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Reports from four
communities outside
the public eye 

Charleston's West Side
West Virginia

Washington, D.C.

Western Monongalia County
West Virginia

Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan
Washington, D.C.

Hand-painted, pink-lettered sign outside of Mary's Bar

By Ciara Litchfield, Emilee Kessler, Cate Burgan and Ayah Mahana

A tan pickup truck sits in the parking lot of Mary’s Bar and Hot Spot facing Route 7 on a hot Friday afternoon in May. Allen “Cowboy” Hixenbaugh balances his ladder on the gravel as his wife, Beth, hands him the tools to install a new hot pink sign that reads Mary’s Bar. 

Boarded up Save A Lot grocery store on Charleston's West Side

By Hope Talbert, Jed Sammons, Miles O'Reilly and Tara Suter

In the feverish heat of late spring, hundreds of people stand outside of the A More Excellent Way Life Center Church, braving the intense humidity just for the chance at something many take for granted – food.

By Cate Burgan and Ayah Mahana

Washington, D.C. became known as the “Chocolate City” because of The District’s large Black population, with it being recognized in 1957 as the first major U.S. city to be primarily made up of Black residents. Nearly 65 years later, Washingtonians in the still-majority Black historical neighborhood of Anacostia are trying to preserve the memory of Chocolate City. 

Crowd around Dupont Circle Fountain in D.C.

By Miles O'Reilly, Jed Sammons, Tara Suter and Hope Talbert

In June 2016, after a gunman massacred 49 people inside an Orlando gay bar—the deadliest act of anti-LGBTQ violence in American history—hundreds of people poured into Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle to mourn the victims. The central fountain was adorned with posters and pride flags, and the park served as a stage for candlelight vigils and communal speeches and prayers.