Do read John Kelly’s column today on “The List” — an early 1950s tally of D.C.’s integrated restaurants compiled by the Rev. A. Powell Davies, pastor of All Souls Church.
John explains this relic from the final days of Jim Crow in the District:
The List is a list of restaurants in Washington at which blacks and whites could eat together. It appears to have been aimed at whites. It must have grown out of a sermon Davies gave Feb. 1, 1953, in which he said he would no longer “knowingly eat a meal in any restaurant in the District of Columbia that will not serve meals to Negroes.” He invited “all who truly believe in human brotherhood” to follow suit.
The List includes the YMCA and YWCA, the restaurant at the National Zoo and “All Federal building cafeterias.” There are such long-gone favorites as Harvey’s and the Jade Bowl. But it is primarily composed of lunch counters at pharmacies, department stores, and five-and-dimes: Hecht’s, Lansburgh’s, Murphy’s. That dates it to post-September 1952. By that time, Mary Church Terrell and others had picketed Hecht’s and Murphy’s and ended segregation there. But it’s before the summer of 1953, when the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. Inc.
As John notes, “This was 58 years ago, not really all that long.”
Also of note: This was back when people still called it “You Street.”