Why Is There Such A Large Ethiopian Population In The Washington Region?

Ethiopian In Washington Region
Washington’s Ethiopian community gathers during the annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring.

April 21, 2016 – The Washington region is home to the largest concentration of Ethiopians outside of Africa. Ethiopians in D.C. began opening shops and restaurants in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights and, when rents got too expensive, the Shaw area. Today the largest concentration of Ethiopian businesses is in Silver Spring, Maryland, and to a lesser extent, Alexandria, Virginia.

But when did they get here? And how did Washington become home to “Little Ethiopia” and “Little Eritrea?” That was the question listener Ben Weingrod asked as part of WAMU 88.5’s What’s With Washington project.

In a way, the answer for the first wave of emigres starts with Detroit.

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