ABSTRACTTwo rivers are prominent in Washington, DC. Once, both were pristine,but with the city’s growth, they became badly polluted. The Potomac Riverhas since been transformed from a “national disgrace” to “Washington’s bestkept secret,” while the Anacostia River remains a “national embarrassment.”Events suggest that racial inequality and class differences shaped many of thedecisions and policies that led to the current environmental inequality. One ofthe major influences has been uneven federal funding and efforts forrestoration.I begin with a brief history of funding efforts for each river. I then showhow unequal environmental burden is a national problem and give a briefhistory of environmental inequality, using three case studies from differentparts of the country.Next, I review the history of neighborhood formation around each river,showing how historic preservation and city revitalization policies separatedblacks and whites. By 1960, the areas around the Anacostia River had beenturned into predominately communities of color, while the areas around thePotomac River had become predominately white communities. A GeographicInformation Systems (GIS) analysis supports these findings with maps thatshow a clustering of non-whites and poor around the Anacostia River for 1970and 1980.