Washington, D.C. is not just a beautiful, modern, and cosmopolitan city. It is the capital of the United States of America. America is the country of my birth. D.C. is a city that is part of no state, but it is the federal District of Columbia. The suburbs and other communities surrounding Virginia and Maryland are near Washington, D.C. Its population is about 672,228 people with almost 69 square miles of land. Washington, D.C. means so much to so many people. Full of history, culture, and architecture, I respect the people of D.C. too. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies and the headquarters of many international organizations, professional associations, etc. The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has a population of over 6 million people. That is the sixth largest metropolitan statistical area in America. It is very common for commuters from surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs to come into D.C., which increases the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. National museums and monuments are hallmarks of the cultural motif of Washington D.C. Many field trips take students into Washington, D.C. during Spring Break and during other times of the year too. Right now, D.C. has a locally elected mayor and a 13 member council which has governed the District since 1973. Yet, the Congress has the majority of the power over the city and it can overturn local laws. The Twenty Third Amendment to the United States Constitution (as ratified in 1961) allows Washington, D.C. to receive three electoral votes in the Presidential elections.
I love geography a great deal. To understand a quick way to know where monuments and other locations are in Washington, D.C. is to find the Washington Monument first. Directly north of the Washington Monument is the White House. Left of the Washington Monument is the Lincoln Memorial. South of the Washington Monument is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is found southwest from the Washington Monument too. Right of the Washington Monument is that National Mall where protests have famously happened for years and decades. Directly to the right of the Washington Monument is also the United States Capitol (which has the Congress or the legislative body of the federal government). To the right of the U.S. Capitol is the Supreme Court of the United States, the Library of Congress, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Northeast of the Washington Monument is the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is found slightly northeast of the Washington Monument. Howard University is found right near McMillan Reservoir and on Georgia Avenue NW (or to the Northeast of Downtown D.C). Georgetown University is found near the Potomac River Northwest of Downtown D.C. George Washington University is found directly north from the Lincoln Memorial. Washington, D.C. is divided into four quadrants of unequal area. They are called Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW). The axes bounding the quadrants radiate from the U.S. Capitol building. Washington, D.C. is growing in population and it’s known for its beautiful row houses. So, Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city with a lot of wonderful people. Consequently, we cherish the value of human dignity and the richness of human diversity. Its arts, culture, and history are certainly dynamic and interesting. The city’s motto is Justitia Omnibus or Justice for All in Latin. That is the same principle that we’re all fighting for today. From the White House to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington D.C. is filled with great historical plus cultural significance. To understand America itself is to understand the great city of Washington, D.C.
The first people of Washington, D.C. were the Native Americans. Native Americans settled in the D.C. area for at least 4,000 years ago on the Anacostia River. The Anacostia River travels in the southeastern area of Washington, D.C. The area of Washington, D.C. was inhabited by the Algonquian speaking people called the Nacotchtank. Early European exploration of the region took place in the 17th century including explorations by Captain John Smith in 1608. During this time, there were the peoples of the Patawomeck (who were loosely affiliated with the Powhatan) and the Doeg who lived in the Virginia side. They lived on the Theodore Roosevelt Island too. The tribe of the Piscataway (also known as Conoy) tribe of the Algonquians who lived in the Maryland side. The Nacotchtank who lived in D.C. were affiliated with the Conoy. Another village was found between Little Falls and Georgetown. The English fur trader Henry Fleet documented a Nachotchtank village called Tohongs on the site of the present day Georgetown. The first European colonial landowners in the present day District of Columbia were George Thompson and Thomas Gerrard, who were granted the Blue Plains tract in 1662, along with Saint Elizabeth, and other tracts in Anacostia, Capitol Hill, and other areas down to the Potomac River in the following years. Thompson sold his Capitol Hill properties in 1670, including Duddington Manor, to Thomas Notley. The Duddington property was handed down over the generations to Daniel Carroll, of Duddington. As European settlers arrived, they clashed with the Native Americans over grazing rights. In 1697, Maryland authorities built a fort within what is now the District of Columbia. In that same year, the Conoy relocated to the west, near what is now The Plains, Virginia, and in 1699 they moved again, to Conoy Island near Point of Rocks, Maryland.
The Carroll family of Maryland had a relationship with Georgetown too. Daniel Carroll lived from July 22, 1730 to July 5, 1796. He was one of the Founders and a well-known Roman Catholic of Washington, D.C. The colonial Catholic families have a great influence in the region. His younger brother was Archbishop John Carroll (1735-1815) and he was the first Roman Catholic bishop in America (from 1790). Archbishop John Carroll was the Archbishop of Baltimore and he was the founder of Georgetown University. Their cousin Charles Carroll of Carrolton (1737-1832) signed the Declaration of Independence. Charles Carroll was an active supporter of the Revolutionary War. Carrollton was the 10,000-acre estate in Frederick County, Maryland, that Charles Carroll's father had given him on his return to America from his education in Europe. Back during the 1600’s, many Catholics couldn’t hold public office or vote, even in heavily Catholic Maryland. Daniel Carroll was one of the five men to sign both the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (1778) and the United States Constitution (1787). Daniel Carroll was a planter and a slaveholder. He owned a lot of land. He gradually supported the Patriot cause, and was a friend plus ally of George Washington. He also wanted a strong central government and he fought in the Constitutional Convention for a government directly responsible to the people of the country. Out of gratitude for John Carroll's support during the war, George Washington gave a modified version of the seal of the United States to the institution that is now Georgetown University. That seal is still in use.
Georgetown then and now is a heavily Jesuit-influenced University. They educate many world leaders. Jesuit Georgetown University, whose seal proclaims a Roman eagle grasping the world and the cross, State and Roman Catholic Church with a banner in its beak, "Utraque Unum,"-"Both Together." Of course, I believe in the separation of church and state as no church has the right to dominate the human conscience of any person in an authoritarian, oppressive way. Even the early mayor of the District of Columbia was Carroll's nephew Robert Brent. Daniel Carroll provided land for the Capitol and Charles Carroll as War Commissioner, controlling all the executive duties of the military department, with its ammunition supplies of cannon balls, shot, kettles, spikes and nails to the army. John Carroll was a close friend of Franklin, even living in Franklin's house. District of Columbia donor and Capitol Commissioner Daniel Carroll was close to George Washington. Georgetown was established in 1751. It came about when the Maryland legislature purchased sixty acres of land for the town from George Gordon and George Beall at the price of £280, while Alexandria, Virginia was founded in 1749. Georgetown is found at the fall line. Georgetown was the farthest point upstream to which oceangoing boats could navigate the Potomac River. Gordon had constructed a tobacco inspection house along the Potomac in ca. 1745. Warehouses, wharves, and other buildings were added, and the settlement rapidly grew. The Old Stone House, which was located in Georgetown, was built in 1765, and it is the oldest standing building in the District. It didn’t take long before Georgetown grew into a thriving port. It facilitated trade and shipments of tobacco including other goods from colonial Maryland.
The United States capital at first was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia was the city where the First and Second Continental Congress met followed by the Congress of Confederation upon gaining independence. Back in June of 1783, an angry group of soldiers came into Independence Hall. They wanted payment for their service during the American Revolutionary War. Congress had requested that John Dickinson or the governor of Pennsylvania call up the militia to defend Congress from attacks by the protesters. This action was called the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783. Dickinson sympathized with the protesters and refused to remove them from Philadelphia. As a result of these events, Congress was forced to flee to Princeton, New Jersey on June 21, 1783. Dickinson’s failure to protect the institution of the national government was discussed the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. The delegates therefore agreed in Article One, Section 8 of the United States Constitution to give the Congress the power:
“…To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings…”
From James Madison’s Federalist No. 43, he wanted the national capital to be distinct from the states, so the nation can have its own safety and maintenance. The Constitution didn’t have a specific site for the location of the new District. Many state legislatures (from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia) have issued proposals for the location of the national capital. Northern states wanted a capitol in one of their locations. Conversely, Southern states desired that the capital to be located closer to their agricultural interests. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton agreed that the selection of the area would be around the Potomac River (which was the boundary between Maryland and Virginia, which were both slave states back then). Hamilton proposed that the new federal government would take over debts accrued by the states during the Revolutionary War. Yet, by 1790, Southern states had largely repaid their overseas debts. Hamilton’s plan would require Southern states to assume a share of Northern debt. Jefferson and Madison agreed to this proposal and in return secured a Southern location for the federal capital. On December 23, 1788, the Maryland General Assembly passed an act. This act allowed Maryland to cede land for the federal district. The Virginia General Assembly followed suit on December 3, 1789.
The signing of the federal Residence Act on July 6, 1790, mandated that the site for the permanent seat of government, "not exceeding ten miles square" (100 square miles), be located on the "river Potomac, at some place between the mouths of the Eastern-Branch and Connogochegue.” The “Eastern-Branch” is known today as the Anacostia River. The Connogocheque (or Concocheague Creek) empties into the Potomac River upstream near Williamsport and Hagerstown, Maryland. The Residence Act limited to the Maryland side of the Potomac River the location of land that commissioners appointed by the President could acquire for federal use. The Residence Act authorized the President to select the actual location of the site. Yet, President George Washington wanted to include the town of Alexandria, Virginia within the federal district. In order to make this happen, the boundaries of the federal district would need to encompass an area on the Potomac that was downstream on the mouth of the Eastern Branch.
