Washington, DC has had a long history of cooperatives. In part, this was because African Americans have sought to form cooperatives as a way create economic and political freedom. As Jessica Gordon Nembhard has argued, “African Americans have used cooperative economic development as a strategy in the struggle for economic stability and independence.” In 1907,W.E.B. Dubois spoke in favor of a wide range of cooperatives and alternative economic institutions. Cooperatives would remain a key institution in the toolbox of African American social movements. These attempts were supported in DC by people like Arthur Capper, a Kansas senator who headed the District of Columbia Committee, and Cornelius “Cornbread” Givens, a national advocate for cooperatives, who moved to DC when Marion Barry became mayor. Washington, DC remains a central location for these social movements and thus would have a rich cooperative history.
Johanna Bockman has been slowly writing an evolving history of DC cooperatives. Here is the newest version of this history. (Earlier versions: http://tinyurl.com/lck8j5d and https://coopdc.org/evolving-history-of-dc-cooperatives/)
If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to contact Johanna Bockman: firstname.lastname@example.org