Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Rufus Goodnough- 502 2nd Ave SE

So just to get an idea to see if what I am seeing with the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle is normal, or not, I am comparing them with white home owners.  I am looking at blocks that were over 90% white in 1950 but also in the same “red lined” zone, which was F1.

photo of property

I got Rufus Goodnough’s name from the 1930 census. However looking at the Recorder of Deeds documents, Mr. Goodnough became a homeowner through Mrs. Goodnough.

In 1923, Edna Grace Lamborne, a single woman, bought 502 Second Street SE from Alva M. and Lessie E. Templeton. She borrowed what appears to be $6,000 from trustees George P. Newton and M. James Wright (released 1929). December 29, 1925 she borrowed $600 under her married name Edna Grace Goodnough from trustees William E. Davis and William A. Kingsbury (released 1927). Rufus, her husband does not appear on the loan document. July 21, 1927 once again, in her name only, she borrowed another $600 from trustees Irvin Abrams and JL Krupsaw (released 1929). February 7, 1929, solely in her name, she borrowed $6,400 from the American Building Association. She continued to borrow in her name only up until 1943. October 1946, she and several of her neighbors signed a racial covenant (document #1946048071). And once again, Rufus’ name appears nowhere on the document.

On March 6, 1947 she died at Emergency Hospital. She left behind her husband Rufus and a 20 year old son, Adrien B.  Rufus only appears on a May 1950 loan document noting his death on June 27, 1949, leaving Adrien Barrett Goodnough as the sole heir borrowing $5,800 from the Perpetual Building Association (released 1951). Adrien borrowed money a few more times before selling the family home September 13, 1951 to Irene Cline.

So was Rufus Goodnough? Who was Edna Grace Lamborne Goodnough, the actual homeowner?

Edna Grace Lamborne was born around 1891 in Washington, DC to Minnie Zeisler and Milton Lamborne. Her father died in 1901 and her mother kept lodgers. In 1907 she was attending a business high school in the District, possibly Franklin. She kept a low profile.

Rufus Anson Goodnough was born July 18, 1890 in Ruston, LA. When he was 10 he helped support his widowed mother on the farm. His mother remarried before she died in 1913. We see him again in the 1930 census in Washington, DC working as a carpenter supporting Edna and their three year old son Adrien, born a year after the death of their 1st son, Anson. During the 1940 census, he added his 70 year old mother in law Minnie to the household.

I am curious as to how Edna Lamborne managed to purchase a house. I see she was lent money to do so, but what made her a good credit risk? Yes, I acknowledge she co-signed segregation, but I’m more interested in how she managed to pay off the loan and why someone would lend to a woman (who as far as I know) with no known job.

Once again- The historical boundaries of Shaw

This is a repost. But the topic is always something that applies.

Okay so there is a write up in the Washington Post about Shaw. I’m debating about giving Alex Padro a hard time about the east boundary being New Jersey Avenue. Their graphic has Shaw’s western boundary at 13th St NW and the southern part just eats up Mt. Vernon . The boundaries of Shaw keep changing with each article so, there is that. This is a Real Estate article, and they quote Padro and Ibrahim Mumin, so I’m not going to nit pick much, except for this point.

Anyway, here’s a map

map of Shaw and CHand this gem

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

and this…

Proposed subway line through 1968 Shaw

School desegregation resegregation problem

This was written in 2019 and sat in my drafts. I’ve edited a little bit.

There was a post sitting in my drafts called “Let’s Resegregate Shaw.” It was sitting there so I can get the sarcasm out of my system. Then a cooler head prevailed and I deleted it altogether.

The DC school lottery results have been out for a while which resulted in a fair number of education opinion and data reports. What bugs me is that it seems the authors don’t acknowledge the peculiarities of the District of Columbia and how whatevertheory they have that may apply to Anywhere, USA doesn’t necessarily work here.

Chocolate City and a Craptastic Education

So after desegregation in District of Columbia schools after the Bolling v Sharpe case in the 50s, there was white flight (followed by black flight but we don’t talk about that..shhhh). The result was a overwhelmingly African American public school system, reflecting the majority minority city DC had become. In the last census, Blacks did not make up the majority, but was still the largest racial group in the city.

When I arrived in the DC area in the mid 1990s, DC schools had a poor reputation. The sign that everything, including the kitchen was being thrown at the problem was when General Julius W. Becton Jr., a man with no previous background in the field of Education, was named School Superintendent in 1996. DC had some of the highest per pupil spending but the worst outcomes. Gen. Becton resigned, quit, headed for the hills, after 16 months on the job. I don’t know when the public schools went downhill, all I know is it was broken when I got here.

