• Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins wears a bandana as she crawls up the U.S. Capitol steps on her hands and knees. On her left is a man bending over and on her right a woman moves up the stairs on her back. All three protesters wear matching light blue shirts from the ADAPT organization. In front of them are media personnel with cameras and microphones recording the protest. ​​​​​[Photo Credit: Associated Press]
    Civil Rights
     
     
    When Congressional delay jeopardized the Americans with Disabilities Act, protesters responded with a powerful demonstration on the Capitol steps.
  • The Peacock Room (Source: Wikipedia, used via CC BY-SA 2.0)
    Art History
     
     
    When the Smithsonian dragged its feet, Teddy Roosevelt stepped in to secure one of the world greatest art collections for the nation.
  • Frank Kameny marches with campaign volunteers
    LBGT Rights
     
     
    In 1971 Washington’s leading LGBT activist became the first openly gay man to run for Congress. In just a two month campaign, Frank Kameny put gay rights on D.C.'s political agenda- and made them stick.
  • Map of Prince William County, Virginia illustrating the proposed location of Disney's America (orange) in relation to the town of Haymarket (below the park in yellow) and the Manassas National Battlefield Park (to the right in green). [Source: Wikimedia Commons]
    Disney’s America
     
     
    Disney's controversial plans for a theme park in Prince William County led officials to question whether the dreams that you wish really do come true.
A white rectangular poster depicts a message handwritten by a Gallaudet student during the “Deaf President Now” protests. “To Board of Trustees” is written at the top of the poster followed by an image of a coiled red snake. Below the snake is a statement in capital letters that reads “Don’t tread on Gallaudet we want a deaf presidents now and demand four things. Deaf never give up.”

Bet on Gallaudet

Against the backdrop of the city, Gallaudet University students, faculty, and alumni transformed their campus protest into a national fight for civil rights, refusing to accept anything less than a “Deaf President Now.” 

The First Sting

Lt. Robert Arscott and the Operation Sting team sit amid stolen goods

In 1976 D.C. police dressed as cartoon Mafiosos and bought millions in stolen goods from local thieves. They called it "Operation Sting," and soon police across the country were launching "sting operations" of their own. But not everyone was so enamored with the tactic, especially the communities it was being used to target.

The Saengerbund Clubhouse: Parties, Concerts, and Bowling

“Washington Sängerbund in 1862.” https://www.saengerbund.org/history.html

The Washington Saengerbund was officially established on April 20th, 1851, and has gone on to become the longest enduring German singing society in the District. From 1874 to 1893, the society met above Charles “Baldy” Dismer’s restaurant at 708 K St. NW in Mount Vernon Square. During that time, the organization enjoyed exponential growth, consisting of nearly 500 members both active and passive by 1894. This influx of members created an evident need for the society to have its own clubhouse, and this dream became a reality in November 1893 when the Saengerbund purchased a house at 314 C Street NW, which would become the site of many extravagent parties, concerts, and bowling matches for the next 27 years.

1898 pen-and-ink drawing of a periodical cicada's life cycle

Brood X in the Eighteenth-Century Headlines

As a historian, seeing the media “buzz” surrounding cicadas makes me wonder how our ancestors reacted to their periodical swarms. Who were the first people to realize what was going on? Did they understand the seventeen-year cycle? Were they afraid, curious, or unbothered? As I suspected, Washington-area locals have been fascinated by Brood X for a very long time. 

The First Delegate

Norton Chipman

A century before Walter Fauntroy and Julius Hobson competed for the modern District Delegate seat, another man held the seat. His election and the eventual elimination of his seat are a lesser known part of the history of race and democracy in the District.

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