Black Georgetown Remembered

A History of Its Black Community from the Founding of “The Town of George” in 1751 to the Present Day

Kathleen Menzie Lesko, Valerie M. Babb, and Carroll R. Gibbs

"Makes a great contribution to the little-known history of black Washington."
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Georgetown's little-known Black heritage shaped a Washington, DC, community long associated with white power and privilege.

Black Georgetown Remembered reveals a rich but little-known history of the Georgetown Black community from the colonial period to the present. Drawing on primary sources, including oral interviews with past and current residents and extensive research in church and historical society archives, the authors record the hopes, dreams, disappointments, and successes of a vibrant neighborhood as it persevered through slavery and segregation, war and peace, prosperity and depression.

This thirtieth anniversary edition of Black Georgetown Remembered, first published in 1991, features more than two hundred illustrations, including portraits of prominent community leaders, sketches, maps, and nineteenth-century and contemporary photographs. A new chapter includes a conversation with former and current Georgetown residents reflecting on the community, past and present.

Black Georgetown Remembered is a compelling and inspiring journey through more than two hundred years of history. A one-of-a-kind book, it invites readers to share in the lives, dreams, aspirations, struggles, and triumphs of real people, to join them in their churches, at home, and on the street, and to consider how the unique heritage of this neighborhood intersects and contributes to broader themes in African American and Washington, DC, history and urban studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition
Kathleen Menzie Lesko

Foreword to the 25th Anniversary Edition
Maurice Jackson

Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition
Kathleen Menzie Lesko



The Early Years: 1740–1900

A Washington Community: 1900–1950

The Historic District: 1950–1991

Creating and Preserving Legacy: A Conversation with Black Georgetowners, 2021


Map of Georgetown’s Black History Landmarks

Black Churches in Georgetown

Mt. Zion Cemetery

The Community House

Family Histories of Current Georgetown Residents

A Century of Teachers from Black Georgetown

A Listing of the Black Georgetown Archive in Georgetown University




"Makes a great contribution to the little-known history of black Washington."—Washington Post Book World

"A handsomely illustrated volume about a segment of Georgetown's population that has often been hidden or ignored in the past. . . . As Black Georgetown Remembered demonstrates, much of Georgetown's African-American history can still be found within the community itself, especially in its church records and the personal papers and memories of various families. . . . The use of these materials, as well as the oral history interviews with black Georgetown residents, both past and present, invite readers to see the community from within, rather than as outsiders just passing through."—Maria R. Goodwin, Washington History, reviewing a past edition

"Black Georgetown Remembered reaches back into the memory of loved ones while drawing parallels to the successes and challenges of urban living. The preservation effort—such as this book—will bear witness to future generations that Blacks fully lived in Georgetown."—Journal of African American History


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Kathleen Menzie Lesko is a former scholar-in-residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library and current research scholar at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. She is also a former faculty member and administrator at Georgetown University.

Valerie M. Babb is the Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Emory University and holds a joint appointment in the departments of African American Studies and English. She is a former faculty member at Georgetown University.

Carroll R. Gibbs is a professional historian, a lecturer, and author of numerous works on African American history. He is founder of the African History and Culture Lecture Series and wrote, researched, and narrated “Sketches in Color,” a companion to the acclaimed PBS series “The Civil War,” for WHUT-TV.

290 pp., 7 x 10
212 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-1-64712-165-5
Jan 2022

290 pp., 7 x 10
212 b&w photos
Jan 2022

290 pp.
212 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-1-64712-166-2
Jan 2022

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