Pulling another document from the “pile”.
This is a post 1968 riot survey filed by Shaw Foo Chin, owner of Bill’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning at 1718 14th Street NW. I have no clue who Bill is. Currently there is a Peregrine Espresso coffee shop there.
Mr. Chin seemed to be okay. Rioters smashed his sign and stole his customers’ dry cleaning. Mr. Chin reported that he conducted his own repairs.
1718 14th ST NW by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I’m just throwing this out there because I’m trying to clean up my files. This is for Quality Dress Shop at 1600 7th St NW. It was a white owned business, so it won’t go into the Black businesses of Shaw category. I can’t tell if the owners name is Hyman Peplo or Nyman Perlo.
This is a post 1968 riot survey. Apparently the riot put the dress shop out of business. Fifteen employees (11 white/ 4 black) lost their jobs. I can’t read the whole statement, but it seems the owner decided the area was too dangerous.
328 a1 14 BusIII7thSt by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
The 1957 Church Survey of Northwest Urban Renewal Churches typically provides a lot of information. Sometimes it tells what the class and racial makeup of the church was in that period of time. And sometimes it is just bare bone location and public record info. Instead of having 3 separate posts for churches with bare bone info, I’m throwing them into one post.
Verbycke Spiritual Church
This church was at 1009 8th St NW, which no longer exists. A convention center sits on it now. Prior to the spiritualists getting to it, it was the Syrian Catholic Church.
CS 46 Verbycke Spiritual Ch… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
People’s Seventh Day Baptist
Very confusing name. Easily confused with the Seventh Day Adventists. People’s Seventh Day Baptist was located at 2105 10th St NW. Supposedly there are supposed to be some condos there. But looking at a 2018 Google Street view of the place, there is an empty church and an empty lot.
CS 50 Peoples Seventh Day B… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
Walker Memorial Baptist
Walker Memorial Baptist is located at 2018 13th Street NW.
CS 51 Walker Memorial Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I don’t know if the “Historic” Berean Baptist Church off Rhode Island Avenue NE in a building that looks like a bank, circa 1987, is in anyway related to this Berean Baptist Church, formerly at 2033 11th St NW. More than likely it’s the plain old Berean Baptist Church on Madison St. NW. The current residents are a different denomination, Christian Tabernacle Church of God. Reading their history the Church of God people got there maybe in 1974?
Anyway, the church in 1957 was black and the two current Berean Baptists are also black churches. A majority of the parishioners were professionals (34%), followed by white collar workers (26%), and then the next highest group were retirees (18%). So I’m going to say this was a black middle class church.
CS 47 Berean Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
Morton’s Thrift Store was located at 1330-1332 7th Street NW. There are apartments there now, formerly the Immaculate Conception Apartments. The survey says the shop just got glass and smoke damage. However, a Washington Post image has a burned out building on the corner, so it must have been more towards the center of the block, in the current parking lot.
Anyway, in this survey conducted several months after the April 1968 riots, the business was still running and repairs had been made. But by then sales were down 60%. Knowing in general what happened to Shaw I don’t think business got any better.
The owner of Morton’s Thrift Store was Matthew Morton 1721 Jones Bridge Road in Chevy Chase, MD, and he was an African American. At least according to the survey.
Morton's Thift Store- 1… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
So once again I dip into the 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Area Church Survey, this time it is Twelfth Street Christian Church tucked back at 1812 12th Street NW.
Looking at the survey, it was a black church, still is, and very active. It was 50% white collar at the time of the survey, with the next biggest group being skilled labor. When asked about relocating, the respondent wrote that they believed African Americans were still moving to the area, but if they had to relocate it would be to NE DC where the majority of their congregants lived. Yeah, this was a commuter church in 1957, and I guess it remains so in the current year.
CS 45 Twelfth Street Christian by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
Okay the only reason why I know this was a black owned business is because of the survey the government conducted right after the April 1968 riots. They asked business and property owners in the riot corridors about their race and those who bothered responding, self reported their race. Or not.
Anyway, John Delaney owned a pool room at 1720 7th Street NW, where a post riot building currently sits. He did not suffer any fire damage. Instead he got a lot of broken glass and some things were stolen. It is unknown if he put “Soul Brother” on his shop to keep it from getting torched.
Delaney’s Pool Room Post Riot Survey by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I don’t know if I’ll make this a series, like the 1957 Church Surveys, but who knows. My reason for posting this is to show that history is messy. The present is messy. There is no clean narrative where you can say, there were no black businesses in the Shaw ghetto. There were. There were plenty of black owned businesses, and some of them got hit by rioters. Some closed shop, and some, like Delaney thought Shaw was a perfectly fine neighborhood to do business.
I know I haven’t posted one of these in a while. But for those of you joining us, this is from a survey of the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which later got broken up into Downtown and Shaw, from 1957. It is like an awesome census of the churches in the area, from the steeple churches that one thinks of when thinking about what a church looks like, to storefront and house churches. There hasn’t been another survey like this since.
Anyway. This time up it is Grace Reformed Church, at 1405 15th St NW. It was a white church in 1957, and the current occupants Christ Reformed Church appears to be a predominately white congregation. In 1957, very few of the members lived in the NW Urban Renewal Area, a majority lived in other parts of NW DC and another chunk lived in the burbs. They were mainly white collar, dare I guess, middle class worshipers.
CS 60 Grace Reformed by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I mentioned this one earlier this month, well its school, as it is one of 3 private schools in Shaw. Anywho, St. Augustine is at 1717 15th St NW, on the upper end of the neighborhood.
It was a big church with a chunk of the parishioners (50%) in the urban renewal survey area. I’m a convert to the church, but the sense I get is back then, when this survey was conducted, there were parish districts and you were supposed to go to the church for the district you lived in. Another interesting thing about the demographics is that it had a tiny white population, 3%, while the rest was Black. It is still a predominately African American Catholic Church.
Anyway, here’s the 1957 survey for St. Augustine:
CS 30 St Augustine by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I should sneak a Shaw church in this run of random churches. Vermont Avenue Baptist is at 1630 Vermont Avenue NW.
In 1957 Vt Av was a HUGE church claiming 3,600 members. They had 3 Sunday services with over two thousand congregants showing up on any given Sunday. It was a predominately white collar Black church with 41% living in the urban renewal area. About half the membership lived in the rest of DC. So about 1000 people coming in on Sunday, where did they park?
CS 20 Vermont Ave Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd