In 1968, nine members of the Catholic Faith entered a Selective Services office in the sleepy town of Catonsville, Maryland. They grabbed hundreds of draft files from the office and took them to the parking lot below, where they burned the files with homemade napalm. These people, known as the Catonsville Nine, represented one small part of the Catholic Left movement, yet became known nationwide for their action and commitment to their beliefs.
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.”
In July of 1978, thousands of Native American demonstrators arrived in the capital to protest eleven pieces of legislation, and raise awareness about issues faced by Indigenous peoples. This was the end of a 3,000 mile journey known as the Longest Walk.
Those who travelled into the District in the early part of May could enjoy a rock concert, good food, and plenty of protesting. In May 1971, the culmination of months of anti-Vietnam protesting took hold of D.C., when thousands of young Americans attempted to block traffic, execute sit-ins, and make their voices heard.
On Aug. 24, 1973, about 20 D.C. Jewish school children gathered around the Soviet Embassy holding onto basketballs. It was around noon, and they were getting ready to bounce the balls just loud enough for Soviet officials to hear. But they weren't there to play; they were there to stage a political protest.
The price of public transportation in D.C. is rising and people are angry. Although this statement could accurately describe the present time, let’s turn back the clock to 1965.
D.C. Transit had just announced plans to raise bus fares and one man wasn’t having it. This man was Marion Barry, who would go on to become mayor of D.C., serving four terms. But Barry wasn’t mayor yet. He was a relatively new resident in D.C., having moved here to open up a local chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Barry saw the bus company’s raised rates as a direct hit to low income people in the District, who were mostly African American.
By 1952, every team in the National Football League had African-American players... except one. Washington Redskins (now Commanders) team founder and owner George Preston Marshall refused to integrate and dragged his feet for ten more years until his hand was forced.
You might not immediately associate roller coasters with racial equality, but more than three years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington, Maryland’s Glen Echo Park was a focal point of the Civil Rights Movement. It made sense: since its opening in 1899, Glen Echo had been the premier amusement park for white Washingtonians. The park featured a number of modern roller coasters, a miniature railway, a Ferris wheel, an amphitheater, a pool: everything and more that other parks provided.