Changes in the Central District affect the African-American community
When Mount Calvary Christian Center pastor Reggie Witherspoon was growing up in the Central District in the 1960s and ’70s, the neighborhood was tight-knit and largely African-American. But today, it’s another story. “It’s radically different,” he says. Now, he can visit the neighborhood and not see any African-Americans. “I never thought I would see the time when I am driving through and white folks would look at me strangely. I’m like, ‘I grew up in this area, what are you looking at me for?’”
Witherspoon’s experience mirrors that of the neighborhood as a whole. The number of African-Americans in the Central District has steadily declined over the past decades, with the percentage dropping from 64 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2010. The number of white residents increased in nearly inverse proportion. As gentrification pushes African-Americans, should the city step in to protect their interests? Naomi Ishisaka, Seattle Magazine, March 2014.