Washington History Reveals Struggles for Full Citizenship

Washi Hist Spring 2016 cover FINALWASHINGTON, D.C.: The spring 2016 issue of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s semiannual magazine offers readers important background on perennial issues of social justice for the citizens of Washington, D.C. In this issue historians look back at voting, education, transportation, and the effects of the use of eminent domain—issues that fill the media today.

Author Katharina Hering examines the creative (though fruitless) struggles of the city’s “Voteless League of Women Voters” to secure the right to vote in national elections and for representatives to Congress in the first half of the 20th century. Complementing her essay is Clare Hennigan’s study of how Senator Charles Sumner repeatedly introduced legislation to integrate Washington, D.C.’s public schools in the 1870s. “Teachable Moment,” a signature Washington History feature that takes a single document, photograph, or object, and unpacks its context and deeper meanings, looks at a dramatic handbill that advertised a bus boycott led by Marion Barry in 1966. The author is Brian Rohal. A new feature,” Person of Interest,” looks at an interesting yet unheralded historical figure who speaks to today’s audiences. Washington History Editor Chris Myers Asch offers Reconstruction-era political leader Perry H. Carson as the first profile.

Authors Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green trace the passage of a nine-generation African American family whose ancestors lived along the Potomac before the Revolutionary War and went on to farm land in upper Northwest until development forced them to move elsewhere. Don Hawkins’s “Unbuilt Washington” uncovers a design for a bridge over the Potomac at the Three Sisters Islands that Georgetowners of the 1850s actually wanted Congress to build.

Thanks to the generosity of underwriter Mark G. Griffin, past president of the Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, this issue also features “For the Record: The Art of Lily Spandorf,” in a full-color section. The picture essay by Jane Freundel Levey looks at the watercolorist as chronicler of vanishing Washington and as editorial illustrator for newspapers here and around the nation. The paintings and Spandorf’s personal records, deposited in the Kiplinger Research Library of the Historical Society, are on view through June in a collaborative exhibition at the George Washington University Museum.

As always, Washington History presents news of the Historical Society, and reviews of important books, blogs, and other works on the history of the D.C. metropolitan area. Deaths of important Washingtonians are noted.

About Washington History

Washington History is a journal of original scholarship about the history of the metropolitan area. It is also a readable magazine that appeals to a broad public curious about the history of the nation’s capital and its varied communities. The magazine publishes peer-reviewed essays, reviews, and short features, and welcomes queries from authors. It is the successor to Records of the Columbia Historical Society, published from 1895 through 1989. Washington History, available for purchase on Amazon, in Politics and Prose, and select area bookstores for $20, is a benefit of membership in the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.