The U.S. Congress amended the Residence Act in 1791 to permit Alexandria's inclusion in the federal district. However, some members of Congress had recognized that George Washington and his family owned property in and near Alexandria, which was just seven miles (11 km) upstream from Mount Vernon, Washington's home and plantation. The amendment therefore contained a provision that prohibited the "erection of the public buildings otherwise than on the Maryland side of the river Potomac.” The final site was just below the fall line on the Potomac or the furthest inland point navigable by boats. It included the ports of Georgetown and Alexandria. Many landowners objected to the plan like David Burns. He owned a large 650 acre tract of land in the district. So, on March 30, 1791, Burns and 18 other landowners relented and signed an agreement with Washington. This allowed allowed the landowners to be compensation for any land taken for public use. Half of the remaining land would be distributed among the proprietors and the other half to the public.
President George Washington followed by the Residence Act by appointing three commissioners (who were Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart) in 1791. The commissioners’ jobs were to supervise the planning, design, and acquisition of property in the federal district and the capital city. By September 1791, the three commissioners agreed to name the federal district as “The Territory of Columbia,” and the federal city as the “City of Washington.” Major Andrew Ellicott worked under the supervision of the 3 commissioners and at the direction of President Washington. So, Andrew Ellicott was assisted by his brothers Benjamin and Joseph Ellicott, Isaac Roberdeau, Isaac Briggs, George Fenwick, and an African American, Benjamin Banneker to survey the borders of the Territory of Columbia with Virginia and Maryland during 1791 and 1792. The survey started at Jones Point, which was a cape located at the confluence of Hunting Creek and the Potomac River south of Alexandria. The survey team enclosed within a square an area containing the full 100 square miles (260 km2) that the Residence Act had authorized. Each side of the square was 10 miles (16 km) long. The axes between the corners of the square ran north–south and east–west. The center of the square is within the grounds of the Organization of American States headquarters west of the Ellipse. The survey team placed sandstone boundary markets at or near every mile point along the sides of the square. Many of these markers sill remain. The south cornerstone is at Jones Point. The west cornerstone is at the west corner of Arlington County, Virginia. The north cornerstone is south of East-West Highway near Silver Spring, Maryland or west of 16th Street. The east cornerstone is east of the intersection of Southern Avenue and Eastern Avenue.
The Plan of the City of Washington, D.C.
In early 1791, President Washington appointed Pierre Charles L’Enfant to create a plan for the new city in the area of the land at the center of the federal territory (that lay between the northeast shore of the Potomac River and the northwest shore of the Potomac's Eastern Branch). L'Enfant then designed in his "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of the United States..." the city's first layout, a grid centered on the United States Capitol, which would stand at the top of a hill (Jenkins Hill) on a longitude designated as 0,0°. The grid filled an area bounded by the Potomac River, the Eastern Branch (now named the Anacostia River), the base of an escarpment at the Atlantic Seaboard Fall Line along which a street (initially Boundary Street, now Florida Avenue) would later travel, and Rock Creek.
The North-south and east-west streets formed the grid. There were wider diagonal “grand avenues” which were later named after the states of the Union which crossed the grid. When these “grand avenues” crossed each other, L’Enfant placed open spaces in circles and plazas that were later named after famous or well-known Americans. L’Enfant broadest grand avenue was a 400 feet (or 122 meter) wide garden lined esplanade, which he expected to travel for about 1 mile along the east-west axis in the center of an area that the National Mall now occupies. There is the narrower avenue (or Pennsylvania Avenue) that connected the “Congress House” (the Capitol) with the “President’s house” (or the White House). Later on, Pennsylvania Avenue developed into the capital city’s present “grand avenue.” L’Enfant’s plan also included a system of canals, one of which would travel near the western side of the Capitol at the base of Jenkins Hill. To be filled in part by the waters of the Tiber Creek, the canal system would traverse the center of the city and would enter both the Potomac River and the Eastern Branch. On August 19, 1791, L’Enfant presented his plan to President George Washington. Yet, L'Enfant subsequently entered into a number of conflicts with the three commissioners and others involved in the enterprise.
During a particularly contentious period in February 1792, Andrew Ellicott informed the commissioners that L'Enfant had not arranged to have the city plan engraved and had refused to provide him with an original plan that L'Enfant was then holding. Ellicott, with the aid of his brother, Benjamin Ellicott, then revised the plan, despite L'Enfant's protests. Ellicott’s revisions realigned and straightened Massachusetts Avenue. It eliminated five short radial avenues and added two others. It removed several plazas and straightened the borders of the future Judiciary Square. Shortly thereafter, Washington dismissed L’Enfant. Ellicott gave the first version of his own plan to James Thakara and John Vallance of Philadelphia. John Vallance engraved, printed, and published it. This version was printed in March of 1792 and it was the first Washington city plan that received wide circulation. After L’Enfant departed, Ellicott continued the city survey in accordance with his revised plan. There are also larger and more detailed versions of which were also engraved, published, and distributed. As a result, Ellicott’s revisions became the basis for the capital city’s future development. In the year 1800, the seat of government was finally moved to the new city. By 1800, President Adams moved into the White House. The capitol moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. The United States Capitol building was constructed, Washington Navy Yard was established. Its population in 1800 was 14,093.
On February 27, 1801, the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 placed the District under the jurisdiction of Congress. The act also organized the unincorporated territory within the District into two counties: the County of Washington on the northeast bank of the Potomac, and the County of Alexandria on the southwest bank. On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as President. On May 3, 1802, the City of Washington was granted a municipal government consisting of a mayor appointed by the President of the United States.
Benjamin Latrobe was involved in the construction of the U.S. Capitol building and he was a Freemason. Latrobe was initiated in the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2, London from 1788. He served as Junior Warden from 1789-1790. Freemason Thomas Ustick Walter flanked the wings and the dome of the Capitol too. Freemason James Hoban was the architect of the White House. Many Greco-Roman paintings are found all over the Capitol building. There are images of Mercury, Minerva, etc. Also, the famous apotheosis image of Washington is there too. Apotheosis is a word meaning becoming a god, so the painting signifies Washington going into the realm of godhood or perfection, which is outright blasphemous in my view. The influence of Freemasonry and Rosurcianism pervade many places in America including Washington, D.C. President Bush said that he was fulfilling the "Ancient Hope" of the "New Order of the Ages." For centuries, Utopians wanted to establish the perfect society and some want Washington, D.C. to be the representation of the beginning of that process to create the Utopian world society (or the new world order as has been talked about by world leaders for a very long time). This information is increasingly being known by folks in our generation. As for me, I believe in independence of thought and liberty without Utopian visions. I believe in the liberation of the international proletariat and all people. Likewise, I don't believe in the creation of a new world order or the creation of global government. I believe in human sovereignty and justice for all.
There has been the 200th year anniversary of laying the cornerstone on the Capitol, which was held on September 18, 1993. Many Masons of many races were there to reenact the corn, wine, and oil ceremony. To the Masons, corn meant plenty, wine meant refreshment, and oil meant joy and gladness. George Washington was part of the first ritual and the Masonic George Washington Memorial is found in Alexandria, Virginia. Yet, we know that pagan religions and the ancient Mystery religions had such corn, wine, and oil rituals for thousands of years. Corn or grain in Hebrew is dagan. There is the word of Dagon (the images of Dagon have this god with fish scales on it. Baal is the son of Dagon). Freemasonry has been debated for years and centuries about its intentions and agenda. The William Morgan incident was about when William Morgan was murdered after revealing many secrets of Masonry. Also, one conspirator in the murder confessed that Masons were involved in William Morgan’s murder. In 1848, Henry L. Valance confessed to his part in the murder on his deathbed, a story recounted in chapter two of Reverend C. G. Finney's book The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry (1869). Morgan's evil murder caused a huge backlash against Freemasonry for spiritual and moral reasons during the 19th century. In fact, one password in one Masonic degree is Jahbulon (which is a mixtures of names for a deity). There is the Statue of Freedom with stars on top of the U.S. Capitol building. State Capitols nationwide have mysterious, arcane symbols too.
There are more information about the architecture of Washington, D.C. that deals with esoteric influences and Enlightenment philosophies. First, Secret Societies have always been part of American and world history. Many members of these organizations exist in D.C. One example is the Skulls and Bones secret society. Its secret initial ritual takes place in Yale University in a place called the Tomb (where people confess their deep secrets and are given a nickname). Its founders were William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft. It was created in 1832. Symbols exist all around Washington, D.C. locations. According to Dr. Robert Hieronimus (who is a member of Co-Masonry), there are multiple levels of meanings to symbols. Symbols reveal and conceal secrets or information. Many symbols pervade the landscape of D.C. One example is the Washington Monument. The architect of the Washington Monument was the Freemason Robert Mills. The Washington Monument also had a cornerstone Masonic ceremony before it was built back in July 4, 1848. Robert Mills wanted to show many Greco-Roman images around the monument, but George Perkins Marsh (who was an early environmentalist) caused the Monument to be just an obelisk. Marsh studied obelisks in Rome and in the Vatican where obelisks from Egypt were placed in Italy and throughout Europe. In Ancient Egypt, the obelisk represented the sun god Ra. It also in reference of a phallic image. Obelisks has a pyramid on top of it. There is not an exact North South parallel between the Washington Monument and the White House. Yet, there is the N-S parallel among the Washington Monument and the Masonic House of the Temple (which is the Scottish Rite headquarters in America). The Washington Monument was finished by the late 19th century. Freemason David Ovason wrote of his theory that the architecture of Washington, D.C. was influenced by the star Sirius. Sirius is talked about in the occult including in Freemasonry. Sirius is the Dog Star and the ancient Egyptians gave Sirius strong connotations since it was in the sky prominent during July and August (or in the peak of the summer season). Sirius is found in Masonic Lodges (33rd Degree Freemason Albert Pike praised Sirius as the Blazing Star in his Morals and Dogma book on pg. 486). Pike also wrote that: “The Sun and Moon…represent the tow grand principles…both shed their light upon their offspring the Blazing Star, or Horus…” (Morals and Dogma, pgs. 13-14). Some believe that the planet Venus is linked to the Pentagram image, because the planet Venus forms a Pentagram image during its travels around the Solar system after a certain period of time.
