With eyes squinted shut, skin ruddiest pink, hair so red it bordered on orange, tiny William Watkins Pasco joined the human race seven weeks ago.
Days later, his parents John and Elizabeth took their first-born strolling down the 600 block of 14th Street NE. As the threesome stopped to visit along the way, 14-year-old neighbor Clarissa Hamilton inspected young William.
He was the first white infant she had ever seen in person and up close.
The reason: Clarissa, who is black, has lived on 14th Street NE all her life, among nothing but blacks.
John and Elizabeth Pasco, who have lived at 629 14th St. NE for two years, are the first whites to live on the block in 25 years.
Little William will be too young for quite a while to understand what his family's presence on 14th Street means. But to residents of the neighborhood and their political leaders, the Pascos symbolize two trends:
Young, white families in ever-increasing numbers are moving into the previously all-black neighborhood, called Capitol Hill Extended in the real estate world, and variously Stanton Park, Lincoln Park and a part of the H Street Corridor elsewhere.
In many cases, the new neighbors, black and white, are learning to get along with an ease that surprises both races.
"I'd never lived next to a white dude before," Wardell Freeman, 20, of 630 15th St. NE, said. A chef's helper, he has lived next door to a young white couple for six months.
"And you know what? They ain't no different. It's just like living next door to one of mine."
Brenda Grayton, 29, a career counselor who lives with her mother ans son at 1207 Wylie St. NE, said her relationship with whites is harmonious.
"It gives you a chance to get to know each other. And it's led to beautification of the buildings themselves. Everyone who lives anywhere wants a neighborhood to be upgraded."
But Capitol Hill Extended is anything but Paradise Found. Whites moving into the area's 80-year-old, two-story row houses, are often targets of crime and harassment. As often as not, the culprits are black male teen-agers, especially if white new-comers show what one black resident calls "signs of wealth -- you know, a brass doorknocker, a big Olds in the back."
Abraham (Ham) Johnson, a young men's boxing coach who lives nearby at 1516 Isherwood St. NE, has worked with young men in the neighborhood for nearly 20 years. He thinks the initial "testing" of arriving whites by black youths born and reared there "is going to tell the tale."
"A lot of these young guys will walk up to a white dude and 'try' him, y'know -- see what he's made of.If they smell fear, they'll think they have an easy mark," said Johnson.
Racially tinged crimes in the area have sometimes burst into headlines.
Last December, Frank Flook, the 33-year-old manager of a garden store who was the only white homeowner on his block, answered the doorbell of his home six blocks from the Pascos and was shot to death by a black man.
Police theorized that Flook's home may have been singled out for burglary by people who knew he and his wife were white and suspected they had valuables in their home.
Flook's killing outraged his black neighbors as much as it frightened and angered the whites.
A committee of black neighbors amassed a $1,000 reward in less than two days. Meanwhile, police say, blacks from throughout Capitol Hill Extended have offered tips and cooperation to detective investigating the killing.
"I think that night he was killed was the difference," says Nadine Winter, city councilwoman from Ward 6 and a resident of the neighborhood all her life. c
"I saw for the first time, and I know other blacks saw, that it didn't make a difference if a person was pink, blue or red. I think the way the community came together after the incident was the start of something big."
In terms of real estate, the community has been something big for at least five years.
According to real estate brokers, to drive around the narrow streets of Capitol Hill Extended -- bounded by H Street on the north, East Capitol on the south, 8th Street on the west and RFK Stadium on the east -- is to see more For Sale signs than in any other area of the city.
One recent afternoon 28 houses were for sale within a six-block radius of the Pascos' row house which they bought two years ago for $50,000. All were similar to it and ranged in price from $77,000 to $143,000, depending on condition and extent of renovation.
Despite high interest rates and the difficulty of obtaining mortgage money, houses in Capitol Hill Extended sell well, say real estate sales people who know the area. In the first quarter of 1980, houses in the neighborhood stayed on the market only 14 days on average, about half the rate for the Washington area as a whole.
For John and Elizabeth Pasco, as for many other white home buyers, location and price were what directed them into the neighborhood.
"I had decided it made absolutely no sense to commute," said Pasco, a 35-year-old financial analyst for the Securities and Exchange Commission. "I can walk to work in 23 minutes." He works at North Capitol and F streets. "Besides, it was what we could afford.
"We've got the basic space we want. I'd love to be on Fourth Street rather than 14th, but the money constraints are real."
The Pascos have not done much renovating to their three-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath home. So far, they have painted the downstairs, improved the kitchen and, most noticeably, added bars to the front door and windows. "The bars were the first thing we did," Elizabeth Pasco, 29, who supervised the improvements, said.
She and her husband realize that first step could have broadcast a message of hostility or fear to their black neighbors. "We were a little apprehensive when we first moved in. But we haven't had problems because we were pioneers or because we were white," she said.
In fact, their black neighbors have been helpfully vigilant.
When they went out of town recently, the Pacos asked some neighbors to keep an eye on their house. They neglected, however, to mention that a friend would be coming by to borrow their car.
Their friend was shocked to find detectives on her doorstep an hour after she had parked the Buick in front of her home. The Pascos' neighbor had called the police, thinking the friend was a car thief.
Slowly at first, but regularly of late, the Pascos have begun to insert themselves into neighborhood "quality-of-life" problems.
One night, well past midnight, a group of teen-agers, all of them black, was drinking and playing radios loudly on the sidewalk across from the Pascos' home.
"My first year here, I wouldn't have done anything," Elizabeth Pasco recalled. "But I marched right out there and told them to keep it down."
They also joined their friend and neighbor, Thelma Reynolds, the area's Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, in battling a contractor whose office sits across from their home.
The exterior of the building was unsightly and dumping and other noises used to begin in front of the office before 7 a.m. each weekday, they say. Reynolds and Elizabeth Pasco appeared last year before the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment and won several concessions from the owner.
Such civic involvement by white neighbors is a throwback to the days when she bought her house at 619 14th St. NE 34 years ago, Reynolds says.
"There's never been a time when this neighborhood was all black or all white," said Reynolds, a retired transportation analyst for the General Accounting Office.
"If anything, it used to be a white neighborhood. I bought this home from an Italian. There were just regular whites here, and some of them never left, although they all left this particular block. So whites coming back isn't something this neighborhood hasn't seen before."
Nadine Winter thinks the area, which is now approximately 20 percent white, will be at least 60 percent white, and perhaps more, in five years.
Of course, that cannot happen unless black homeowners put their houses on the market. But according to Winter, many of them are increasingly inclined to take the money and run: "I get calls in here every day: 'Oh, Mrs. Winter, my Lord, I can get $80,000 for my house. Shouldn't I take it?' I try to work with them, talk about neighborhood stability, but that's a lot of money to many people. So they do it."
Winter believes the social strains in the neighborhood revolve far more around economics and age than around race.
"You've got a lot of very, very poor people there, most of them retired, living next to young white couples in the $40,000-to-$60,000 range," said Winters. "It's going to take time and understanding."
But on 14th Street NE., according to Thelma Reynolds, white homeowners are welcome, and many more are expected.
"You could have given this whole neighborhood away for a dollar-fifty after the riots," Reynolds said. "Now, we've gotten something good going. We're fighting the city home for derelicts up on the corner.We're picking up the trash. We're raising money for a community center.
"This is a neighborhood again."