Although some builders used racial covenants west of First Street when they began developing these houses in the 1900s, numerous black households occupied the 100 block of V Street by the 1930s, including John R. Pinkett’s family. In 1932, Pinkett founded what would become one of the largest black-owned companies in the metro area—a real estate and insurance firm—in the basement of his home here at 122 V.
Diplomat and scholar Will Mercer Cook, son of famed composer Will Marion Cook and singer Abbie Mitchell Cook, lived across the street at 127 V while teaching at Howard University between 1945 and 1961. That year President John F. Kennedy appointed him ambassador to Niger. Acclaimed performer Chita Rivera grew up around the corner at 2134 Flagler Place in the 1940s.