2 december 1968 & bus boycott
#OTD 2 December 1968 The Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) co-organized a one-day boycott of DC Transit, the privately-owned company that operated bus service in the city. The purpose of the boycott was to protest high fares and poor service, and to hasten the selling of the DC Transit company to the city so that transportation can be a non-profit public service. On 18 November, R. H. Booker, ECTC co-chair, announced the boycott on a Channel 26 tv program. The boycott was also the kick-off for Transportation Crisis week, which would include anti-freeway protests at City Council offices.
Rev. Joseph I. Gipson, pastor of Nash Memorial Methodist Church (2001 Lincoln Rd NE), was a co-leader of the boycott. Nash Memorial served as boycott headquarters. In the photograph above, Clorice C. Turner, a co-organizer, created alternative transportation routes in the church basement amidst boycott posters.
The “Erase Chalk” posters refer to O. Ray Chalk, white head of DC Transit. The black fist signs turn the iconic Black Power fist into a hitchhiking gesture. Volunteers placed these signs in their cars and vans to indicate they were offering rides to would-be bus riders.
The boycott focused on bus lines near Benning Rd NE, including Seat Pleasant, Benning Heights, and 60th and East Capitol Sts NE.
A similar bus boycott, organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was held in January 1966.
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, family members or neighbors participate in the boycott? Do you remember Clorice Turner? Were you a member of Nash Memorial? Do you remember Pastor Gipson? Do you have any of the signs? Do you have photographs of the boycott? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: DCPL Special Collections, Evening Star Newspaper Photo Collection. 2 December 1968. Bernie Boston, photographer.