Barry Farm in southeast Washington, D.C., is one of the city’s poorest areas, but it’s rich with historical significance. The community dates to 1867, when it was among the nation’s first developments for freed slaves.
Now, many of the residents face eviction to make way for an upscale development that will include apartments, houses, stores and some public housing. After multiple appeals that stalled the project, plans are now proceeding.
It’s a trend that black city dwellers from Oakland to Atlanta know well: A formerly neglected neighborhood gets gentrified, bringing amenities such as a dog park, a Starbucks and an art gallery but also soaring costs. The transformation smells like sweet progress to some, but it carries the stench of discrimination for those who persevered during the rough times but are now forced to move.
In working-class Philadelphia neighborhoods that experienced gentrification, the black population plummeted from nearly 16,000 in 1970 to fewer than 8,000 by 2000, according to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trusts report.