Here’s a neat Black History Month event I found via the City Paper. Did I mention that it’s free?
Beginning in 2004, Kate Masur kept stumbling across references to a 19th century Capitol employee and her refusal to leave a train departing from Alexandria…(Masur) eventually identified the employee as Kate Brown. Brown, a women’s room attendant, wanted to sit among the very people she served in the designated “ladies’ car”—implicitly for white women only. After a conductor instructed Brown to move and she refused, he and a police officer police pounded on her knuckles and twisted her arms before tossing her from the car and onto the platform. Masur includes Brown’s story in An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle Over Equality in Washington, D.C., an account of black Washingtonians’ efforts to gain equality in the wake of the Civil War…And in a story that will surely resonate with those of us dissatisfied with the District’s Congressional representation—or lack thereof—Masur tells of black and white Washingtonians bonding to cultivate a new Republican Party with big hopes for greater racial equality—only for Congress to abolish the local self-government they needed, all but destroying the progressive foundation they’d established.
Progressive black and white Washingtonians coming together to create a Republican party for racial equality? I’m there! Well, that and I’m always down to learn more about D.C. history. Tomorrow, Masur will speak at the National Archives (700 Constitution Ave NW). If you miss her there, you have a second chance to hear her– she’ll be at the National Portrait Gallery (800 F Street NW, pictured above) on Wednesday. Both events are at noon. More Black History Month events, here.