Addendum from 2023:

It appeared to me when I wrote this that the schools were resegregating. I couldn’t help but notice that white parents who remained in the District of Columbia flocked to certain charter schools if they didn’t live west of the park (Rock Creek) where white students were the majority.

I did a review of Shaw schools in 2021 and with the exception of KIPP the academics of many of the public and charter schools were unimpressive. And, with the exception of charter school Munde Verde, they were pretty segregated, being majority Black with so few white students their PARCC scores hardly registered.

Children/ students are not the property or products of the state. Parents are making decisions and making the effort to put their children in this or that school. So there is a limit of what the DC government can do to attempt to integrate/desegregate DC schools. We may disagree with parents’ decisions to have their children sent halfway across the city to some random charter instead of their neighborhood public school. Or parents who purposefully moved into the Deal Middle School boundary area with crowding out other students from other areas and fighting any change in that boundary.

Armstrong Became A Functional School Again

Earlier I looked at Langston which, as far I know, is still a husk of a building. Langston was a school where African American children learned and played. But despite being on the Register of Historic Places, it is still a decaying structure. Armstrong was also on the Register and it was delivered back to the land of the living and in the 2023-2024 school year be a place where African American children learn and play.

Armstrong Manual Training School. Under renovation. Taken October 14, 2007

The school underwent renovation in 2007 to turn it into a charter school. The man heading up the effort was Kent Amos, who is still alive. He was operating a profitable looking non-profit and was able to funnel about $24 million dollars into turning a decaying building to transform it into a functioning school.

Armstrong Technical High School Ruins
Armstrong HS, view from P and 1st St NW taken 6/26/2007

In 2009 neighbors complained that the CAPCS charter school was renting out the building to the Metropolitan Baptist Church and turning the field on 1st Street NW into a parking lot.  Yes, that parking lot got sneaked on.

View of Armstrong Parking Lot from Dunbar High School window. Taken April 2018.

There were problems with the CAPCS school and it’s founder. In 2015 Jennie Niles, the Deputy Mayor for Education issued a letter saying:

Dear CAPCS Parents and Guardians,

This morning, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board (PCSB), an independent board, voted to revoke the charter for Community Academy Public Charter School (CAPCS). While the vote will undoubtedly cause angst for the 1,600 CAPCS students and their families, the District of Columbia is ready to make sure that the needs of the students are met for the 2015-16 school year.

At the request of Mayor Bowser, I developed a plan in collaboration with Friendship Public Charter Schools, DC Bilingual Public Charter School, and the Chancellor of DC Public Schools to provide as much continuity as possible for CAPCS students and families.

Armstrong Campus (1400 First Street, NW): Friendship Public Charter School will assume operations beginning next school year (2015-16) for all 523 students……

After that Armstrong has been operating as a regular old charter school. I’m happy it is a building that is being used and maintained.

Armstrong Technical High School, March 1942. Photo by Marjorie Collins.


This Was Once A Functional School- Langston School

Among the Library of Congress photographs were photographs of the John Mercer Langston School, which sits on the unit block of P St NW in Truxton Circle. I discovered photographs of the Langston School among the several photographs that photojournalist Marjory Collins took in March 1942. However, like the Slater School, it was not labeled. Thank goodness these schools are located so close to each other that this slice of Truxton Circle history has been captured.

Langston School taken March 1942

Collins, it seems was aiming to focus on the woman in the hat, not so much the school building.

[Untitled photo, possibly related to: Washington, D.C. Schoolteacher] Library of Congress
It was part of a series of photos of a school teacher. As the teacher seemed to live in a whole other part of town a goes unnamed, just like the school, I’m not particularly interested in following her story.

Langston Elementary was a functional school. It had students and teachers and staff. But now it is just an empty historic building:

Abandoned Langston School on P St NW.

The images below are from 2007. The building has been better secured in the past 16 years.

Western side of the Langston School on P St NW.
Langston School taken May 30, 2007
Rear of Langston? May 30, 2007
Broken Windows, Langston School. Taken May 30, 2007

School for Small Kids is also Childcare

School will be starting up soon.

