Mrs. Frank Murray, living at 761 Tenth Street, S.E., has increased her holdings until she owns 25 pieces of property and 32 apartments. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wagner at 814 A Street have improved the entire block and are working with Mr. Parker in the 600 block of A Street. Mr. Harry Brogden, a Georgetown realtor, bought 130 Eleventh Street, S.E., in the famous Philadelphia Row and practically all of them are in good hands.Many examples are very early cases of speculative/investment renovation, which is interesting because it is generally assumed that early restoration was done by individuals for their own use. But what might "good hands" mean? I would guess that all the individuals mentioned in her article were probably white and likely middle- or upper-middle class. The Southeast Citizens' Association actively supported racial housing covenants and worked to maintain white-dominant blocks, those blocks held in "good hands." Restoration was seen as a way to attract more white families to the area.
In SW DC, thousands of African Americans' homes were condemned as slums and demolished. DC was madly building public housing to house these and other households. The Southeast Citizens' Association was well-known for its opposition to public housing, since it was seen as African American housing (2). Elizabeth Kohl Draper talked about how the public housing authority in DC, the National Capital Housing Authority, wanted to buy land for public housing:
At present, the National Capital Housing Authority is trying to buy south of Virginia Avenue to make another project. If this happens, many old places that should be preserved will be torn down. If the housing project can be located elsewhere, the northern side of Virginia Avenue, Southeast will doubtless be restored by private enterprise. The entire length of New Jersey Avenue, S.E., should be restored. Some fine old houses are in the 1000 block of New Jersey Avenue, S.E., and if a group of private owners would secure and restore them, they will form an excellent unit. Many white people live in that section and should be encouraged to stay.Was the restoration movement racist? Is the restoration movement racist?
(1) "Progress Report on the Restoration of Capitol Hill Southeast," Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, DC, Vol. 1951/1952.
(2) William R. Barnes. 1980. "A Battle for Washington: Ideology, Racism, and Self-Interest in the Controversy over Public Housing, 1943-1946," Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., Vol. 50.