Monday, September 9, 2013

Columbia Heights 1968 riots featured in the film "The Butler"

A reader tipped me off to an interesting historical nugget: Columbia Heights is featured in the new movie The Butler starring Forest Whitaker. The movie focuses on a White House butler who served many presidents and witnesses a lot of historical events throughout the 20th century.

Specifically, the neighborhood is briefly shown in a segment on the 1968 riots in the city that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The riots decimated 14th Street, U Street NW, 7th Street NW, H Street NE, 8th Street SE and other major commercial corridors in the city.

Some of those streets have only recently recovered, though some, like 14th, U and H Street, are bustling again.

The scene is pictured in this trailer for the movie near the 1:30 mark. I haven't seen it, have you? Can you tell us more about the scenes in the comments?

And this isn't the first time that our neighborhood has been on TV or in movies: BonesLie to Me, and Cupcake Wars all featured our neighborhood, as did In the Line of Fire, the movie with Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service Agent, Syriana (Jeffrey Wright's character runs on the 13th Street hill). And of course, D.C. Cab with Mr. T, Adam Baldwin, Gary Busey and Bill Maher had a number of scenes, including a food fight, at the Florida Avenue Grill.

Map from Greater Greater Washington


  1. ... and, Eugene Allen, the inspiration for the movie, lived in Park View on the 700 b/o Otis Place, NW.

  2. Nice blog and helpful information. Thanks again for blog owner.
    Film ReMoved by Sabrina Culver


Please don't advertise in the comments, and please enter some kind of name when you comment instead of being anonymous.

If the post is more than 28 days old, your comment must be approved first.