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At center of changing D.C., requiem for a funeral home that catered to African Americans

Sep 05, 2019 - Washington Post Blogs

The thick, dusty ledgers were scattered about the cluttered office, 18 of them, their pages filled with neat script documenting the deaths of thousands of black Washingtonians over the course of a half-century.

Open a volume to page 123 and there is Lawrence Monroe Ryles, 39, a "colored" postal worker who, on Sept. 13, 1947, was "run over by a train." Turn the pages and find Melvin Bailey, of 1406 Third Street NW, a 6-year-old who died the same year of meningitis. Deep inside another book ...