“Little Ethiopia” Revisited
Separating Ethiopian history from African-American history in America is like trying to separate teff from injera.
From, BrownCondor.com, Four years ago, a group of Ethiopian entrepreneurs and activists initiated a campaign to rename the 9th St section near U St. in North West DC “Little Ethiopia”. At the time, this seemed like a no-brainer; Ethiopians were one of the first groups of entrepreneurs to venture into the area that was marked with history but became dilapidated overtime. Before Ethiopian restaurants started to transform the area, 9th St NW was known more for crime than it was for a fine dining experience. Almost overnight, Ethiopian restaurants and coffee shops popped up like vuvuzelas at a South African soccer game.
It is not an exaggeration to state that Ethiopians were vital to revitalizing this once neglected neighborhood. So it did not seem like much of a stretch to imagine this historic landmark being renamed “Little Ethiopia”. However, the “Little Ethiopia” campaign ran into a stiff resistance from the most unlikely place—the resistance came from the African-American community who called 9th St and U St. home for decades before the first Ethiopian restaurant opened its door. The “Little Ethiopia” effort and failure is a case study in the chasm that divides the Ethiopian community from the African-American community… Read More
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