The Washington Post

An Establishment for Everyone


The name of the above corner store kind of makes you chuckle, but the inevitable back story doesn’t. When I passed by this place on 13th Street and Florida Avenue, NE Thursday, the red awning reading ‘Black Supermarket’ almost seems like a joke, something out of modern-day blaxplotation flick about gentrification.

As it turns out, the now shuttered small market near Trinidad is named after a man who goes by Mr. Black in the neighborhood. Prior to closing, neighbors say Mr. Black had been in business for more than four decades.

“Pretty sad story, actually. I think he was forced out by the bank, and now some group is trying everything to turn it into condos,” a man who said he lives around the corner said. He added, without irony:  “I see white guys going in and out of there all the time, now.”

As I peeked my head in to see what appeared to be a construction site behind the black fencing on the windows, another gentlemen offered up some info.

“That place has been closed a couple months now at least,” said the man, who looked to be in his 50s. “Why, you want to buy it?”

I don’t think it was the first time he’d asked someone that question.

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.



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Clinton Yates · June 14, 2013