According to the Masonic scholar Rex Hutchins, here is his view on the Pentagram: “…is the symbol of the Divine in man…The five pointed star with a single point upward represents the Divine. It also symbolizes man for its five points allude to the five senses, the five members ((head, arms, and legs) and his five fingers on each hand, which signify the tokens that distinguish Masons…” He also wrote that the Pentagram: “…is the symbol of the Microcosm, the universe where humans dwell. Since the Pentagram which encloses the pentagram may be formed by connecting the five points of the human body, for many centuries the symbol was used to represent humanity in general…” This quotation is similar to the Hermetic maxim “as above, so below.” That means that which is manifested in the heavens is manifested in the Earth (i.e. a human being is a miniature version of the outer Universe). The Pentagram inverted is used in the Eastern Star organization as a logo too. Albert Pike talks about the Pentagram in the following terms: “….The Blazing Star in our Lodges, we have already said, represents Sirius, or Mercury, Guardian and Guide of Souls. Our Ancient English brethren also considered it an emblem of the Sun. In the old Lectures they said: ‘The Blazing Star or Glory in the centre refers to us that Grand Luminary the Sun, which enlightens the Earth, and by its genial influence dispenses blessings to mankind. It is also said in those lectures to be an emblem of Prudence. The word Prudentia means, in its original and fullest signification, Foresight: and accordingly the Blazing Star has been regarded as an emblem of Omniscience, or the All Seeing Eye, which to the Ancients was the Sun.” (Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, pg. 506). Also, much of the esoteric paintings in the Library of Congress has been influenced by Elihu Vedder. In the Library of Congress building, esoteric statues and paintings exist. Also, some words there exist there like: “The true Shekinah is Man.” Of course, I don't agree with that. The Shekinah glory belongs to the Most High God alone.
Sirius rises in the east in Egyptian latitudes. So, Davis Ovason in his book believes that the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence saw Sirius high in the sky. on pages 4-5, Ovason tells us that this star, Spica, is really Sirius, "represented in hieroglyphics that resembled an obelisk and a five-pointed star.” David Ovason tells us something about the Declaration of Independence: "These [Astrological] computations clearly show that on the day the Declaration of Independence was agreed in Philadelphia, the Sun was on Sirius." [Page 138]. Sirius according to Pike is referred in these terms: "Isis was aided in her search [for the slain body of Osiris] by Anubis, in the shape of a dog. He was Sirius, or the Dog-Star, the friend and counselor of Osiris, and the inventor of language, grammar, astronomy, surveying, arithmetic, music, and medical science; the first maker of laws; and who taught the worship of the Gods, and the building of Temples." [Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, p. 376, Teachings of the 24th Degree, Prince of the Tabernacle]. According to the occult writer M. Temple Richmond, writing in his book, Sirius, p. 29:
"The Euphrateans, Persians, Phoenicians, and the peoples of Vedic India called Sirius, The Leader, while the Romans knew Sirius as Janitor Lethacus, or Keeper of Hell, both of which titles are perhaps reminiscent of Anubis, the Egyptian god who led the deceased through the underworld. The Egyptians themselves reverenced Sirius under several other names as well, including Sothis, Sothi, Sept, Sepet, Sopdet, Sot, and Sed." David Ovason writes the following information: “…Had you stood on this water-edge of Foggy Bottom on April 3, 1791 ... you would have witnessed remarkable event -- one which seems to have been involved in the magic of the building of Washington, D.C. On the morning of that day...there would be an eclipse, when the Sun ... would be blacked out by the body of the Moon…The eclipse of 1791 was in Aries -- a certain portent that the destiny of Washington, D.C., would be filled with pioneering endeavor and excessive (not to say belligerent) enthusiasms ... the augury of that morning ... was remarkable. The Sun and Moon were not the only pair in Aries at that time: no fewer than five of the known planets were in that zodiacal Ram -- the sign which favors brave undertakings. Such cosmic curiosities are a sign that the city had begun in a kind of dream -- as in a vision." [Page 6-7].
The Utopian vision of many occultists and political leaders have been written about by Dr. James H. Billington’s “Fire in the Minds of Man” book. He wrote about the Pythagorean Passion where many occultists according to Dr. Billington believed followed politics in order to achieve their goals. David Ovason (who wrote about the Pythagorean Y and Virgo) believes that the city of Washington, D.C. was built according to specific star or constellation patterns. David Ovason also wrote in his book entitled, “The Secret Architecture of our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.” more information and his book has been praised by C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33 Degree, Sovereign Grand Commander, The Supreme Council, 33 Degree (Mother Council of the World), Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., Washington, D.C. David Ovason’s theory is very interesting and we know for a fact that cities in America were influenced by many Freemasons, etc.
The War of 1812
The War of 1812 was between America and Britain. During the War of 1812, British forces conducted an expedition between August 19 and 29, 1814. The British forces took and burned the capital city of Washington, D.C. On August 24, the British routed an American militia, which had gathered at Bladensburg, Maryland to protect the capital in the Battle of Bladensburg. The militia then abandoned Washington without a fight. President James Madison and the remainder of the U.S. government fled the capital shortly before the British arrived. The British then entered and burned the capital during the most notably destructive raid of the war. British troops set fire to the capital's most important public buildings, including the Presidential Mansion (the White House), the United States Capitol, the Arsenal, the Navy Yard, the Treasury Building, and the War Office, as well as the north end of the Long Bridge, which crossed the Potomac River into Virginia. The British spared the Patent Office and the Marine Barracks. Dolley Madison was the first lady during that time. She or members of the house staff rescued the Lansdowne Portrait (or a full length painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart) as the British approached the Mansion. The War of 1812 ended with America having a victory miraculously. After the war, the B&O opened a rail line from Baltimore to Washington in 1835. Passenger traffic on the Washington Branch had increased by the 1850's, as the company opened a large station in 1851 on New Jersey Avenue NW, just north of the Capitol. More railroad development continued to exist after the Civil War (with the new B& O line called the Metropolitan Branch). That line connected Washington to the west and the introduction of competition from Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in the 1870’s. By 1907, Union Station opened as the city’s central terminal.
Early 19th Century
There was the District of Columbia retrocession too. The D.C. retrocession was about the event to return part of the land that was once ceded to the federal government of the Union States (for the purpose of creating the national capital). As early as the 1830’s, many people in Virginia wanted the southern portion of the District to unite with Virginia. Some wanted this for many reasons. One is that Alexandria’s economy stagnated when they are competing with the port of Georgetown, D.C. Many people of Congress and local federal officials lived in the Georgetown area. The Residence Act banned federal offices from locating in Virginia. Alexandria was a known center of slave trading. There was talk during the 19th century of the abolition of slavery in the nation’s capital. Alexandria’s economy was unfortunately tied to slavery, but it was good news that slavery would eventually be outlawed in D.C. There was an active abolition movement in Virginia, and the pro-slavery forces held a slim majority in the Virginia General Assembly. (Eighteen years later, in the Civil War, the most anti-slavery counties would secede from Virginia to form West Virginia). If Alexandria and Alexandria County were retroceded to Virginia, they would provide two new pro-slavery representatives. The Alexandria Canal, which connected the C&O Canal to Alexandria, needed repairs. The federal government was reluctant to fund. Also, during the early 1800’s, Alexandria’s residents lost representation and the right to vote at any level of government.
There was a referendum about what to do. After the referendum, Alexandria County’s citizens petitioned Congress and Virginia returned the area to Virginia. By an act of Congress on July 9, 1846, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the area south of the Potomac (39 square miles; 101 km²) was returned, or "retroceded," to Virginia effective in 1847. The retrocessed land was called Alexandria County, Virginia. It included a portion of the independent city of Alexandria and all of Arlington County, the successor to Alexandria County. A large portion of the retroceded land near the river was an estate of George Washington Parke Custis. He supported the retrocession and helped develop the charter in the Virginia General Assembly for the County of Alexandria, Virginia. The estate (Arlington Plantation) would be passed on to his daughter (the wife of Robert E. Lee), and would eventually become Arlington National Cemetery.
The area of D.C. belonging to Virginia was returned to Virginia in 1846. The land was about 31 square miles. So, the District became 69 square miles, which was originally ceded by Maryland. Today, D.C. is still 69 square miles.
