City StoriesWashington DC

Washington DC Southeast

SouthEast Washington DC

These days, with the redeveloping of neighborhoods in most of the Washington DC ghetto, the Southeast Washington DC section has become the last of its kind.

While there has been a black presence in the city of Washington D.C. since its beginning, Southeast Washington DC had two specific areas, Barry Farm and Anacostia, that have been communities for African-Americans since the 1800s.

Supposedly, Barry Farm was one of the first places that accepted black residents in Washington DC as the small neighborhood became a home for freed slaves.

southeast washington dc ghetto barry farm

Today’s Barry Farm area

After Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and people began to riot and protest soon after, many white families left Southeast Washington DC for the suburb communities in the Maryland counties.

By the 1970s, the Southeast Washington DC was a predominantly black community with people moving and relocating into areas like Congress Heights, Washington Highlands, Marshall Heights, and other SouthEast neighborhoods.


With the city becoming mostly African-American and gaining the nickname of Chocolate City, the streets of the Washington DC ghetto began to take shape, especially during the 1980s and 1990s.

The heart of the streets in one of the most respected places in the Washington DC ghetto was and still are the SouthEast Washington DC housing complexes.

For generations, many of these communities had their own reputations, from being well known in the streets to being publicized on television.

southeast washington dc ghetto

Potomac Gardens

Many of the SouthEast complexes are Kentucky Court or Potomac Gardens in the Captiol Hill neighborhood, 37th Street’s Fort Dwellings and Stoddart Terrace, 58th Street, Benning Terrace aka Simple City, Barry Farm, or Woodland Terrace aka Langston Lane / Lench Mob.

washington dc southeast

22nd Street off Alabama Avenue

To continue, the small complexes in Anacostia like Pitts Place or Cedar Gardens, the number of projects in the Highlands, like Alley Mob of Condon Terrace or Whaler Place, the apartment buildings like Wellington Park and Stanton Oaks, or others around MLK and Alabama Avenue.


Starting in the 1990s and 2000s, gentrification began to change the city’s racial makeup, with the name of Chocolate City becoming unrelated in today’s Washington DC.

With gentrification, the city used the government’s HOPE VI program which was provided by the department of Housing of Urban Development (HUD) to help to rebuild and demolish certain communities.

The South Side is the only section of the city that has not been widely affected by Washington D.C.’s gentrification.

southeast washington dc ghetto

The rebuilt Eastgate

Only gentrified areas are a few housing projects like Eastgate, 58th Street’s  East Capitol Dwellings and Capitol View Plaza, Stanton Terrace’s Stanton Dwellings and Frederick Douglass Dwellings, Washington Highlands’ Valley Green and Linda Pollin, and Sheridan Terrace.

Confrontations and conflicts were centered around the rebuilding process of the Washington DC housing communities.

Example of problems included, residents claiming the housing authority was allowing apartment units to deteriorate so they can be claimed as unlivable to eventually be demolish or the promising of rebuilding led to less than half of the original units being replaced.


Check out more on the communities in the city of Washington DC

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.