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Frank Kameny, D.C. Statehood Hero E-mail

Frank Kameny, D.C. Statehood Hero

Frank Kameny, a great D.C. statehood hero as well as human rights and gay rights acitvist, died October 11, 2011.

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Statehood Activist Keith Silver Acquitted E-mail

D.C. Magistrate Judge Frederick Sullivan found Advisory Neigbhorhood Comissioner Keith Silver not guilty of "failure to obey a lawful order" when he was arrested April 18, 2011 while standing in Constitution Avenue during rush hour durig a D.C. statehood protest. While under oath on the witness stand, arresting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Richard Larity misidentified Mr. Silver's attorney, Johnny Barnes, as the defendant. For more on the trial, see dcist writeup below.

 

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Case Against Activist Bart Turner Dismissed E-mail

D.C. resident Bart Turner was arrested on April 18, 2011 in a one-man demonstration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol when he protested the "democracy vacuum" in the District of Columbia.  When he appeared in D.C. Superior Court on September 22, 2011 to contest the single charge of "Unlawful Entry," prosecutors decided to dismiss his case.

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History of D.C.'s Flag E-mail

D.C. historian, Mark David Richards wrote the following article about the history of the flag of the District of Columbia.

http://www.dcwatch.com/richards/0106f.htm

The Flag of the District of Columbia

Prepared by Mark David Richards,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

A Dream, Bureaucracy, Agitation, and a Flag

In their own little ways, DC citizens have always been dreaming about and agitating for equal rights. In 1917, while working for a printing firm on a flag book for the 48 states, Charles A. R. Dunn noticed there was no flag for his DC home. In 1921 he sketched a design using George Washington's Coat of Arms, with three red stars above two red stripes on a white field. At that time, the Voteless League was set up by former women’s suffrage campaigners--they became the Voteless League of Women Voters of DC. By 1924, there was "considerable agitation" for a DC flag. The Evening Star printed Dunn's drawings. The Fine Arts Commission weighed in, saying a DC flag must emphasize that "DC is the seat of the central government of all states." Dr. William Tindall of the DC government pointed out that the 3 stars could be said to represent the 3 federal branches. The issue, unresolved, died down. But the drive for rights did not. Theodore W. Noyes, in a nationwide WMAL radio address in March 1929, asked "Will not every red-blooded American who hears me tonight respond hopefully and vigorously to the District’s appeal for political equality? How long, O Americans, must we of Washington be compelled to say and to sing: ‘My county, ‘tis of thee Not land of liberty, For District folks; Where rights for which the fathers died Are now denied and crucified, Mock’d at as jokes’?"

A 1930s drive for Congressional voting rights and home rule led to a flurry of articles and comics. The DC commissioners were called "a national laughing stock," and the DC govt. an ineffective "Adventure in Autocracy." In 1933, young African-American college grads from the U Street community organized the New Negro Alliance, demanding that businesses hire some people they served. They picketed businesses and were arrested. It took until 1938 for African-American lawyers to establish the legal right to picket by the Supreme Court. Also in 1938, a Citizens’ Conference of 271 local organizations financed a plebiscite with two questions—"[D]o you want to vote for President and for members of Congress from the District of Columbia?, and do you want to vote for officials of your own city government in the District?" The District Suffrage League set up voting places in 38 public schools, and on April 29th dressed up like Paul Revere and paraded in the streets to publicize the event. 95,538 people voted on April 30th, most supporting both measures. In June 1938, a Flag Commission was created by Act of Congress to advise the Commission of Fine Arts. A contest was announced. The Heraldic Division of the War Department laid down rules. Dunn submitted his design. The Flag Commission couldn't decide between two designs, so they submitted both to the Commission on Fine Arts. In October, a joint meeting of the 2 Commissions chose Dunn's design. Along with the US flag, DC could now fly their flag along with the other 48. They gained an early symbol, but still no vote in their schools, in their local government, nor in Congress. In 1961, Dunn said "I think it is a good flag, and I am glad that an early dream of mine came true."

 
Statehood For The Nation`s Capital Is Long Overdue E-mail

On July 29, 1990, Stephen Chapman made the case in the Chicago Tribune for statehood for the District of Columbia. He found that case for changing the status of D.C. "impossible to deny." He found the real objections to D.C. statehood to be political not philosophical and in the end racial. He concludes with "Republicans think denying the democratic rights of D.C. residents is a small price to pay for their party`s immediate interests. Someday, the GOP will be as proud of that position as the Democratic Party is of having once defended slavery."

 

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