When A Historically Black University’s Neighborhood Turns White

By | July 26, 2017

Howard University, one of the nation’s top historically black colleges, has seen the neighborhood around it change drastically over the years.

The area, located just a couple of miles north of Capitol Hill, was once working-class and black. But as hundreds of new residents move to D.C. each month, more nonblack residents move into Howard’s neighborhood. And as property values rise, the university is trying to capitalize on the hot real estate market.

For years, there was little interaction between the residents of the neighborhood and the middle-class students and faculty of the university. At times, the relationship wasn’t always harmonious, despite a shared cultural experience.

I went to Howard and have awesome memories about my time at “the Mecca.” I met my wife there, and I even saw Jay Z perform at homecoming in 2000.

But something else happened while I was there.

One night I was with 10 of my friends walking home to our dorm, when two men from the neighborhood popped out of the shadows with guns and robbed all of us. Another time, at an off-campus frat party, a football player got stabbed in an altercation with some guys from the area. (NPR)

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