13 may 1968 & anti-freeway activism
#OTD 13 May 1968 Marion Barry and Sammie Abbott (above) and 300 other activists attended an evening City Council hearing to demand that the Council stop its planned freeway program. They were emboldened by the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that ruled the city was not adhering to required mandates and, as a result, four highway projects were deemed illegal.
Other activists in attendance included Reginald Booker (Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis chair), Julius Hobson (former CORE chair), Casey Mann (2MJQ architect/planner) and W.L. Staton (Pride Inc.).
According to the Washington Post, the main demands were "1) remove freeway items from the budget; 2) fire top highway department officials; 3) replace planners who live in the suburbs with District residents and 4) move people displaced by the North Central freeway back into their homes." The North Central Freeway was planned to go through Northeast neighborhoods (including Brookland), to Takoma Park and into Montgomery County.
Please comment below. Were you an anti-freeway activist? Did you attend this hearing? Were you a member of any of these organizations? Were you or family members displaced by freeway plans or construction? You may comment privately here.
Photo: Courtesy DCPL Special Collections, Marion Barry 60s & 70s folder, 1968. Walter Oates, photographer.
Lee Flor, "Militants Voice Threats to Council at Freeway Hearings," 14 March 1968.
Chris Asch and G. Derek Musgrove, Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital, pp. 360-366.