The Antebellum Period
The new city of the District of Columbia has grown. It relied on Congress to develop its capital improvement and economic development initiatives. Yet, Congress lacked the loyalty of the city’s residents. So, Congress was reluctant to provide support to D.C. Congress did send funding for the Washington City Canal in 1809 after earlier private financing efforts were unsuccessful. Construction started in 1810 and the canal opened in 1815 connecting the Anacostia River with the Tiber Creek. The construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) started in Georgetown in 1828. Construction westward through Maryland existed slowly. The first section from Georgetown to Seneca, Maryland opened in 1831. In 1833, an extension was built from Georgetown eastward, connecting to the City Canal. The C&O reached Cumberland, Maryland in 1850, although by that time it was obsolete as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) had arrived in Cumberland in 1842. The canal had financial problems, and plans for further construction to reach the Ohio River were abandoned.
The Civil War
Back in 1859, a portion of the Washington Aqueduct was opened. It provided drinking water to city residents and reduced their dependence on well water. The aqueduct was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. It or the aqueduct was opened for full operation in 1864, using the Potomac River as its source. Back then during the Civil War, Washington, D.C. remained a small city of a few thousand residents. Washington, D.C. during the American Civil War was a huge logistics, civilian, and military headquarters of the Union forces. The Union War Department wanted to protect D.C. It was virtually deserted during the summertime (because of the weather) until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The U.S. Capitol was not finished as its dome was in construction during the time. In February 1861, the Peace Congress, a last-ditch attempt by delegates from 21 of the 34 states to avert what many saw as the impending Civil War, met in the city's Willard Hotel. The strenuous effort failed and the War started in April 1861. The Confederates in April 1861 wanted to conquer D.C., so to end the war quickly and have “independence.” Many Union volunteer regiments and artillery batteries from the North came into the city of D.C. Washington, D.C. only had 75,800 people by 1860. President Abraham Lincoln created the Army of the Potomac to defend the federal capital and thousands of soldiers came into the area. There was a significant expansion of the federal government to administer the war and its legacies, such as veterans' pensions—led to notable growth in the city's population – from 75,000 in 1860 to 132,000 in 1870.
Slavery was abolished throughout the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862, which was eight months before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The law that banned slavery in D.C. was the Compensated Emancipation Act. That is why the city became a popular place for freed slaves to congregate. Most Washington citizens supported the Union, but some had apathy and sympathized with the South. The 1860 Census put the population at just over 75,000 persons, but by 1870 the District population had grown to nearly 132,000. Warehouses, supply depots, ammunition dumps, and factories were established to provide and distribute materiel for the Federal armies, and civilian workers and contractors flocked to the city. The power of the federal government grew massively during these times.
Throughout the war, the city was defended by a ring of military forts. These forts mostly deterred the Confederate army attacking. There was an exception like the Battle of Fort Stevens, which took place in July 1864. This was when Union soldiers repelled troops under the command of Confederate General Jubal A. Early. This battle was only the second time that a U.S. President came under enemy fire during wartime when Lincoln visited the fort to observe the fighting. (The first had been James Madison during the War of 1812). Meanwhile, over 20,000 sick and injured Union soldiers were treated in an array of permanent and temporary hospitals in the capital. By 1865 the defenses of Washington were most stout, amply covering both land and sea approaches. At war's end the now 37 miles (60 km) of line included at least 68 forts, over 20 miles (32 km) of rifle pits, and were supported by 32 miles (51 km) of military use only roads and four individual picket stations. 93 separate batteries of artillery had been placed on this line, comprising over 1,500 guns, both field & siege varieties, as well as mortars. By the end of the war, hospitals in the Washington area grew. They provided medical services to wounded soldiers who wanted long term care after being transported to the city from front lines. Among the most significant of these Civil War hospitals were the Armory Square Hospital, Finley Hospital, and the Campbell Hospital.
More than 20,000 injured or ill soldiers received treatment in an array of permanent and temporary hospitals in the capital, including the U.S. Patent Office, and, for a time, the Capitol itself. The American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix, and other female nurses helped people. The war ended in a Union victory. On April 14, 1865, just days after the end of the war, President Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater (in Washington, D.C.) by the murderer Jon Wilkes Booth during the play of “Our American Cousin.” The next morning, at 7:22 am, President Lincoln died in the house across the street, the first American president to be assassinated. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton said, "Now he belongs to the ages." People were stunned, sadden, and angered. Stanton closed off most major roads and bridges. The city had martial law. Residents and workers were questioned. Abraham Lincoln’s body was displayed in the Capitol rotunda and thousands of Washington residents including many visitors saw the President. People filled hotels and restaurants. Washington was the site of the trial and execution of many of the assassins. By the time Andrew Johnson was President in May of 1865, many federal armies marched in D.C. for a review and celebration.
The Civil War transformed Washington, D.C. from a semi-rural city into an urban center of infrastructure, public plus private buildings, and the growth of the power of government.
Reconstruction in D.C.
During the Reconstruction period of Washington, D.C., the city has grown. By 1870, the District’s population had grown 75% from previous census to nearly 132,000 residents. Despite the city’s growth, Washington D.C. still had dirt roads and lacked basic sanitation. The situation was so bad that some members of Congress suggested moving the capital further west. Yet, President Ulysses S. Grant refused to consider such a proposal. There were poor conditions in the capital. So, Congress passed the Organic Act of 1871. This law revoked the individual charities of the cities of Washington and Georgetown. It created a new territorial government for the whole District of Columbia. The act provided for a governor appointed by the President, a legislative assembly with an upper house composed of eleven appointed council members and a 22 member house of delegates elected by residents of the District. The law allowed an appointed Board of Public Workers charged with modernizing the city. President Grant appointed Alexander Robey Shepherd (who was an influential member of the Board of Public Works) to the post of governor in 1873. Shepherd authorized large scale municipal projects, which greatly modernized Washington, D.C. Yet, the governor spent three times the money that they had been budgeted for capital improvement and it ultimately bankrupted the city. In 1874, Congress abolished the District's territorial government and replaced it with a three-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the President, of which one was a representative from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The three Commissioners would then elect one of themselves to be president of the commission. Another act of Congress in 1878 made the three members Board of Commissioners the permanent government of the District of Columbia.
The act also had the effect of eliminating any remaining local institutions like the boards on schools, health, and police. The commissioners would maintain this form of direct rule for nearly a century. Motorized streetcars in the District started to begin service in 1888 and it gave service in areas beyond the City of Washington’s original boundaries. In 1888, Congress required all new developments within the District to conform to the layout of the City of Washington. The City of Washington's northern border of Boundary Street was renamed Florida in 1890, reflecting growth of suburban areas in the County of Washington. The city's streets were extended throughout the District starting in 1893. An additional law passed in 1895 mandated that Washington formally absorb Georgetown, which until then had maintained a nominal separate identity, and renamed its streets. With a consolidated government and the transformation of suburban areas within the District into urban neighborhoods, the entire city eventually took on the name Washington, D.C.
During Reconstruction, Howard University was founded in 1867 and black males were given the right of suffrage (or the right to vote) in the same year. Howard University is one of the most famous Historically Black Universities (HBCUs) in America. It has great research facilities and it coeducational and nonsectarian. It has business courses and it’s one of the top universities in America. Many strong, courageous African Americans have graduated from Howard University. The new institution was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, a Civil War hero, who was both the founder of the University and, at the time, Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. Howard later served as President of the university from 1869–74. Howard University would play an important role in the Reconstruction movement and the civil rights movement. In the year of 1869, the National Convention of the Colored Men of America which was held in D.C. and in the same year, the American Equal Rights Association would meet in the city too. Norton P. Chipman becomes delegate to the US House of Representatives from the District of Columbia. Telephones came to D.C. in 1878.
In the early 1880’s, the Washington City Canal was covered over. Originally an expansion of Tiber Creek, the canal connected the Capitol with the Potomac, running along the north side of the Mall where Constitution Avenue is today. However, as the nation transitioned over to railroads for its transport, the canal had become nothing more than a stagnant sewer, and so it was removed. Some reminders of the canal still exist. South of the Capitol, there was a road named Canal Street, which connected Independence Avenue, W and E Street, SE (although the northern most section of the street was renamed Washington avenue to commemorate the state of Washington. A lock keeper’s house was built in 1835 at the eastern terminal of the C&O Canal (where the C C&O emptied into Tiber Creek and the Potomac River) remains at the southwest corner of Constitution Avenue, NW, (formerly B Street, NW) and 17th Street, NW, The western end of the City Canal emptied into the Potomac and connected with the C&P Canal near the lock keeper’s house. One of the most important Washington architects of this period was the German immigrant Adolf Cluss. From the 1860s to the 1890s, he constructed over 80 public and private buildings throughout the city, including the National Museum, the Agriculture Department, Sumner and Franklin schools. The Washington Monument, a tribute to George Washington and the world's tallest stone structure, was completed in 1884. In 1890, D.C. had a population of 230,392. The American University was founded in 1893, the American Negro Academy was founded in 1897, and the Height of Buildings Act of 1899 was legislated in 1899.
As W.E.B. BuDois has written so eloquently about Reconstruction: “…The unending tragedy of Reconstruction is the utter inability of the American mind to grasp its real significance, its national and worldwide implications…If the Reconstruction of the Southern states, from slavery to free labor, and from aristocracy to industrial democracy, had been conceived as a major national program of America, whose accomplishment at any price was well worth the effort, we should be living today in a different world…” (W.E.B. DuBois’s Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 on pg. 708).
