Bloomingdale Tour: 101 U Street

In 1943, the well-known religious leader Solomon Michaux purchased 101 U Street for his church and was sued for violating a racial covenant. However, in this case, the covenant prevented only black occupancy, not ownership, and Michaux was allowed to keep the property. The court also noted that the blocks west of First Street were largely black-occupied by this time, dubbing this area “a definitely colored section.”

In a companion case, the court upheld the covenant on a house just two blocks north of here, but on the opposite side of First Street (Stop 12). The court cited the “striking difference between the two cases” in that 2213 First Street was “located in a neighborhood which, as provided by the restrictive covenants covering the properties, has remained exclusively white.”

Two decades earlier, in November 1923, more than 500 white Bloomingdale residents gathered here at First and U for a march to the nearby homes of three black families. Although none of these houses were subject to racial covenants, the marchers told the owners, in a letter, that they had “invested all we have in our property, and … will not sit quietly by while all we have is threatened.” They also stoned at least one of the houses, prompting DC's district attorney to warn that “Washington is likely to have another riot unless police are active in suppressing attacks on colored homes,” according to the Afro-American. At least two of the families who were threatened refused to leave.



101 U Street NW