Shaw, LeDroit Park & Bloomingdale in Washington, D.C.: An Oral History

Published by The History Press on October 11, 2021.

“Let residents tell you what it’s been like to live in D.C.’s most gentrified neighborhood. When Gretchen Wharton came to Shaw in 1946, the houses were full of families that looked like hers: lower-income, African American, two parents with kids. The sidewalks were full of children playing. When Leroy Thorpe moved in in the 1980s, the same streets were dense with drug markets. When John Lucier found a deal on a house in Shaw in 2002, he found himself moving into one of four occupied homes on his block. Every morning, he waited by himself on the empty platform of the newly opened metro station. When Preetha Iyengar became pregnant with her first child in 2016, she jumped into a seller’s market to buy a rowhouse in the area. Journalist and Shaw resident Shilpi Malinowski explores the complexities of the many stories of belonging in the District’s most dynamic neighborhood. “


Through listening and recording her neighbors’ thoughts and feelings, Malinowski has created a literary “third space” of sorts. She writes of her hope that readers will “feel liberated to come up with their own understanding of life in our gentrified neighborhood.” Her volume of candid oral histories and personal narrative offers an opportunity for reflection and invites readers to consider their own views of gentrification, whether or not they live in Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and Shaw.” Dylan Klempner, The DC Line review

This book gives us a  front row seat to this turbulent sea change. Malinowski is a reporter and Shaw resident  who knows how to get people to share their experiences. Malinowski is the best kind of observer:  patient, attentive, and nonjudgmental.” John DeFerrari, Washington History Magazine review

Fabulous. Wish I had read something like this years ago given the insights on gentrification and how much better we could be navigating it.” D. S., Goodreads

The format as a collection of oral histories is very compelling, and I was impressed with the author’s humility and respect in carrying out this work. Although short, this book probes and prompts deep reflection on the complicated nature of gentrification and its impact on urban neighborhoods. ” B. B., Goodreads

This book should serve as an essential primer for those who move to this neighborhood. I hope that the discussions of modern day manifestations and consequences of White supremacy and racial segregation will hopefully inculcate an attitude of civic responsibility in newcomers toward truly living in an integrated community.” V., Goodreads