The Early 20th Century
In 1901, the Senate Park Improvement Commission of the District of Columbia (the “McMillan Commission”), which Congress had formed the previous year, created the McMillan Plan. That was an architectural plan for the redevelopment of the National Mall. The commission was inspired by L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the city. This hasn’t been realized. The members of the commission also sought to emulate the grandeur of European capitals such as Paris, London, and Rome. They were strongly influenced by the City Beautiful movement. This was a Progressive ideology. It believed in the principle that folks should want to build up civic virtue in the poor via important, monumental architecture. Several of the Commission members (like Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.) had in fact participated in 1893 World Columbian Exposition. This was very popular and its helped to spread interest in the City Beautiful movement. The McMillan Plan was an early form of urban renewal. It removed many of the slums that surrounded the Capitol. It replaced them with new public monuments and government buildings. The Plan proposed a redsidgn of the National Mall and the construction of the future Burnham-designed Union Station. World War I interrupted the execution of the Plan, but the construction of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922 largely completed it. Although the McMillan Plan resulted in the demolition of some slums in the Federal Triangle area, substandard housing was a much larger problem in the city during the early 1900s, with large portions of the population living in so-called "alley dwellings.” Progressive efforts eventually led to the creation of the Alley Dwelling Authority in 1934. The agency, led by John Ihlder, was an early example of a public housing agency, and was responsible for demolishing slum housing and building new units that were affordable, modern, and sanitary. 1913 was when President Woodrow Wilson was in his first administration. He introduced segregation in D.C. into several federal departments for the first time since 1863. He supported some cabinet appointees in their request for segregation of employees and creation of separate lunchrooms and restrooms. He was highly criticized for this.
The evil policy held for decades. One advantage of federal rule over the District of Columbia was that the public school teachers were considered federal workers. Although the schools were segregated, black and white teachers were paid on an equal scale. The system attracted highly qualified teachers, especially for the M Street School (later called Dunbar High School), the academic high school for African Americans. In July of 1919, whites (including uniformed sailors and soldiers) attacked black people in Washington during Red Summer. This was when violence existed in cities nationwide. The catalyst in Washington, D.C. was rumored arrest of a black man for rape, in four days of mob violence, white men randomnly beat black people on the street, and pulled others off streetcars for attacks. When police refused to intervene, the black population fought back. Troops tried to restore order as the city closed saloons and theaters, but a summer rainstorm had a more dampening effect. A total of 15 people were killed: 10 whites, including two police officers; and five blacks. Fifty people were seriously wounded and another 100 less severely wounded. The NAACP protested to President Wilson.
Washington, D.C. in 1922 was hit by its deadliest natural disaster. The Knickerbocker Storm dumped 18 inches of snow. This caused the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater (or a silent movie house) was collapse. 98 people were killed including a U.S. Congressman. 133 people were injured. On July 28, 1932, President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans who gathered in Washington, D.C. to secure promised veterans’ benefits early. U.S. troops dispersed the last of the “Bonus Army” the next day. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the city's population grew rapidly with the creation of additional Federal agencies under the New Deal programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during which most of the Federal Triangle buildings were constructed. World War II brought further population increases and a significant housing shortage, as existing residents were urged to rent rooms to the influx of Federal staffers who arrived from throughout the country. During the war, as many as 200,000 railroad passengers passed through Union Station in a single day. The Pentagon was built in nearby Arlington to efficiently consolidate Federal defense offices under one roof. One of the largest office buildings in the world, it was built rapidly during the early years of the war, partially opening in 1942, and complete in 1943.
Washington D.C. and the early Civil Rights movement
The Civil Rights Movement in Washington D.C. has a long history. For a long time, Washington, D.C. had southern influences. For decades, Washington, D.C. had segregation. Washington, D.C. had free black people during the 19th century. One famous free black person was a Muslim man named Yarrow Mamout. He earned enough money from his hauling business to buy a home in Georgetown in 1800. The abolitionist movement was strong in D.C. even when Congress in 1835 banned anti-slavery literature in the city. Segregation or legal apartheid was brutal in D.C. For example, in 1808 the city passed a series of Black Codes that included fines for blacks out after ten pm, requirement that freedmen carry documents, fines for playing cards or dice, and forty lashes for slaves caught at disorderly meetings. There were also cash bonds that were required. Slavery was huge in Washington, D.C. White racist mobs in a riot destroyed the homes, churches, and schools of free black people in 1835. In 1869, the city passed a law against racial discrimination in places of entertainment and expanded it in 1870 to include restaurants, bars, and hotels. People fought for voting rights for black people in Georgetown and the city of Washington in the 1860’s.
In 1865, Sojourner Truth integrated the city’s house cars by ignoring the conductor’s order to move from the white section. This was 90 years before the Montgomery bus boycott. Black people voted for the first time in the District in 1867. John F. Cook was a black Washingtonian being the chair of the Republican Party. During Reconstruction, black people gained offices in D.C. Frederick Douglass was a member of the District of Columbia’s upper house by 1871. Reconstruction was short lived and by the election of Rutherford Hayes, the era of Reconstruction ended. After Reconstruction, jobs for black people in city government declined. By 1891, only 25 African Americans were on jobs for city government. Six African Americans who showed up in the Social Register in 1888 or the fact that President McKinley had two local blacks on his Inauguration Committee.
By 1900, Washington D.C. had the largest percentage of African Americans of any city in America. Jim Crow grew in D.C. and Woodrow Wilson promoted it and was one of the pro-segregation Presidents in history. Wilson segregated federal workplaces in 1913. There were a few exceptions to the custom such as the Library of Congress, public libraries, streetcars, and Griffith Stadium. Back during the early 20th century, the Washington’s black community had leadership around U Street. It had resiliency and sufficiency. Black Washingtonians owned two steamboat companies, grocery stores, heat fuel companies, and the Adams Oil and Gas Development Company, which was looking for oil in Oklahoma. Within ten years there was a black-owned bank, Capital Savings; two black-owned insurance companies and at least 11 black employment agencies. In 1909, the local chapter of the NAACP had over 1,000 members. Its headquarters was on U Street and it had the largest members in the country at that time. Black institutions developed like the Urban League. The white racists did the 1919 bloody summer riots in D.C. and in 24 other cities. It started in part of newspaper accounts which stereotyped black people in evil ways. Over 30 people died in D.C. including over 150 people being rounded or shot (even children). Black people, during the 1919 riots, defended themselves against white terrorists.
There were strong schools in D.C. like Howard University, which is historically the intellectual center of Black America. Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, ad Duke Ellington were either born in Washington, D.C. or have ties to D.C. From the 1920’s to the 1930’s, there was a cultural renaissance in the city. Many black people back then had their own churches, schools, banks, stores, food stores, department stores, etc. The late Thurlow Tibbs recalled, "We are forced to deal with one another on every economic level. In my block we had school teachers, a mail man, a retired garbage man, and a registrar of Howard University." These black people promoted self-sufficiency, but they advocated racial justice. During the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945), the early civil rights movement gained ground. The Washington chapter of the National Negro Congress organized against police brutality and segregation in recreation started in 1936. By World War Two, black people wanted Double V (or Victory Abroad and Victory Home in ending racial injustice). In 1948 the Supreme Court declared racially restrictive housing covenants were unconstitutional in the local Hurd v. Hodge case. Beginning in 1949 Mary Church Terrell led a multiracial effort to end segregation in public accommodations through pickets, boycotts, and legal action. In 1957, Washington D.C.'s African American population surpassed the 50 percent mark, making it the first predominantly black major city in the nation, and leading a nationwide trend.
The 1963 March on Washington, D.C. (and more Civil Rights Events)
The March on Washington happened on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. The march is immortalized by the organizers, by the music, and by the speakers of different backgrounds. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. electrified the crowd with his “I Have A Dream” speech. The march was the dream of the democratic socialist A. Philip Randolph (who was the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. So, Randolph believed in labor rights and civil rights). Back during the 1940’s, he said that if FDR wouldn’t end discrimination in war time workplaces, then he would organize a march on Washington. FDR feared political turmoil, so he signed an executive order 8802 (or the Fair Employment Act) to ban discrimination based on color in wartime industries. The crowd in D.C. for the speech in 1963 was about 250,000 people. The march was a call for Jobs and Freedom. The people of the march didn’t just want civil rights legislation to be passed federally. They wanted voting rights, economic justice (which including living wages, adequate housing, and investments in education on an non-segregated basis), an end to police brutality, and an end totally to Jim Crow apartheid. Back then, the capitalist elites knew full well that it was hypocritical for them to talk to other nations about the myth of “American democracy” while black people in America experienced lynchings, murder, abuse, rape, police brutality, discrimination, and other forms of evil racism. Groups like SNCC and the SCLC executed acts of civil disobedience, student sit ins, Freedom Rides (who are celebrating the 55th year anniversary of its existence), the voter registration drives, and other actions in fighting for jobs, equality, and economic justice. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acted as a balance of the many factions of the civil rights movement. He wanted to balance the conservative leaders (from the NAACP and the Urban League) and the more progressive leaders of the movement (from SNCC and CORE). SCLC back then was in the center-left ideologically.
