Letter to the Editor: McLean Gardens has unfortunate civil rights legacy

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McLean Gardens was built in 1942. (Susan Bodiker/The Current/September 2017)

Your history of McLean Gardens in connection with its 75th anniversary celebration in your Sept. 27 issue was interesting and informative. However, it failed to include an aspect of that history that some may prefer to remain untold.

In the summer of 1962, Julius Hobson of the Congress of Racial Equality led demonstrators protesting racial segregation at the rental apartments at McLean Gardens. We marched almost daily along the grass strip outside the wall enclosure between Porter and Ordway streets NW. By the time we were done that summer, a dirt-brown patch strip had replaced the grass under our feet. As a high school senior living in Cleveland Park, it was my first civil rights action.

Led by George Lincoln Rockwell, a group of American Nazis — one of them in a gorilla outfit — shouted at us from across Wisconsin Avenue as D.C. police kept watch.

The protests were successful and segregation at McLean Gardens, one of the last vestiges of Jim Crow Washington, fell to the ground.

Calvin Goddard Zon, Forest Hills