76. 2724 P Street

2724 P Street, NW
Photo by Bob Rives

Pauline Gaskins Mitchell


Pauline Gaskin Mitchell was a lecturer, columnist for the local newspaper, television personality, and professional editor As the Mt. Zion Church historian, she penned, “The History of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and Mt. Zion Cemetery.“ She is quoted as saying, “Our roots in Georgetown go back many generations.”

She was one of four granddaughters of Caleb Hawkins. Mrs. Gaskin Mitchell had in her possession a deposit slip from Freedman Savings and Loan Bank of her grandfather from 1868, which stated, “My wife may use my account.”

Gaskins Mitchell recalled a thriving business life in Georgetown’s African American community during the 1920s. She remembered candy stores at 2447 P and 2704 N Street; the mom and pop grocery stores at 2701 Dumbarton and 1414 27th Street; businesses selling coal, ice, and kerosene. Between 29th and the Aqueduct Bridge (now Key Bridge) M Street and Wisconsin Avenue were dotted with barbershops. There was a deli shop in the basement at 28th and Poplar Street, a beauty shop on Dumbarton Street, as well as chair caners, tailors, cleaners and pressers, express movers, shoemakers, and a large feed and supply store for horses at 29th and M Street.

She also recalled the coming forced departure of the African American community after overhearing two relators on the trolley stating they were going to, ”run all the Blacks from Georgetown.” Many American Americans left Georgetown voluntarily attracted by what they thought were the seemingly high prices offered for their homes and unware of the houses’ true values. Into the 1980s and 1990s, Mrs. Gaskins Mitchell remained dedicated to addressing the new set of community challenges: crime, noise, traffic, and disruptive crowds.