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When a black-owned funeral home in a gentrifying city has no one left to bury | The Washington Post

When a black-owned funeral home in a gentrifying city has no one left to bury | The Washington Post

Gentrification, African American Communities, Black Communities, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, WRIIT,

By Paul Schwartzman, The Washington Post

The thick, dusty ledgers were scattered about the cluttered office, 18 of them, their pages filled with neat script documenting the deaths of thousands of black Washingtonians over the course of a half-century.

 

Open a volume to Page 123 and there is Lawrence Monroe Ryles, 39, a “colored” postal worker who on Sept. 13, 1947, was “run over by a train.” Turn the pages and find Melvin Bailey, of 1406 Third St. NW, a 6-year-old who died the same year of meningitis. Deep inside another book is Leon Anthony Porter Jr., 18, whose 1990 death occurred after a bullet pierced his skull.

This compendium of fatal heart attacks, seizures, neck fractures and bullet wounds belongs to the Hall Brothers Funeral Home, whose owner was shutting down the business after nearly 80 years and preparing to sell its Florida Avenue headquarters, a gracious Victorian rowhouse across from the historic Howard Theatre.

See Also
Alvin Ailey, African American Dance, Black Dance, African American Ballet, Black Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

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