Williams and Ruth Jackson, who operates a tourist home in 1360 O St. NW., both fear that specualtors may want their properties, and might obtain them by challenging theiroperating licenses.
The Raleigh House at 1502 13th St. NW., another tourist home, was closed a year ago after its owner was convicted of operating a bawdy house.
Several other speakers citicized the city's urban renewal project in the area. Thye said the government took their homes, which were paid for, and did not give them what hey thought was just compensation. They said calls to Mayor Walter E. Washington and D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy were futile.
"Shaw (urban renewal) was not supposed to be the same thing that happened in Southwest," Mrs. Chestnut said. "In Southwest people were mobed out and could not come back. That was vicious. So in Shaw they decided to hve community participants and they would help, but it hasn't helped.