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Jim Vitarello interview part 1, 2022-05-21

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc049_03_01.mp3

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2022-05-21


Biographical / Historical

Jim Vitarello came to D.C. to study law at the George Washington University, where he received his JD in 1969. He subsequently worked in the Office of the General Counsel at HUD and then became the executive director of the D.C. Public Interest Research Group, a Ralph Nader affiliate organization. He conducted two major studies about the impact of redlining by banks in the District of Columbia. His findings were featured in the Washington Post and cited by the Senate Banking Committee as part of its passage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in 1975 and the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977. He also served as director of the D.C. Residential Mortgage Commission, the D.C. Neighborhood Reinvestment Commission, the National Commission on Neighborhoods, and later as Community Development Specialist at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Subsequently, he served as Senior Housing Specialist at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for 23 years.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes

Language of Materials



In the first part of his interview, Jim Vitarello talks about his background, his birth in Italy and Catholic upbringing in New York, and how he came to live in Adams Morgan in 1975. He reflects on how Adams Morgan was impacted by the King riots and on the character of the neighborhood in the 1970s. He discusses his involvement in housing policy, including conducting several redlining studies that showed how banks were not lending to low-income families in predominantly Black neighborhoods in D.C. He ties the local housing advocacy in Adams Morgan to the national movement around the Community Reinvestment Act.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001