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Democracy's CapitalBlack Political Power in Washington, D.C., 1960s-1970s$
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Lauren Pearlman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653907

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653907.001.0001

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From Civil Rights to Self-Determination

From Civil Rights to Self-Determination

(p.19) 1 From Civil Rights to Self-Determination
Democracy's Capital

Lauren Pearlman

University of North Carolina Press

During the 1960s, activists catalyzed Washington, D.C., into a new phase of civil rights activism, one that allowed them to give expression to the frustrations of poor black residents while fighting for political and economic control of the city. Chapter 1 shows how the Washington Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) chapter led by Julius Hobson, the Free D.C. campaign run by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader Marion Barry, welfare rights activism by Etta Horn and other low-income black women, and the Black United Front marked a strategic shift in the local movement toward self-determination. After almost a decade fighting for civil rights, black activists no longer wanted to live in a city whose terms were dictated by white stakeholders, federal officials, and unelected representatives. As this chapter demonstrates, due in part to the attention that radical campaigns brought to the issue of home rule, and also in part to Lyndon Johnson’s own political calculus, the president issued a partial home rule measure. But while African Americans ascended to local political office, powerful white stakeholders, along with members of the Johnson administration and Congress, retained control over the city.

Keywords:   Julius Hobson, Marion Barry, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Etta Horn, Lyndon Johnson, Home rule, Black United Front, Free D.C.

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