Washington's U Street: A Biography

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9781421405940: Washington's U Street: A Biography
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This book traces the history of the U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C., from its Civil War–era origins to its recent gentrification.

Home throughout the years to important scholars, entertainers, and political figures, as well as to historically prominent African American institutions, Washington’s U Street neighborhood is a critical zone of contact between black and white America. Howard University and the Howard Theater are both located there; Duke Ellington grew up in the neighborhood; and diplomat Ralph Bunche, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and medical researcher Charles Drew were all members of the community.

This robustly diverse neighborhood included residents of different races and economic classes when it arose during the Civil War. Jim Crow laws came to the District after the Compromise of 1877, and segregation followed in the mid-1880s. Over the next century, U Street emerged as an energetic center of African American life in Washington. The mid-twentieth-century rise of cultural and educational institutions brought with it the establishment of African American middle and elite classes, ironically fostering biases within the black community. Later, with residential desegregation, many of the elites moved on and U Street entered decades of decline, suffered rioting in 1968, but has seen an initially fitful resurgence that has recently taken hold.

Blair A. Ruble, a jazz aficionado, prominent urbanist, and longtime resident of Washington, D.C., is uniquely equipped to undertake the history of this culturally important area. His work is a rare instance of original research told in an engaging and compelling voice.

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From the Back Cover:

This book traces the history of the U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C., from its Civil War–era origins to its recent gentrification.

Blair A. Ruble, a jazz aficionado, prominent urbanist, and longtime resident of Washington, D.C., is uniquely equipped to write the history of this culturally important area. His work is a rare instance of original research told in an engaging and compelling voice.

"This is a wonderful book... Washington's U Street: A Biography is a meritorious study of a subject of considerable historical importance. Thank you, Mr. Ruble."―Ellingtonia

"An informative, readable, and well-documented work that seeks to recover the history of the nation's capital from the vantage of its African American residents and one of their most enduring communities."―Journal of American History

"A must-read for anyone interested in the tremendously rich history of the U Street neighborhood."―14th & You

"Groundbreaking... Ruble carefully constructs a biographical history of U Street in northwest Washington that highlights the accomplishments of everyday people in the neighborhood, while simultaneously giving life to the area’s buildings, streets, and educational and cultural institutions, particularly those of the African American community."―H-DC, H-Net Reviews

"U Street gives readers many human-interest stories, delivered with a light touch."―Internet Review of Books

About the Author:

Blair A. Ruble is the author of several books about the governance of cities worldwide, including Creating Diversity Capital: Transnational Migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv and Second Metropolis: Pragmatic Pluralism in Gilded Age Chicago, Silver Age Moscow, and Meiji Osaka, both also published by Johns Hopkins and the Woodrow Wilson Center. Ruble is director of the Kennan Institute and of the Comparative Urban Studies Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780801898006: Washington's U Street: A Biography

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ISBN 10:  0801898005 ISBN 13:  9780801898006
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010
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