At the Margaret Murray Washington Vocational School, pre-school guidance as well as free play activities are provided. Miss L.C. Randolph is principal and Mrs. Vivian T. Turner, instructor in the child care and training classes. Taken April 1943

I know it is gauche to equate schools with child care centers, but honestly, for small kids, the ones too young to leave alone, it’s true. I don’t think teachers are glorified babysitters, but think of child care as ‘other duties as assigned’.

When COVID hit and we tried to do virtual learning, it was horrible. Our then 3 year old Destructo had zero interest in staring at a screen unless there were singing dancing cartoons on it.

My spouse, The Help, was a trooper. He tried to hold Descructo still and worked with the child care center and later the Seaton teacher. It was painful and pointless. Never again.

The thing that whole thing taught us was yes, schools offer a babysitting service, in addition to the other things that ‘going to school’ means. In order to do work, I needed someone to care for our child. Yes, education and learning is important, but in order to do what I do, someone has to watch Destructo and keep him away from me so I can get crap done.

Schools, in general, provide many services. One is child care. This is very important for working parents, particularly single working parents, of children too young to leave alone. Virtual learning for really young kids does not work. I have yet to meet a parent in real life who who says it does. Online no one knows you’re a dog or a fake parent.

Going forward, don’t ever close schools beyond the time it takes to clear snow from most of the roads. Or beyond the amount of sick/personal leave a regular adult would have*. It is a complete waste of parents’ time and sanity.

We survived. We were proactive. We reached out to home schoolers we knew. We took turns with child care so we could both work. It helped that we had flexible employers, belong to a class of worker who have the luxury of working on laptops, and had a lot of leave hours. We hired a teenager to babysit for several hours in a day. We went to parks and commiserated with other parents. By November 2020 our daycare reopened for Pre-K. But never doing this again.

*I usually have tons of leave, but I have co-workers who are at a leave deficit. One serious illness years ago can leave you with very little sick leave which is earned at 4 hours a fortnight.

Slater School 1942

I happened to have found this photograph in the Library of Congress’ collection. It was listed as a Negro elementary school. When I took a closer look I saw the name of the school on the building.

Slater School. Kids playing on P St NW. 1942.

I am amazed seeing children playing on P Street as if it was an extension of the playground. P Street actually doesn’t look that wide in this photo. Things were different in 1942, when this was taken by Marjory Collins the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information photographer who took the photograph.

I found a similar view from 2008.

Unit block of P Street NW taken January 8, 2008

The school was in poor shape then.

Slater School on the unit block of P St NW ca. 2008

St. Augustine is Seeking Applicants for this coming academic year

Two weeks ago I got an email from the Black Student Fund. I’m now getting around to sharing it with you.

I’ve written about St. Augustine Catholic School before, and the academics for African American students is pretty good, as it is a predominately African American school.
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Black Student Fund | 3636 16th Street NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20010

The tuition is fairly affordable, however, there are other costs involved with catholic school in addition to tuition. Uniforms, parent associations, mandatory volunteer hours, before and after care, fundraisers, and lunch.


WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 225 P Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

photo of propertyLooking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there was the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

Let’s see what happens with 225 P St NW:

  • January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 225 P Street  NW to Arthur V. and his wife Carlis M. Foust.
  • January 1951 the Fousts borrowed $3,150 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • January 1951 Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 225 P St NW to Mrs. Gladys V. Hill Hodge.
  • Jan 1951 Mrs. Hodge borrowed $3,150 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • May 1957 the Fousts lose their half to foreclosure. Their half of the property returned to Evans, Taube, and new partner Harry A. Badt via an auction.
  • May 1957, as part of a larger property package, the Badts (Harry A. and wife Jennie) transfer/sell their interest in 225 P St NW to Nathan Levin’s survivors.
  • June 1959, as part of a larger package, Badt, Evans, Taube, their wives and Levin’s survivors sold half of 225 P St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • February 1960, Mrs. Hodge lost her half of the property to foreclosure. This second half of the property returned to Badt, Evans, and Taube via an auction.
  • February 1960, the Badts, as part of a larger package,  transferred/sold their interest in the property to the Levin survivors.
  • August 1960, Evans, Taube, their wives, and the Levin survivors sold the remaining half to George Basiliko.
  • Sometime between 1973 and 1978 Basiliko sold/transferred the property to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency.
  • Either in 1978 or 1979, as part of a larger package, the DC RLA sold the property to Bates Street Associates, Inc.

Let’s whip out our WSIC bingo card. Halves of one property sold to two separate households, check. The sole lenders were Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman, check. Foreclosure, double check. Sold to George Basiliko, check. Sold to DC RLA? Check.