D.C. Black Power Chronology

Introduction

The Black Power Chronology presents a multimedia timeline of 30 important historic events and institutions that defined the Black Power era in Washington, D.C. The material was compiled over a three-year period by a remarkable set of committee members who are SNCC and Black Power veterans as well as scholars, lawyers, artists, and historians.

The chronology captures the dates of each historic event or institution and presents a detailed narrative about the event, program, or institution as told by a person who was actually involved in its formation. Historic photographs, relevant documents, video clips, and images of posters, book covers, buttons, and flyers are included to amplify the narratives.


Washington, D.C. Timeline

1966
John A. Wilson: D.C. City Council & SNCC Veteran (1966 – 1993) By Eric P. Jones
John A. Wilson: D.C. City Council & SNCC Veteran (1966 – 1993) By Eric P. Jones

My friend, John A. Wilson (September 29, 1943 – May 19, 1993), was one of the most celebrated and influential elected officials in the history…Read More

Francine Haskins: Mixed-Media Fiber Artist (1966 – present) By Francine Haskins
Francine Haskins: Mixed-Media Fiber Artist (1966 – present) By Francine Haskins

I am an introvert, a daydreamer—a mixed media fiber artist (dolls, quilts, and paintings). I was always interested in art and listening to my Aunt…Read More

The New Thing Art and Architectural Center (1966- ) By Topper Carew
The New Thing Art and Architectural Center (1966- ) By Topper Carew

I started The New Thing in the fall of 1966 in Adams Morgan in an old, one-room storefront with a sagging floor at 1811 Florida…Read More

Robin Gregory: Howard University’s First Afrocentric Homecoming Queen (1966) by Robin Gregory
Robin Gregory: Howard University’s First Afrocentric Homecoming Queen (1966) by Robin Gregory

Working for the Movement In 1963, I was a rising sophomore at Howard University, working a summer job for the Marines in Washington, D.C. When…Read More

The New School of Afro-American Thought: Development, Philosophy, and Impact (1965 – 1969) By Baba Lumumba
The New School of Afro-American Thought: Development, Philosophy, and Impact (1965 – 1969) By Baba Lumumba

“The purpose of the New School of Afro-American Thought was to challenge the direction of Black educational philosophy and practice in America. It set out…Read More

1967
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (1967 – present) by Niani Montgomery Kilkenny
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (1967 – present) by Niani Montgomery Kilkenny

In September 1967, the Smithsonian Institution opened the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (ANM) under the direction of community activist, organizer, and minister, John Robert Edward Kinard.…Read More

1968
Dreams, Mysteries, Visions (1968 – present) By Januwa Moja
Dreams, Mysteries, Visions (1968 – present) By Januwa Moja

Januwa Moja’s creations explode in a profusion of color and style, making unique African cultural statements that underscore her love for and celebration of our…Read More

Drum and Spear Bookstore By Tony Gittens
Judy Richardson and Tony Gittens, 1968-Photo by Washington Post

Judy Richardson and Tony Gittens, 1968-Photo by Washington Post Origins In 1967-1968, members of the SNCC leadership moved from the organization’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.,…Read More

Drum and Spear Press: “Book Publishers for the Pan-African World” (1968–1972) By Jennifer Lawson
Drum and Spear Press: “Book Publishers for the Pan-African World” (1968–1972) By Jennifer Lawson

Jennifer Lawson Photo by Vernard Gray Our Washington in the 1960s The energy was palpable. Whenever we were in a room together, ideas ricocheted at…Read More

Drum and Spear Bookstore (1968 – 1971) by Daphne Muse
Drum and Spear Bookstore (1968 – 1971) by Daphne Muse

Daphne Muse In the tradition of our ancestors, Drum and Spear Bookstore was founded by and staffed with intellectually amazing people whose activism was fueled…Read More

Republic of New Afrika (1968 – Present) By Nkechi Taifa
Republic of New Afrika (1968 – Present) By Nkechi Taifa

Nkechi Taifa-Courtesy of Nkechi Taifa One of the most pivotal and prolific lectures I heard while a student at Howard University during the early 1970’s…Read More

A Brief History Beyond the Freedom Rides: Building an Independent Afrikan School for Our Liberation (1968 – Present) By El Senzengakulu Zulu
A Brief History Beyond the Freedom Rides: Building an Independent Afrikan School for Our Liberation (1968 – Present) By El Senzengakulu Zulu

The struggle for justice and freedom for Afrikan people continues for Baba El Senzengakulu Zulu. After the freedom rides Baba El Zulu became an enlisted…Read More

Creating a Black Studies Department at Federal City College (UDC), 1968 – 1969 By James P. Garrett
Creating a Black Studies Department at Federal City College (UDC), 1968 – 1969 By James P. Garrett

James (Jimmy) Garrett My name is James (Jimmy) Garrett. I am going to summarize efforts by SNCC folks to develop and establish a Black Studies…Read More

Kwanzaa in D.C. (1968 – present) By Baba Lumumba
Kwanzaa in D.C. (1968 – present) By Baba Lumumba

Kwanzaa is a holiday based on the African tradition of celebrating the first fruits of the harvest. This holiday was tailor-made for the Black Power…Read More

1969
The Center for Black Education: An Historical Sketch (1969 – 1974) By James P. Garrett, Photos by Ivy Young
The Center for Black Education: An Historical Sketch (1969 – 1974) By James P. Garrett, Photos by Ivy Young