As early as 1957, Dr. King, Randolph, and Bayard Rustin mobilized up to 30,000 people for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Civil Rights. In 1962, Randolph asked Rustin to form a plan for a large jobs related march on Washington. Plans continued in 1963. By 1963, protests and social activism in Birmingham to end segregation continued. President John F. Kennedy was hesitant in supporting federal civil rights legislation for fear of a Southern backlash against the bill. Dr. King and other civil rights leaders criticized the Kennedy administration on the pace it took on civil rights. After Medgar Evers was shot in 1963, then President John F. Kennedy made a historic speech to condemn racism and advocate for passage of a Civil Rights federal bill. Even then in June 22, 1963, JFK wanted civil rights leaders to call off the march. The civil rights leaders refused to do so. The Big Six of the Civil Rights Movement agreed to proceed with the plans. The Big Six were these men: A. Philip Randolph, Jim Farmer of CORE, Dr. King of the SCLC, John Lewis of SNCC, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, and Whitney Young of the Urban League. On July 2, Randolph and King go into New York City to unite in their plans for the upcoming Washington for “Jobs and Freedom” March. In that meeting, Roy Wilkins wanted no civil disobedience and no overt criticism of the Kennedy administration during the rally. Bayard Rustin was chosen to head the organizing the march because of his organizing and fundraising skills. JFK had no choice to support the march in public, but he wanted to control it using various tactics.
Some SNCC members supported the march. Other SNCC members fear co-option and a sugarcoating of the black freedom message by the Kennedy administration. Some SNCC organizers like Kwame Ture refuse to go to the march. The March on Washington had 10 progressive demands demanding decent housing, the right to vote, and other actions taken. Many newspapers back then were wrong that the march would provoke “rioting” and “violence.” Buses left San Francisco and other places of the West Coast on Saturday, August 24, 1963. Buses came from Portland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, NYC, Norfolk, Atlanta, etc.
The March was a strong showing. Yet, controversies existed. Most of the speakers were men. Also, John Lewis censored his speech in criticizing the government on civil rights efforts. John Lewis' excepts of his original speech condemned the Kennedy administration in the following terms:
"...It seems to me that the Albany indictment is part of a conspiracy on the part of the federal government and local politicians in the interest of expediency. I want to know, which side is the federal government on? The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, “We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting for hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory…In the struggle, we must seek more than civil rights; we must work for the community of love, peace, and true brotherhood. Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people…The revolution is a serious one. Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it into the courts. Listen, Mr. Kennedy. Listen Mr. Congressman. Listen, fellow citizens. The black masses are on the march for jobs and freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won’t be a “cooling off” period.”
Yet, Lewis censored many words from his speech out of respect for A. Philip Randolph's passionate speech to him. Malcolm X criticized the March on Washington as the “farce on Washington” for his view that it was co-opted by establishment figures to prevent a real black revolution in America. Dr. Martin Luther King was inspired by Mahalia Jackson in the audience to speak about the dream in his “I Have a Dream” speech. He spoke eloquently about justice and human freedom. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the following historic words in the March:
"...Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'...I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!...But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!..."
The March on Washington had worldwide coverage and it was very successful.
U Street had people like Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston fighting for civil rights. Jim Crow was fought against by D.C.’s Julius Hobson. He organized more than 80 picket lines on about 120 retail stores in downtown D.C. from 1960 to 1964. Some black people were employed in such areas. He initiated a campaign that resulted in the first hiring of black bus drivers by DC Transit. In 1965, SNCC leader Marion Barry organized a boycott in January 1965 to not allow DC Transit to raise its faires. SNCC said that DC Transit lost about 130,000 to 150,000 fares during the boycott. 2 days later, three transit commission, temporarily denied DC transit the fare hike. Hobson and CORE forced the hiring of the first black auto salesmen and dairy employees and started a campaign to combat job discrimination by the public utilities that led to a permanent court injunction to prevent Hobson from encouraging people to paste stickers over the holes in punch-card utility bills. Hobson led a huge demonstration to fight to end housing segregation when he led 4,500 people to the District Building. Private apartment buildings discriminated against black people back then. He fought against segregation in the hospitals. He used sit-ins at the Benjamin Franklin School in 1964 to help cause the desegregation of private business schools. Julius Hobson won a suit to outlaw the existing rigid track system and teacher segregation. He fought for the human rights of black people, women, and Mexican Americans.
During the 1960’s, Washington, D.C. saw the growth of the Black Arts, Black Power, Women’s, and Statehood movements. There were strong anti-war protests in D.C. throughout the 1960’s and during the 1970’s in opposing the unjust Vietnam War. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to promote the Poor People’s Campaign which were to happen in D.C. The first black mayor came into Washington, D.C. was Walter Washington in 1967. He was appointed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 4, 1968. This caused people to be said and outraged at such an evil action. Later, the 1968 riots came about in D.C. Buildings were burned and destroyed. Washington, D.C. was occupied by military troops, which never occurred except during the Civil War.
In 1974 residents chose Washington as the city's first elected black mayor and the first mayor of the 20th century. By 1975 African Americans were politically and culturally leading the city with more than 70 percent of the population. Marion Barry would be mayor too after Walter Washington.
Today, Go-go (or DC’s home grown version of funk), jazz, blues, salsa, etc. flourish in Washington, D.C. The African American experience is a long, beautiful experience. African Americans make up a huge part of the strength and resiliency of Washington, D.C.
There is the issue of home rule in the District of Columbia. Home rule is the concept that allows the residents of Washington, D.C. to govern their own affairs. The Constitution grants the United States Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the District in “all cases whatsoever.” Since 1973, Congress have allowed some powers of the government to be carried out by locally elected officials. Although, Congress maintains the power to overturn local laws and exercises greater oversight of the city than exists for any U.S. state. Furthermore, the District's elected government exists at the pleasure of Congress and could theoretically be revoked at any time. D.C. has a lack of voting representation in Congress. The city's unique status creates a situation where D.C. residents do not have full control over their local government nor do they have voting representation in the body that has full control. Because of this, I do believe in D.C. Statehood.
Washington, D.C. elects a delegate to the House of Representatives. This person has the usual rights of membership like seniority and committee membership except there is no formal vote. The 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on March 29, 1961. This gives people a voice in the electoral college of the size of the smallest state (or three votes). In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. This ceded some of its power over the city to a new directly elected city council and mayor. Walter Washington was the first elected mayor of Washington, D.C. He was the first African American mayor of a large city in America from 1967. Richard Hatcher of Gary, Indiana and Carl Stokes of Cleveland were both elected mayors in their respective cities too. Walter Washington had to deal with racial divisions, and civil rights legislation. He sent his first budget to Congress in late 1967. Democratic Representative John L. McMillan (who was a reactionary person), chair of the House Committee on the District of Columbia, responded by having a truckload of watermelons delivered to Washington's office. That is an evil, racist act from McMillan. So, racism is found in the Republican and Democratic Parties. Soon afterward the evil assassination of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr., the rebellion happened in D.C. (and in other places of America). Although he was reportedly urged by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to allow authorities to shoot the rioters, Washington refused. He told the Washington Post later, "I walked by myself through the city and urged angry young people to go home. I asked them to help the people who had been burned out." Only one person refused to listen to him. Republican Richard Nixon retained Washington as Mayor-Commissioner after being elected as president in 1968. By the mid 1970’s, Washington, D.C. became a mostly black city. By January 2, 1975, Walter Washington was sworn in by the African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He had to deal with a unique city that was newly autonomous. He had to experiment with things. Later, some folks criticized him. The Washington Post opined that he lacked "command presence." D.C. Council Chair Sterling Tucker suggested that the problems in the city were because of Washington's inability as a manager of city services. Council Member Marion S. Barry, Jr. accused him of "bumbling and bungling in an inefficiently run city government.” Some accused him of being not firm enough to move the city’s bureaucracy.
In the 1978 Democratic mayoral primary between Washington, Tucker, and City Councilman Marion Barry, Washington finished third. He left office on January 2, 1979, when the victorious Barry was sworn in. Upon his departure from office, Washington announced that city had posted a $41 million budget surplus, based on the Federal government's cash-on-hand financial system. Barry shifted city finances to the more common accrual system, and he announced that under this system, Washington had left a $284 million debt. The first 4.6 miles of the Washington Metro subway system opened on March 27, 1976. That came after years of acrimonious battles with Congress over funding and highway construction. There was a rejected proposal to build a north-central freeway. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority had been created in 1973 through a merger of several local bus companies. Several new Metro stations such as Friendship Heights, Van Ness, Gallery Place, Columbia Heights, U Street, and Navy Yard – Ballpark eventually became catalysts for commercial development. The Kennedy Center opened, as well as several new museums and historic monuments on and around the National Mall. In 1978, Congress sent the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment to the states for ratification. The amendment would have granted the District representation in the House, Senate, and Electoral College as if it were a state. The proposed amendment had a seven-year limit for ratification, and only sixteen states ratified it in this period. Walter Washington passed away in 2003.
The era of Marion Barry started in 1978 when she defeated Walter Washington in the Democratic Party primary. He would later be mayor and serve three successive four year terms. He would be praised by his supporters and criticized by his opponents. He served from 1979 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1999. He served on the Council of the District of Columbia for three terms. Before being mayor, Marion Barry was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He was part of the Nashville Student Movement and was the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC. In essence to understand Washington, D.C., you have to understand Marion Barry. He was born in rural Itta Bena, Mississippi. Mattie Cummings and Marion Barry are his parents. He moved into Memphis, Tennessee. His father died young. He attended Florida Elementary and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis.
