located in southeast Washington, D.C., is bordered by the Anacostia
and Potomac rivers on the west, Southern Avenue on the east, and
Good Hope and Naylor roads on the north. Located in the city’s
Ward 8, Anacostia has approximately 71,000 residents.
Anacostia gets its name from an early community of people who
once lived in the area. In 1608, Captain John Smith navigated
the Chesapeake Bay, and sailed up the Potomac River and found
Nacotchtanke, a Native American trading village. The Nacotchtanks,
later called Nacostines, were fishermen and farmers.
The early English explorers encouraged more Europeans to migrate
to the area. Most were farmers who grew tobacco. Those who worked
the tobacco fields included tenant farmers, indentured servants,
and enslaved Africans.
Design by Pearline Waldrop Anacostia is one of the District’s
first suburbs. In 1854, land developers established Uniontown
(now called Historic Anacostia) as a place where Navy Yard workers
could live. In the beginning, land ownership was restricted to
whites, only. Later in 1877, abolitionist and statesman Frederick
Douglass was able to purchase a home that he called “Cedar
Before the Civil War, many free blacks settled in other parts
of Anacostia. Tobias Henson, for example, owned land in the Congress
Heights section. The population of the Barry’s Farm, later
Barry Farms, section, also called Hillsdale, increased with more
free blacks after the war. Solomon G. Brown, another resident,
was a poet, Smithsonian Institution employee, and elected official
who represented the Barry’s Farm community.
Anacostia continued to grow and change. Over time, as the population
increased, transportation improved, streets were paved, sewers
and electricity were brought in, and more houses were built. During
the 1950s, white residents left the area as more blacks moved
in. Up until the late 1950s, Anacostia had sections that were
racially segregated. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the area
is approximately 92% African American, 5% white American, and
1% or less Asian, American Indian, or another race.
In Anacostia, you will find the Ft. Stanton and Garfield Heights
communities, Anacostia Park, and St. Elizabeths Hospital. Anacostia
also has public and private schools, a national historic landmark,
private and public housing, a variety of businesses, cultural
events, public art, a Smithsonian museum, Metro train station,
District of Columbia government offices, health centers, and churches.
It promises to be an even greater community with new businesses
and houses being built every day.