In 1976 D.C. police dressed as cartoon Mafiosos and bought millions in stolen goods from local thieves. They called it "Operation Sting," and soon police across the country were launching "sting operations" of their own. But not everyone was so enamored with the tactic, especially the communities it was being used to target.
When Julius Hobson ran for the District Delegate seat under the banner of the new Statehood Party in 1971, his proposal to secure democracy in the nation’s capital was very similar to today’s H.R. 51. However, this now mainstream policy was a fringe idea for much of the past fifty years.
DC Statehood has been garnering a lot of attention recently. This new coverage and support for the movement is the culmination of 50 years of activism, starting with a campaign between two of the District's most influential residents.
If you’re from the D.C. area, you know Rock Creek Park for its hiking trails and scenic views. But if you’re from any other part of the country, you might recognize it best from the 1975 song, “Rock Creek Park.” The song’s minimalist verse describes happenings at the local park after sundown...
“I personally want to try and change the stereotype of what somebody in a wheelchair is like… I want to be judged not on my disabilities but on my abilities. I think people get frightened by the wheelchair… It’s a powerful visual symbol, but it’s not a symbol of defeat. It’s a tool I use to help me accomplish my goals. Just by climbing into the wheelchair, I don’t have to surrender my sexuality, my sensuality, my good sense of humor, or anything," said Kit Kamien, a Bethesda musician who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 26, to The Washington Post in 1987.
Three figures with wolfish grins gather around a table, red as blood. What’s on the table? Money and houses. It’s a game of Monopoly, but the people aren’t people and the game is strictly metaphorical. This image occupies the upper right quadrant of a mural located at 1817 Adams Mill Road NW in Adams Morgan. The name of the mural is “Un Pueblo Sin Murales Es Un Pueblo Desmuralizado,” which literally translates to “A People Without Murals is a Demuralized People.” But the name in Spanish is a play on words: "A People Without Murals is a Demoralized People," emphasizing the value of public art — and artistic representation — to the community. Now over forty years old, this mural is the largest, oldest and longest-standing Latinx mural in D.C.
In July of 1978, thousands of Native American demonstrators arrived in the capital to protest eleven pieces of legislation, and raise awareness about issues faced by Indigenous peoples. This was the end of a 3,000 mile journey known as the Longest Walk.
In the 1970s, the Congressional Cemetery was in trouble. After years of neglect, it looked abandoned: broken headstones littered the ground, family vaults caved in, and the grass was waist high. Fifty years later, the cemetery has undergone a stunning transformation. As well as being an active burial ground, it serves as a community garden, urban wildlife sanctuary, place of remembrance, and historic site. Volunteers, many from the local Capitol Hill neighborhoods, work tirelessly to keep up the grounds and reverse the damage of decades past. Because, as it turns out, the Congressional Cemetery has always been a people’s effort. Despite its official-sounding name, and despite its importance to national history, its story is much more local.
Most Americans are familiar with the phrase, of course. It brings to mind images of the Revolutionary War—colonists protesting a series of taxes imposed on them by the British Parliament, despite their lack of involvement in its affairs. According to tradition, the battle cry of “taxation without representation is tyranny” originated in Boston, where it featured in such famous displays as the Boston Tea Party. In the popular imagination, the phrase defined the conflict that lead to the creation of our own, more just government. So how did the phrase come to be associated with Washington, D.C., the center of that government?
The soundtrack of the summer of 1976 was a special one. Just after the USA celebrated its Bicentennial, one unlikely song, with its folksy style and airtight harmonization, soared past the countless disco tunes to the number 1 spot on the Billboard charts. No matter how you feel about it, “Afternoon Delight” was perhaps the perfect way to celebrate our independence. With lyrics referencing “skyrockets in flight,” the song (and the band behind it) has a very strong connection to the Nation’s Capital.
It all started in 1974, when musicians Bill Danoff and Margot Chapman stopped at Clyde’s in Georgetown for a meal...