(Video) Race And Class Intersecting On H Street NE

What do new and longtime residents have to say about the gentrification of H Street NE? A few residents talk about class, race and development in the video below, produced by the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, a nonprofit civil rights policy organization.

A few longtime residents are heartened by the changes along the corridor, while others are weary. The video closes out with a development sign on Florida Avenue NE (quite a distance away from H Street) that reads “Pretty soon, you won’t recognize the place. Promise.”

Determining the winners and losers in gentrification isn’t always so cut and dry. For example, a newer resident in the video said it’s a sign of the times that a longtime, black-owned suit shop went out of business after 40 years. She is probably referring to George’s Place at 10th and H Streets. Owner George Butler told us that the H Street streetcar construction, the recession and online competition led him to call it quits. But he is also 73 years old and owned his building, which he sold for a hefty price. Nizam and Kamal Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl — a Washington institution — reportedly bought the building.

Anyway, take a look at the video and let us know: what thoughts do you have on how race and class intersect on H Street? Do you see people of different backgrounds interacting with one another?

  • http://twitter.com/Nattyrankins Natalie Hopkinson

    As a longtime black middle class DC resident I was irritated by the comments from the white woman in the video who said these establishments cater to ‘white middle class.’ Also irritated she called the DC longtimers “lower class”. Then I thought about it more and she is right. They do cater to “white” people. There are subtle and unsubtle ways they make you feel unwelcome because they make certain assumptions about your SES based on the fact that you are black. Even though my family eats out A LOT we are very careful to support places that support and welcome us. It used to be easier than it is now. But it is what it is. We have gotten some cool new spots out of a deal.