Washington D.C. is second largest Ethiopian city

According to a BBC report, more Ethiopians live in and around Washington DC, in the US than anywhere else in the world except the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa itself.

There are so many restaurants, shops and businesses catering to a population of about  250,000 Ethiopians that the community has its own 1,000-page telephone book.

Many of the immigrants are Ethiopians who sought asylum in the US during the 1990s as a result of Ethiopia's civil war. 

Ethiopians now represent the largest African immigrant population in Washington D.C.

The hub of the vibrant Ethiopian community, an area between 13th Street and 9th Street along U Street that is known as Little Ethiopia, was part of a dilapidated African American community when the Ethiopians started to move in. During segregation, the same neighborhood was the hub of a prosperous African American community.

The area is part of the Shaw neighborhood around Howard University that was built by freed slaves. The area is named after the white Civil War Col. Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. 

Ethiopian community leaders have tried to have the area officially designated with "Little Ethiopia" street signs similar to those used by the Los Angeles City Council to formally recognize a similar area in Los Angeles in 2002.

However, African Americans leaders in the community, citing the area's African American history, have opposed the sighs and so far they have not been approved.


Editor's Note: This article was first published  on Thursday, June 13, 2013. From time to time we will re-post articles of great importance.