Black Lives Matter Plaza

DC_Washington_BlackLivesMatterPlaza_byTedEytan_2020_009_sig_001.jpg
Washington, DC
United States
Black Lives Matter Plaza

Landscape Information

Following the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, nationwide protests against police brutality took place across the United States in the summer of 2020. After weeks of peaceful protests through the streets of Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2020, federal forces cleared protests from 16th Street NW near Lafayette Park using tear gas and violence. Four days later, Washington, D.C.’s Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation, MuralsDC, and a crew of local artists worked overnight to create a commemorative, permanent streetscape mural spelling “Black Lives Matter” in the asphalt roadbed of two blocks of 16th Street NW running from K Street to H Street terminating in Lafayette Square.

Reading from north to south, the 48-foot-tall capital letters are painted in bright yellow and run from curb-to-curb. The text is followed by an image of the flag of Washington, D.C., two horizontal bars topped by three stars. On June 5th, 2020, Mayor Murial Bowser updated the street signage to officially designate this two-block area as Black Lives Matter Plaza. The plaza was open only to pedestrians until 2021, when the city constructed two single traffic lanes on either side of a 14-foot-wide pedestrian pathway traversing the center of the mural.