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The History Of Northeast DC

Bisnow is back with its third edition of its Neighborhood Guide series, in partnership with United Bank. You can read our first edition, on Howard County, here and our second edition, on Tysons, here. To hear from Northeast DC's biggest developers and stakeholders, sign up for our Northeast DC Update at Three Constitution Square in NoMa next month.

The Rise And Fall And Rise of NE DC 

NE DC was a hinterland of the capital as recently as the beginning of the 20th Century, when the area began seeing massive influxes of Southern black migrants. By the middle of the century, the H Street NE corridor was one of Washington's busiest commercial districts. 

Ironically, the Civil Rights Movement ultimately drove business out of the areaUpscale stores in the downtown parts of DC, seeking to profit from integration, began catering to a black clientèle. Having long been excluded from these prestigious establishments, African-Americans flocked to taste the formerly forbidden fruit, and the old working-class shops on H Street suffered.

But the true demise of Northeast DC as a major commercial center came with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Arson, looting and vandalism devastated the neighborhood, and many parts of the city, and it hasn't fully recovered since.

That looks to change soon, however, as several massive developments are slated to arrive in NE DC in the near future.