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Chocolate CityA History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital$
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Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635866

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635866.001.0001

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National Show Town

National Show Town

Building a Modern, Prosperous, and Segregated Capital, 1890–1912

(p.185) Seven National Show Town
Chocolate City

Chris Myers Asch

George Derek Musgrove

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the massive demographic and spatial changes that reordered Washington’s racial geography in the decades between disfranchisement in 1878 and the election of Woodrow Wilson to the presidency in 1912. As the federal government expanded and real estate boomed, the city burst its bounds and extended far beyond the central core. Driven by real estate developers, urban planners, and congressional leaders who could act without local democratic accountability, the city became a “national show town” featuring a monumental core of federal buildings and monuments. Its residents spread out into surrounding neighborhoods that were increasingly segregated by race and class, as exclusive suburban enclaves put physical and psychological distance between wealthy white Washingtonians and the masses of poor residents, black and white. Without the pull of integrated politics to promote interracial interaction, life in Washington became more segregated than ever before.

Keywords:   Disfranchisement, Real estate, Urban planning, Segregation, Suburbs

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