14 Street NW, 1968: Where the riots began in Washington DC

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T he intersection where it all began that catastrophic night, the once-ragged corner of 14th and U streets, is now a crossroads at the center of Washington affluence.

Seventh Street is a neon-lit pathway lined with boutiques, taverns, restaurants serving fusion cuisine and a world-class convention center.

On H Street, east of Union Station, condos sell for more than $1 million, and new nightclubs throb with the young and hip.

Forty years ago, the conditions on Seventh Street NW, 14th Street NW and H Street NE -- three corridors at the core of Washington's cultural and economic soul -- were beyond desperate.

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