Annual Conference





Echo & Resonance: 1968
The 2017 conference examines the 50th anniversary of the civil unrest of 1968. The conference sessions will explore 1968 and the civil unrest as a pivotal moment in the history of the District, the history of activism in the area, and the dynamics race, politics, governance, and history played in the events. How does 1968 resonate today?

Download a copy of the Conference Overview
(Subject to change)

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Schedule of Events

Thursday, November 2, 2017 | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Lecture
“Washington, D.C. 1968: Activism, Art, and Architecture”
Marya Annette McQuirter, Ph.D.
In 1968, Washington, D.C. was an epicenter of activism, art and architecture. SNCC members left the rural and urban south and joined Washingtonians in the struggle for Black Power, human rights and statehood; anti-war and anti-draft activists resisted in high schools, universities and in the streets; artists created beauty with abstract art and improvisational music; and architects designed for people and not for profit. Dr. McQuirter will provide a year-long look at this critical history of organizing and resistance and its legacies today.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public but priority seating will be given to conference attendees.


Friday, November 3, 2017 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
Conference sessions and lunch-hour History Network
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Friday, November 3, 2017 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
A series of short documentary films will be screened, including:
“All Souls Church, Ward 1, and Racial Justice,” directed by Jenice L. View and Rahima Rice
“Building the 12th Street YMCA,” directed by Aviva Kempner
“Dignity and Defiance: A Portrait of Mary Church Terrell,” directed by Robin N. Hamilton
“Through Chinatown’s Eyes: April 1968,” directed by Penny Lee and Lisa Mao
Film screenings are free and open to the public and do not require registration for the conference.
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Saturday, November 4, 2017 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
Conference sessions
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Jewish Downtown Washington Walking Tour | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Led by Wendy Thurman, Deputy Director, Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
Meet at Historic 1876 Synagogue, Corner of Third & G Streets, NW Washington, D.C. 20001
Seventh Street NW has been home to many communities: Jewish immigrants from Germany and Eastern Europe; non-Jewish immigrants from Germany, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and China; and African Americans throughout the 20th century. This walking tour explores what Jewish life was like, how these communities lived together, and how the 1968 unrest changed this modern center of life and culture in D.C. Free and open to the public; registration required. Register

The Street Where It Happened: U Street and 1968 Walking Tour | 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.
Led by Clarence Shaw, Professional Tour Guide
Meet at the African American Civil War Museum, 1925 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
U Street was at the heart of the civil unrest that erupted in 1968. Join guide Clarence Shaw as he explores the community as it is today. Learn about key landmarks like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Lee’s Flowers while gaining an understanding of the physical and cultural landscape of D.C.’s U Street, once known as “Black Broadway.” Free and open to the public; registration required. Register

Tour of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church: Downtown Headquarters for the Poor People’s Campaign | 12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
Led by John O’Brien
Meet in the Sanctuary of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
Presbyterians have been practicing their faith at New York Avenue and H Street NW since 1820. Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln all worshiped here on a regular basis. The present church building opened in 1950 and is the third structure to be erected on the site. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor George Docherty and Rev. Jack McClendon, New York Avenue Presbyterian Church played a significant role in the events of 1968. It was the downtown headquarters for the Poor People’s Campaign where press conferences and meetings were held about that march and the opening of the protest community, Resurrection City on the Mall. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke here, along with his widow, Coretta Scott King, and Andrew Young. Dr. King’s closest associate, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, preached here while proudly wearing the robe of Peter Marshall.  The church was also the Washington headquarters for the war protest organization, Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV). Free and open to the public; registration required. Register


About the Conference
The 44th Annual Conference on D.C. History is a collaboration between The George Washington University, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the DC Public Library. Its mission is to provide a friendly and rigorous forum for discussing and promoting original research about the history of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Conference Committee
Mark Benbow,  Mark Greek, Karen Harris, Amanda Huron, Ida E. Jones, Rebecca Katz, Jennifer King, Lily Liu, Izetta Autumn Mobley, Nancy Murray, Emily Niekrasz, John O’Brien, Clarence Shaw, Mary Ternes, Ruth Trocolli, and Ranald Woodaman.

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