DC

"Wake-up alarm to the nation"

Though he was the grandson of a Klansman, Bob Zellner realized at a young age that he didn't agree with segregation. As a young man, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and became the first white southerner to be a SNCC Field Secretary. In a time of high tensions, particularly in the Deep South, Zellner and his wife Dorothy held their ground as supporters of black freedom and desegregation. They traveled from Danville, Virginia for the March on Washington. Years later, Zellner remembered the experience.

"The thing that we were most afraid of was the March would be a bust."

On the days leading up to the March on Washington, buses from every direction poured into the District of Columbia. Culie Vick Kilimanjaro and her husband John Marshall Kilimanjaro came from Greensboro, North Carolina. No one knew exactly what to expect prior to the March. Many feared violence. Many feared that no one would show up and the March would be a bust. Thankfully neither of those things came to pass. The March was a great success thanks to the bravery of people like the Kilimanjaros. Read their recollections after the jump.

March on Washington Anniversary Events

August 28th marks the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the watershed moments in American History and the Civil Rights struggle. On August 28, 1963 over 250,000 marchers peacefully demonstrated in the nation's capital under the mantra of "jobs and freedom" for all Americans regardless of skin color. The march is widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

To commemorate the 1963 March, there will be two different marches through the streets of Washington in the coming days. On Saturday, August 24 at 8am, the National Action Network is organizing a rally with Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III at the Lincoln Memorial. Following the rally, participants will walk en-masse to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. On Wednesday, August 28 at 8am, the Center For the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws is organizing a procession from 600 New Jersey Ave. NW to the Lincoln Memorial.

In addition to these marches, there will be many other celebrations happening around town to mark the anniversary. We've listed a few of the larger ones after the jump. For more, check out The Root's Guide to March on Washington Celebrations and the 50th Anniversary Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom website. Hope that you can take part in one or more of the events!

Recreating Christian Heurich's Pre-Prohibition Lager

It's DC Beer Week and there are a lot of interesting activities going on around town where you can enjoy some great craft beer. It's a cool annual event, but not normally something that we would cover on Boundary Stones. But, thanks to the Heurich House Museum, DC Brau and local homebrewer Mike Stein, this year's beer week is also a celebration of local history!

Check out our new video for the story!

Impressions of Washington: “An overgrown, tattered village”

Bryon Sunderland portrait

Not surprisingly, our nation’s capital has undergone some pretty radical changes since its beginning. One hundred and sixty years ago, the landscape of the National Mall and surrounding streets looked vastly different than it does today. We’re talking an armory, one museum, the Washington Monument, and not much else.

Speaking to the Historical Society in 1901, Presbyterian minister and Chaplain of the Senate Byron Sunderland described the Washington he remembered in the mid-19th century.

The Petticoat War

You’d better believe there have been "mean girls" since the beginning of time, or at least the early 1800s. Rigid social structures dictated the behavior of Jacksonian high society; it was the height of rudeness, for instance, if a lady did not return your call. However, in a social war that engulfed the beginning of Andrew Jackson’s presidency, society’s rules were discarded and the national government ground to a halt all for one woman: the beautiful and intelligent Margaret “Peggy” O’Neil.

July Deals: Free Admission to Three DC Museums

 

D.C. is by far the best city in the country for museum lovers. Although most of them are free to the public, a few have rather high admission fees. Luckily, for the month of July only, a few of the more costly museums are offering free admission. And who doesn’t like free stuff?!

This past Saturday, I headed to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment to take advantage of the awesome July deal. All you have to do is download Google’s Field Trip app and show the cashier the selected page. Simple as that.

The Strange Rock of Georgetown: Colonel Ninian Beall

Known by some as the founder of Georgetown, Colonel Ninian Beall was quite an interesting fellow. With fierce red hair he stood 6 feet 7 inches tall and he lived almost 3 times longer than he should have. (The average life expectancy was 35 and he lived to be 92). What a champ.

Born in 1625 in Scotland, Beall spent the first 27 years of his life living out scenes from an adventure film. While fighting in the Scottish Army, Beall was taken prisoner at the Battle of Dunbar and landed in a London prison. Shortly after, he and 149 others were shipped to the island of Barbados in the West Indies to live as indentured servants. Doesn’t sound much like the Caribbean vacations we think of nowadays.

A Roma Americae stone. (Source: National Park Service)

The Mystery of the Pope's Stone

On the evening of March 5, 1854, nine men associated with the Know-Nothing party snuck up to the base of the Washington Monument and made off with a rather hefty hunk of stone. The men carried the stone to a boat waiting on the tidal basin, smashed it into pieces and dumped it in the middle of the Potomac.

You may be curious as to why they (or we!) were interested in an old — and probably really heavy — rock. Where exactly did this stone come from and why was it such a big deal when it was stolen and destroyed? Maybe it was the fact that it came from the Pope... Just a guess.

All the Single Ladies

Around the turn of the century, Washington, D.C. had a distinct lack of single men. In any era before, the women of the city might have resigned themselves to the life of the scorned “old maid” in a corset and lived a boring existence with their parents before finally dying. But not these ladies. No, starting in the late 1890s, many women in the capital city began to push for a more open society, pursuing higher education, living alone, and managing their own affairs. This was the dawn of the Bachelor Girl age.

Bachelor girls were a point of controversy in the Washington press. Some columnists were shocked and appalled with these independent ladies’ leaps into the future.

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