Bloomingdale Tour: 37 T Street

John S. Melton blanketed the unit block of T Street with racial covenants when he built rowhouses here in the early 1900s, but middle-class black families filled the 100 block of T and other nearby streets by the 1930s. First Street remained the eastern limit of black settlement until 1942, when two lawsuits to uphold racially restrictive covenants on this block of T Street were unsuccessful. Duffy v. McCray and Duffy v. Matthews attempted to prevent black families from living at numbers 37 and 21 T Street, respectively. The latter case targeted newspaper editor Ralph Matthews and his wife Selma Sampson Matthews, who produced “musical extravaganzas” at the nearby Howard Theatre to raise funds for charitable organizations, according to her Washington Post obituary.



37 T Street NW