Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital

Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital


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Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation's capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America's expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city's rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights.

Tracing D.C.'s massive transformations—from a sparsely inhabited plantation society into a diverse metropolis, from a center of the slave trade to the nation's first black-majority city, from "Chocolate City" to "Latte City—Asch and Musgrove offer an engaging narrative peppered with unforgettable characters, a history of deep racial division but also one of hope, resilience, and interracial cooperation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469654720
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 08/01/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 158,518
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Chris Myers Asch teaches history at Colby College and runs the non-profit Capital Area New Mainers Project.

George Derek Musgrove is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

For too long the District of Columbia has lived in the shadows of the White House and the Mall. Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove have finally brought the city, its inhabitants, and its history into the light. In lively, eloquent prose they unearth a legacy of native dispossession, slavery, freedom, rebellion, civic elites and alley-dwellers, civil rights and black power, and disfranchisement in the seat of democracy. Above all, they powerfully demonstrate that the story of Chocolate City is quintessentially the story of the United States of America.—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Hammer and Hoe

Chocolate City is the most important archivally grounded monograph in decades to take on the vast sweep of Washington's historical terrain—from earliest colonization of the Potomac tidewaters through gentrification in the twenty-first-century capital. Asch and Musgrove have paired their ambitious scope with a detailed examination of race and power to provide both continuity of scholarly purpose and a powerful argument for focusing consistently on civic flashpoints in this key laboratory of the American experiment. An essential and masterful contribution not only to the study of Washington, D.C., but also to U.S. and urban history generally!—Christopher Klemek, author of Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal

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