African-American Enclaves Provide Social And Professional Networks


Enclaves are comfortable spaces where people convene, laugh and sometimes even cry. There are enclaves for sports fans, foodies, college alumni. During the early 20th Century, though, it wasn’t easy for African-Americans to build enclaves in the Commonwealth.

Tucked away in Old Town Alexandria, off of Gibbon Street, sits an enduring black enclave whose founders were some of the first African-American men to work for the federal government. Men with character.

It’s just after 9:30 pm and The Departmental Progressive Club has finished its business meeting. Everyone’s affable. But the ability for African-Americans to congregate, before the end of segregation, was a hardship.

Yet, on September 27, 1927, they did just that.

“If we had the time to look at the record, it would clearly…

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