Barry was active in the NAACP while he was in Le Moyne College. Barry earned an M.S. in organic chemistry from Fisk University in 1960. He was arrested in Nashville for working in sit ins to desegregate lunch counters and other civil rights events. He graduated from Fisk. Being in SNCC, Barry led protests against racial segregation and discrimination. He worked with the MFDP or the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. He worked in Washington, D.C. and opened a chapter of SNCC in 1965. Barry organized greatly in boycotts and other actions. He quit SNCC in 1967. In 1967, Barry and Mary Treadwell co-founded Pride, Inc., a Department of Labor-funded program to provide job training to unemployed black men. The group employed hundreds of teenagers to clean littered streets and alleys in the district. Barry and Treadwell had met while students at Fisk University, and they later met again while picketing in front of the Washington Gas Light Company. He organized through Pride Inc. a program of free food distribution for poor black residents whose homes and neighborhoods had been destroyed in the 1968 rebellion. Barry convinced the Giant Food supermarket chain to donate food, and he spent a week driving trucks and delivering food throughout the city's housing projects. He also became a board member of the city’s Economic Development Committee, helping to route federal funds and venture capital to black-owned businesses that were struggling to recover from the rebellions.
When President Richard Nixon declared July 21, 1969, National Day of Participation in honor of the moon landing by Apollo 11, Barry criticized him. Barry believed that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deserved a national honor day on his birthday, which Nixon had opposed. Said Barry, "Why should blacks feel elated when we see men eating on the moon when millions of blacks and poor whites don't have enough money to buy food here on earth?” Later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have a national holiday. Barry was in the D.C. Board of Education by 1971. He opposed the Super Fly film since he believed that it glorified drug abuse and it was harmful to black youth. He wanted a larger budget for education for D.C. During his first term as Mayor, Marion Berry saw an increase of efficiency in city administration and government services, in particular the sanitation department.
Barry also instituted his signature, famous summer jobs program, in which summer employment was made available to every school-age resident. At the same time, Barry straightened the city’s chaotic finances and attacked the deficit by introducing spending controls and laying off ten percent of the city’s workforce. Each year of his first term saw a budget surplus of at least US$13 million. District of Columbia political reporter Jonetta Rose Barras characterized the first Barry administration as "methodical, competent, and intellectually superior.” The crime rate and the unemployment rate started to increase too. There was a slowing down in rehabilitating dilapidated and condemned housing units. For thousands of people in the District, Marion Barry was the reason they had a job, which meant he was the reason they could keep their home, feed their children, or keep their lights on. Poor and working-class kids in the city have been getting their first jobs from Barry’s summer jobs program for thirty-five years. His administration increased assistance to the elderly and the poor. This caused Marion Barry to be very popular even today.
In 1982, Barry faced re-election against a challenge from fellow Democrat Patricia Roberts Harris, an African-American woman who had served in two cabinet positions under President Jimmy Carter, as well as from council members John L. Ray and Charlene Drew Jarvis. In the primary election held September 14, 1982, Barry won by a landslide, with over 58% of the vote. He won 82% of the vote in the November 11 general election against Republican candidate E. Brooke Lee. His second term had more problems than the first. There was a massive real estate boom that helped to alleviate the city’s fiscal problems for a time. Government spending increased and there was a fifth straight budget surplus. Yet, the next year the city had a $110 million deficit. There were problems of oversight. The cost of services such as heating oil for the public schools inflated 40 percent, without any guarantee that the goods and services were being provided. City councilman John A. Wilson commented that “What started out to benefit the minority community at large has meant some politically influential blacks can move out to posh suburbs.” There were scandals of former officials like Ivanhoe Donaldson and Alphonse G. Hill. During this time, more people found out about Barry’s drug abuse. In 1983, Barry's ex-wife, Mary Treadwell, was convicted of fraudulently using federal funds given to Pride, Inc., a group that helped local youth find employment. In 1984, Barry's one-time lover Karen Johnson was convicted of cocaine possession and contempt of court for refusing to testify to a grand jury about Barry’s drug use.
Barry’s second four years in office had some high points, including the District’s entry into the open bond market with Wall Street’s highest credit rating, and Barry’s nomination speech for Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democratic Convention. Marion Barry easily won the third term in 1986. Barry suffered addictions of cocaine and alcohol. Crack addiction exploded in Washington, D.C. in 1987. Territorial wars among drug dealers for territory grew. In 1988 there were 369 homicides in Washington, D.C, the most ever in the city. That record was broken when the next year had 434 homicides, and it was broken again in 1990 with 474 homicides, making Washington's murder rate the highest in the nation (during that time period). The Washington, D.C. government's unemployment and deficits grew as city services suffered; in particular, there were frequent press reports of deaths occurring because police lacked cars to get to crime scenes, and EMS services responded slowly or went to the wrong address. The FBI investigated Barry since 1989 for illegal drug possession and use. Many of his associates were convicted of cocaine use like Charles Lewis (or a native of the United States Virgin Islands). On January 18, 1990, Barry was arrested with a former girlfriend, Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore, in a sting operation at the Vista Hotel by the FBI and D.C. police for crack cocaine use and possession. Moore was an FBI informant when she invited Barry to the hotel room and insisted that he smoke freebase cocaine before they had sex, while agents in another room watched on camera, waiting for Barry to accept her offer. He lost the election in 1990 and served 6 months in federal prison. He was released in April 1992. He served on D.C. Council from 1992 to 1994.
Sharon Pratt Kelly was the first African American woman mayor of a major American city. She served from January 2, 1991 to January 2, 1995. She made good on her promises to clean house, requesting the resignations of all Barry appointees the day after her election; however, as she began to slash the city employment payroll, her political support began to weaken. She angered labor leaders who claimed she had promised not to fire union employees, and began mandating unpaid furloughs and wage freezes citywide. She fought for D.C. statehood. Marion Barry’s last term is part of Mayoral fights over budgetary issues and fights for home rule. Marion Barry wasn’t perfect, but he shown a great love for black people. He would pass away in the year of 2014.
After being imprisoned for six months on misdemeanor drug charges in 1990, Barry did not run for reelection. Barry was elected again in 1994 and by the next year the city had become nearly insolvent. In 1995, Congress created the District of Columbia Financial Control Board to oversee all municipal spending and rehabilitate the city government. Mayor Anthony Williams won election in 1998. His administration oversaw a period of greater prosperity, urban renewal, and budget surpluses. The District regained control over its finances in 2001 and the oversight board's operations were suspended in September of that year. Williams did not seek reelection in 2006. Council member Adrian Fenty defeated Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp in that year's Democratic primary race to succeed Williams as mayor and started his term in 2007. Shortly upon taking office, Fenty won approval from the city council to directly manage and overhaul the city's under-performing public school system. However, Fenty lost a Democratic Party primary to former Council Chair Vincent Gray in August 2010. Mayor Gray won the general election and assumed office in January 2011 with a pledge to bring economic opportunities to more of the city's residents and under-served areas.
The 21st Century
The 21st century in Washington, D.C. began with many events. By the year 2000, the Million Mom March was held in D.C. This was the rally of thousands of people to call for tighter gun control laws. The march had an attendance of 750,000 people. On September 11, 2001, the Pentagon (which is in Arlington, Virginia) was attacked. The Pentagon is across the river from Washington, D.C. United Airlines Flight 93, which was also hijacked and which went down in an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, supposedly intended to target either the White House or the U.S. Capitol. From 9/11 onward, Washington D.C. became more involved in security protection measures. Soon, many high profile incidents and other evil acts have occurred in Washington, D.C. In October 2001, there were the anthrax attacks. It involved anthrax contaminated mail sent to many members of Congress. It infected 31 staff members and killed 2 U.S. Postal Service employees who handled the contaminated mail at the Brentwood sorting facility. An FBI and DOJ investigation determined the likely culprit of the anthrax attacks to be Bruce, a scientist, but he committed suicide in July 2008 before formal charges were filed. There were the acts of the Beltway Sniper attacks in October 2002. It lasted for 3 weeks around the DMV area. John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were the shooters and they were arrested on October 24, 2002. They murdered 10 innocent people. 3 other people were wounded. In 2003 and 2004, a serial arsonist set over 40 fires, mainly in the District and the close-in Maryland suburbs, with one fire killing an elderly woman. A local man was arrested in the serial arson case in April 2005 and pled guilty.
The toxin ricin was found in the mailroom of the White House in November 2003 and in the mailroom of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in February 2004. These events caused more screening devices, metal detectors, and other high tech security measures in Washington, D.C.(especially in major federal government buildings). The Washington Convention Center was rebuilt in 2003. By 2007, Adrian Fenty became mayor. After 2007, student achievement tests at the secondary level reportedly rose 14 points in reading and 17 points in math. Student SAT scores rose 27 points in 2010. Graduation rates rose each year since 2007, and 72 percent of District students took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), which functions as a practice test for college bound students. The Nationals Park stadium opened in 2008. Under Fenty, 16 neighborhood and school playgrounds were opened and nine play courts and fields were completed. Fenty wasn’t a progressive on every issue though, especially on collective bargaining (Fenty opposed collective bargaining, which is his mistake). Vincent C. Gray became mayor in 2011 and the City Center DC construction started in the same year.
