1952 Map Documents Beginning of “Chocolate City”

Lately, it seems like a day doesn’t go by without another news article about gentrification in the Washington area. While the focus in 2012 is on how the city is becoming whiter, sixty years ago the buzz was about the growing black population in Washington and its role in the upcoming presidential election between Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower the Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.

The map below, published in the Baltimore Sun on November 2, 1952 (two days before the election), illustrates the city of Washington’s changing demographics from 1930 to 1950. The accompanying text is below the image.

“Segregation … in Washington, D.C. has become an issue in the current political campaign, and abolishment of segregation has been promised by both parties. This map, based on a District of Columbia census tract[s], shows the white and non-white areas. The solid black areas denote a population of over 50% non-white since [the] 1930 census; the checked portions show the same percentage since the 1940 census, and the lined parts indicate the same percentage since the 1950 census. Each dot represents housing for 100 non-whites in predominantly white areas.”

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One Comment on “1952 Map Documents Beginning of “Chocolate City””

  1. Lanisa Says:

    Former Washington Post writer, Natalie Hopkinson, just released a wonderfully interesting book entitled \”Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City\” (Duke U. Press). The book intertwines go-go music with the history of black DC from the Civil Rights Movement to the present day. There are a few minor references to iHip-Hop, a black owned establishment that was once located in Park View. But the book primarily focuses on H St. and the U St. Corridor. Gentrification is the major theme.

    Admittedly, I am not a go-go fan. However, I found the book very interesting – particularly as it relates to the revocation of liquor licenses at certain types of establishments. I highly recommend it.


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