Gentrification & Me: Article in Washington City Paper

In February 2001 I read an article that has haunted me for the longest while. I wish I had kept it, torn it out and filed in among the other things I keep regarding gentrification in Shaw. It was written by a black author about how he was moving out of the U Street area because, despite the changes, he couldn’t take it anymore. Yet the thing that struck me was what he said about our own people, demonstrating the riff between the Black middle class and the Black underclass.

“Few buppies–black upwardly mobile professionals–even look in my former neighborhood. When we get a few bucks, we rarely look to live in what we perceive to be “the ‘hood.” Instead, we generally head for the ‘burbs, particularly Prince George’s County.

Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham remarked on the changing demographics of the neighborhood at a meeting I attended along with a neighbor and vice officers last year: As property values rise, the drug dealers will be forced away, he predicted. What he meant, I surmised, was that the homes the dealers used were probably owned by poor folks and that the taxes would eventually climb too high for them. Problem solved, he probably figured.”

It is well worth the money I had to pay to retrieve it from the archives. Just to see it again.