The Era of the Mayor and Sister Muriel Bowser
In 2015, Sister Muriel Bowser became mayor of Washington D.C. She is the second African American woman to be mayor of Washington, D.C. (the first was Sharon Pratt Kelly). Mayor Muriel Bowser is dealing with many issues from education, health care, and criminal justice matters. Sister Muriel Elizabeth Bowser has an interesting story. She was born in August 2, 1972. She grew up in Michigan Park in northeast DC. Bowser graduated from Chatham in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor's degree in history, and she graduated from American University with a Master’s in Public Policy. She is 43 years old. She was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in 2004. She was elected to the Council in 2007 via a special election. She was reelected (as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia in Ward 4) in 2008 and 2012. On March 23, 2013, Bowser announced that she would run for the Mayor of the District of Columbia in the 2014 election. Her campaign’s chair was former council member William Lightfoot. Bowser said that she can connect with longtime residents who are concerned with massive changes in the District. She wanted free Metro fares for students. She was against increasing the minimum wage only for employees of large retailers. Muriel Bowser has been mayor since January 2, 2015. She is the second black woman to be mayor of D.C. The first one was Sharon Pratt Kelly. Muriel Bowser (like mayors nationwide) had to deal with crime and other issues in Washington D.C. In October 2015 (in response to an increase of homicides in her first year as Mayor), Bowser proposed legislation allowing law enforcement officials to perform warrantless searches of violent ex-offenders. The bill was widely opposed by citizen's groups and the D.C. Council. She also deals with homelessness in the city. DC General closed, so by 2016, she proposed various housing sites to house the homeless. Although Bowser supports the outfitting of Metropolitan Police Department with body cameras and has requested $6 million in her 2016 budget proposal to complete the task, she also included a provision that would make all footage from the cameras exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, with the goal "to respect privacy." She is early in her mayorship. She launched an inclusive technology program to support startups and entrepreneurs offering products and services to poor communities. The issue is that she has to deal with corporate forces trying to exploit D.C. and she has to promote the interests of the community in D.C. irrespective of the goals of select corporations.
Also, it is important to outline the progressive actions of the Mayor Muriel Bowser. She promoted projects to increase jobs. She devoted an historic $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund, which can help to build many affordable housing units in D.C. She has supported investments in education. Muriel Bowser gave her State of the District speech in the beautiful Arena Stage Theater in Southwest, D.C. In her speech, the mayor spoke of elected officials having three choices when building the city. “One is to reject growth and accept decline; two is growing without regard to our roots, and risk losing what makes D.C. great; and the third is to balance change with preservation and growth.” She believes in fulfilling the third choice. She touted existing successful programs, like having 500 mentors for boys who need it most; the money saved by families when Kids Ride Free on public transportation; 8,200 families reading to their children benefiting from the “Books from Birth” program; and various Cornerstone, Common Core and Career Academies. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a youth suicide prevention bill in April 27, 2016. The bill requires the city’s public schools to adopt suicide prevention policies. D.C. has the fastest improving urban school district in America. It is very early in her mayorship. One thing that is true is that Muriel Bowser is a very qualified black woman, she loves Washington, D.C., and we wish the best for her.
The Culture of Washington D.C.
Washington D.C.'s culture is alive, strong, and greatly influenced by black people. African American culture and Washington, D.C. go hand in hand. Cedar Hill is found on a hillside in the historically black Anacostia neighborhood. Cedar Hill is the mansion where Frederick Douglass lived during the late 1800’s. It is now a museum celebrating the life and work of the great orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Across the street in Canal Square (in Georgetown), there are the walls at the Parish Gallery. It is a monument that shows the spectacular paintings and sculpture from artists throughout the Diaspora. In between, in the famous U Street Corridor, Georgia Avenue and other neighborhoods, have places that have Southern cooking, hangouts for spoken word poetry, etc. There are also jazz joints, dance clubs, and other part of the black arts. Black cultural life is abundant in Washington, D.C. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is also a great monument in Washington, D.C. It celebrates the life of one of the greatest fighters for human justice in history. There is the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, which is a townhouse in the Logan Circle neighborhood that celebrates the contribution Bethune made to black education during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
One can’t know about Washington, D.C. without understanding about Howard University. It is an attractive, tree covered, 256 acre campus. It’s located in Washington, D.C.’s Northwest quadrant. It has many Victorian Revivalist style buildings. It is one of the most prominent historically black colleges in America. It was created in 1867. Many black leaders have graduated from (or had connections with) Howard University like Thurgood Marshall (the first black Supreme Court Justice), Charles Houston, Kwame Ture, Dr. Patricia Bath (she is an ophthalmologist and the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention), Dr. Marjorie Lee Browne (she was an educator. She was one of the first African American women to receive a doctorate in mathematics in the United States), Dr. Alexander Darnes, Cheick Modibo Diarra, Edward Brooke, L. Douglas Wilder, Andrew Young, Zora Neale Hurston, etc. Malcolm X Park in D.C. have people using drums and enjoying life. Meridian Hill Park runs between Euclid and Florida avenues between 16th and 15th streets. The U Street corridor is along U Street in Northwest D.C. between 15th and Seventh street. In that location, there are boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars. The D.C. Shaw neighborhood has black musicians, writers, and artists. Duke Ellington was born in this area and spent most of his early life. There are plaques of Ellington, Toomer, and other people there too. Writer Jean Toomer, author of the classic novel Cane, also lived here as a teenager.
The African American Civil War Memorial & Museum is found in U and Vermont Street. It celebrates the courage of black people during the Civil War. There is a 10 ft. Spirit of Freedom o sculpture there. It shows the images of uniformed soldiers and a sailor. The wall displays the names of more than 200,000 United States black troops, who fought during the Civil War. The Civil War Museum documents their story. The Lincoln Theatre is a strong staple of black culture. It was built in 1922. It was a place where musicians like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and other shown the world their gifts. Back then, it was the only place black residents could watch live shows since D.C. was segregated. Today, the Theater is returned to its ‘20s glory. Georgia’s Brown is off McPherson Square downtown. It had old school Southern dishes. It has fried chicken, collard green, peach cobbler, and other great foods. Many celebrities go there including President Barack Obama and First Lady Sister Michelle Obama. D.C. ex-mayor Vincent Gray has been there too. Sankofa, Cadence, and the Everlasting Life Café where people do open mic. Busboys and Poets on 14th Street, is one of the main hangout spots for youthful black people and others in D.C. Held in the Langston Room, a long, private dining area decorated with posters of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and other black leaders, this event boasts a strong following of regulars, mostly young African Americans. Washington, D.C. also is known to a multicultural group of people form blacks from across the Diaspora, white people, Asians, Hispanics, etc.
Washington D.C. has a large amount of music. Many famous and underground musicians in Washington D.C. celebrate house, jazz, bluegrass, hip hop, go-go (or local funk genre of music). John Philip Sousa was a military brass band composer. Duke Ellington is one of the most famous musicians in the world. He was born in Washington, D.C. back in April 29, 1899. His parents were James Edward Ellington and Daisy (Kennedy) Ellington. Both of his parents were pianists. He lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ida Place (Ward Place today), NW in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Duke's father was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on April 15, 1879, and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1886 with his parents. Daisy Kennedy was born in Washington, D.C., on January 4, 1879, the daughter of a former American slave. He was not only an American composer and pianist. He was a bandleader of a jazz orchestra. His music and respected and loved from people through every walk of life. His orchestra performed nationwide including at the Cotton Club in Harlem, NYC (from the 1920’s onward) during the Harlem Renaissance. His orchestra toured Europe during the 1930’s as well. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle, and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music, rather than to a musical genre such as jazz. He worked with others and he wrote more than 1,000 composition. He has an extensive work of jazz. Many of his works are standards of jazz. He worked with composer arranger pianist Billy Strayhorn too. By July 1956, after doing a Newport Jazz Festival, Ellington and his orchestra had a career revival. He was in many films, and composed stage musicals. His son was Mercer Kennedy Ellington who would have his own band too. After his passing in May 24, 1974 (of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia), he was awarded posthumous a Special Pulitzer Prize for music in 1999. Famous. D.C. jazz musicians include legends like Charlie Rouse (who was a saxophonist with Thelonious Monk), drummer Billy Hart, Ira Sullivan (tenor saxophonist), and Leo Parker.
Roberta Flack is another soul singer who was raised near the Washington, D.C. area as well. Robert Flack is one of the greatest singers of all time. Flack was the first to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year two consecutive times. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" won at the 1973 Grammys and "Killing Me Softly with His Song" won at the 1974 Grammys. She remains the only solo artist to have accomplished this feat. She went into Howard University too. He was a teacher in Washington, D.C. too. She collaborated with many songs with the legend Donny Hathaway. Marvin Gaye is a legendary soul singer from D.C. as well. He has his 1968 hit “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” Choral music is common in D.C. including the opera. Peaches & Herb are from Washington, D.C. too. Ginuwine and Mya are from D.C. too. Hip hop groups like The Amphibians & Freestyle Union laid the foundation for artists like Asheru, Wale and Low Budget to help put DC's hip hop scene on the map. Washington, D.C.'s hip-hop scene was notably featured in the 1998 film Slam, about a would-be slam poet's ordeal in the D.C. Jail. Pharaoh Jonez, an Emcee from Southeast DC is one of the most successful rapper/producers from the DMV's underground scene. Wale was the first D.C. artist to really break out on the national scene. He was a member of XXL's 2009 Freshman Class and released his debut album, Attention Deficit on Interscope Records. Another great singer from Washington, D.C. is Sister Carolyn Malachi. She has immense talent, a great singing voice, and she’s a beautiful black woman inside and out. I love her music. The Verizon Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts have tons of musicians and artists performing their work.