Photo By Ivy Young The Center for Black Education (CBE), an independent Black education institution, formally opened on Sunday, September 14, 1969, in Washington D.C.…Read More

Sixth Pan-African Congress: Planning, Preparation and Implementation, 1969 – 1974 By Sylvia I.B. Hill
Dr. J. Fletcher Robinson and President Nyerere

Science and Technology Committee Co-chair Dr. Fletcher Robinson and Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere “The 20th century is the century of Black Power. It has already…Read More

1970
Regional Addiction Prevention, Inc. (RAP, Inc.) and Black Power By Ron Clark and Angela Owens
Regional Addiction Prevention, Inc. (RAP, Inc.) and Black Power By Ron Clark and Angela Owens

Regional Addiction Prevention, Inc. (RAP, Inc.) was established in 1970 as a non-profit, residential drug and alcohol abuse treatment organization in Washington, D.C. We opened…Read More

1971
“Hear and Obey”: Accepting the Call of the Nation of Islam (1971 – 1973) By Marcia V. Ellis
Marcia Ellis

All photos courtesy of Marcia Ellis Muhammad’s Mosque No. 4 was legally incorporated in 1959; only Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee had preceded Washington in developing…Read More

WHUR-FM Howard University Radio By Niani Montgomery Kilkenny
WHUR-FM Howard University Radio By Niani Montgomery Kilkenny

I was an enthusiastic listener of WHUR-FM before I joined the staff as Public Affairs Director in December 1974. Black Power was my cultural, political,…Read More

1972
The Adams Morgan Organization and Black Power in D.C. (1972 – Present) By Marie Nahikian
The Adams Morgan Organization and Black Power in D.C. (1972 – Present) By Marie Nahikian

Marie-Nahikian The Adams Morgan Organization (AMO) and its leadership had a role in Black Power in the District of Columbia along many paths. Each path…Read More

Washington’s First African Liberation Day Celebration (1972) By Sylvia Hill 
Washington’s First African Liberation Day Celebration (1972) By Sylvia Hill 

The first national observance of African Liberation Day in Washington, D.C. occurred in 1972, following a visit to the liberated zones of Mozambique by Malcolm X…Read More

Malcolm X Day Celebration—Washington, D.C. (1972 – 1994) By Charles C. Stephenson, Jr.
Malcolm X Day Celebration—Washington, D.C. (1972 – 1994) By Charles C. Stephenson, Jr.

The first time I attended a Malcolm X Day Celebration was in 1969, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. It had a theme of…Read More

1973
The Founding of Sweet Honey in the Rock* By Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon
The Founding of Sweet Honey in the Rock* By Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

Sweet Honey in the rock first full concert, 1974 at DC Black repertory theater, Washington DC. From left to right Bernice…Read More

1977
The Early Years of WPFW 89.3 FM Pacifica Community Radio (1977-1980) By Lorne Cress Love
The Early Years of WPFW 89.3 FM Pacifica Community Radio (1977-1980) By Lorne Cress Love

Pacifica Radio Comes to Washington When I came to D.C. in the early 70s, the city was still reeling from the assassination of Dr. King…Read More

1978
From the Southern Africa Support Project to the Free South Africa Movement: A Brief Historical Recollection  (1978 – 1990) By Sylvia Hill
From the Southern Africa Support Project to the Free South Africa Movement: A Brief Historical Recollection  (1978 – 1990) By Sylvia Hill

“Solidarity is not an act of charity, but mutual aid between people fighting for the same objectives.” ((A version of this paper was presented in…Read More

1985
Jazz: Its Cultural Importance and Its Link to Black Political Empowerment (1985 – present) By Cedric R. Hendricks
Jazz: Its Cultural Importance and Its Link to Black Political Empowerment (1985 – present) By Cedric R. Hendricks

John Conyers and Cedric Hendricks in July 2018 at John’s home in Detroit In the Beginning John Conyers, bassist Ben Williams,…Read More

1990
Damali Afrikanwear (1990 – present) by Brenda Winstead
Damali Afrikanwear (1990 – present) by Brenda Winstead

Brenda and a market woman in Conakry, Guinea. Courtesy of Brenda Winstead. I am a self-taught designer who founded Damali Afrikanwear 29 years ago. Damali…Read More

Nelson Mandela’s Visit to the United States and Washington, D.C. (1990) By Sylvia I.B. Hill
Nelson Mandela’s Visit to the United States and Washington, D.C. (1990) By Sylvia I.B. Hill

Nelson Mandela with Sylvia Hill and Gay McDougall “Free Nelson Mandela” We had spent years organizing and participating in boycotts, legislative advocacy, divestment campaigns, material aid…Read More

1994
Sisterspace and Books (1999 – 2004) By Cassandra Burton
Sisterspace and Books (1999 – 2004) By Cassandra Burton

Sister Ruby Dee at Sisterspace and Books Sisterspace and Books was an African-American woman-owned bookstore and cultural center located on U Street, N.W., for over…Read More

1998
Sankofa Video, Books & Café (1998 – Present) By Founders Haile and Shirikiana Gerima
Sankofa Video, Books & Café (1998 – Present) By Founders Haile and Shirikiana Gerima

Shirikiana Aina Gerima First question: what was the climate in D.C. in the mid-90’s when you were thinking about creating the…Read More

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