Today is World Chocolate Day. Normally, I’d let the foodies have it but I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some D.C. history with the world.
Back in the day, especially in the early 70s, Washington D.C. was known as Chocolate City since a majority of the population was Black. According to the University of MD, Baltimore County, history professor George Musgrove, D.C. was destined to be a Chocolate City. He explains that “Blacks, free and enslaved, worked on the building of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and that was designed to keep White laborers in check. In the 1830s, D.C. became the only slave jurisdiction where there were more free Blacks than enslaved.” The Black population peaked to 71% in 1970, making D.C. the first urban city to have a Black majority.
The District is not as chocolatey as it was in the 70s. Increasing rent prices have caused a lot of people to move to PG County and other areas where you can get more square feet and features for the same price. Gentrification isn’t helping either. Right now, Wards 7 and 8 remain predominantly black but they’re also considered the poorer areas of D.C.
You can learn a detailed account of D.C.’s chocolate roots by reading Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital and some essays. If you want to have more fun with it, I found this cool Chocolate City Card game that touches on a ton of history and culture.
While the world’s obsessing over chocolate today, play some Go-Go music, get mumbo sauce with your take out and look at some Chocolate City history that makes D.C. the amazing place that it is.