Washington DC

  • DC Crime Bill Flap Repeats Congress's Refusal of Home Rule 55 Years Ago

    by Kyla Sommers

    In the period after the rebellions provoked by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Congress pushed "tough on crime" measures on the district even as the local government sought to reduce racial inequality in criminal justice. "Tough on Crime" won, with results that are still present today. 

  • Mark Russell, DC's Piano-Playing Political Satirist, Dies at 90

    Russell's humor was a feature of a Washington where politicos and the press were more likely to enjoy a few bipartisan laughs. Asked if he had any writers helping him, he replied “Oh, yes — 100 in the Senate and 435 in the House of Representatives.”

  • Why are the Dems Denying DC Self-Government?

    Historian (and HNN Alum) Kyla Sommers connects the recent Senate rejection of DC's local crime legislation to the history of suspicion of Black political power in the District. 

  • Black Family History Opens New Archives

    by Paula C. Austin, Catherine Nelson and Donna Payne Wilson

    Paula Austin's history of Black Washington depended on the knowledge and memorial work of generations of Black families, who have preserved history that is not kept in traditional archives. 

  • Landmark Building Embodies Past and Present of DC's Black Community

    The True Reformer Building in Washington is likely the first in the nation to be designed, funded, built and owned by African Americans as part of a comprehensive mission of economic and social self-reliance and uplift in the early 20th century. 

  • A Lost Archive of DC Life at Midcentury

    Rescued from a dumpster minutes before the arrival of the garbage truck, Ray Honda's photographs captured DC at the dawn of the civil rights era and the vibrant Black culture of the city. 

  • James Kirchick's "Secret City" Tells the Story of Closeted Washington

    by Samuel Clowes Huneke

    Samuel Huneke reviews a new history of the capital city's gay residents, which focuses on those in government and conservative politics and the gradual lessening of hostility to gays in public service, a choice that undermines the book's usefulness for understanding contemporary queer liberation issues. 

  • The Unique Local and National Role of Washington's NAACP Chapter

    Derek Gray examined the growth of the capital city's NAACP chapter, the first in the nation to have Black leadership, and one with the unique responsibility to monitor legislation in Congress affecting civil rights and racial justice. 

  • The DC Punk Scene Relied on the Local Latinx Community

    by Mike Amezcua

    "A big piece is missing from the stories told about punk and hardcore in the 1980s: Primarily, that marginalized spaces and communities in urban America gave a stage to the predominantly white subculture."

  • What You Think You Know About DC's Metro Skipping Georgetown is Wrong

    by Luke Mullins

    Zachary Schrag, author of the definitive book on the DC Metro system, says that the legend of affluent community opposition in the 1960s is a just-so story that ignores the realities transit planners faced, but does jibe with city residents' sense of issues of race, power, and influence. 

  • What the Pandemic Has Stolen from Black America

    Longtime DC activist Howard Croft died from COVID complications in June 2020. His surviving relatives found a trove of papers and artifacts about civil rights struggles in the District and beyond, but feel the lack of his voice to explain what the pieces mean. 

  • Thirty Years after Mount Pleasant Erupted, a Push for Better Treatment Persists

    by Mike Amezcua

    Central American refugees living in Washington's Mount Pleasant neighborhood had fled US-backed repression but found harsh treatment by immigration authorities and local police. In 1991 frustration erupted. Today, the unrest still raises questions about citizenship and belonging.