In 2016, photographer Joy Sharon Yi began taking the Metro to Barry Farm, a large public housing com…
In 2016, photographer Joy Sharon Yi began taking the Metro to Barry Farm, a large public housing complex in Southeast Washington, D.C., built in 1943 on the first city settlement where African-Americans could buy property and build homes after the Civil War.
Yi was drawn to Barry Farm’s history and the looming shadow of change. She spent time getting to know residents at the famed Goodman League basketball games and eventually began documenting the community. At that time, “Barry Farm residents … feared being displaced, but the community was not yet on its last legs,” Yi says. “Residents [and] former residents really, genuinely loved their community. I wanted to document that joy before the buildings came down.”
Yi used black-and-white images to connect Barry Farm residents to the city’s history. “The more I researched Barry Farms, urban renewal and the historical use of black-and-white imagery in America, particularly in low-income communities,” she says, “at a certain point, I started to recognize history repeating itself — enduring trauma and the repeated, forced displacement of black communities.”
Photos by Joy Sharon Yi
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