History buffs, researchers, authors and historians gathered yesterday at the MLK Memorial Library for the 39th Annual D.C. Historical Conference.
My first and I enjoyed it a lot.
Over two dozen agencies participated, including the DC Preservation League, Cultural Tourism DC, History Press and a number of local authors. Here’s some of the folks I spoke with at the History Network session.
On August 28, 1963—the day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech—segregation ended at Gwynn Oak amusement park in Maryland when eleven-month old Sharon Langley, her dad beside her, became the first black child to ride the park's famous merry-go-round. As Amy Nathan tells the story of how individuals in Baltimore integrated one amusement park in their town, she also gives an overview of the history of segregation and the civil rights movement. Round and Round Together creates a new civil rights symbol—the Gwynn Oak carousel is now the Smithsonian Carousel which thousands of kids enjoy each year.
Johanna Bockman, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Affairs at George Mason University, studies issues such as gentrification and globalization. Her blog is, "Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward 6."
Diana Parsell is telling the story of Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore (1856-1928). Not a household name in Washington, but she should be. Scidmore came up with the idea to plant Japanese cherry trees in Washington. As Parsell notes at her blog, "A Great Blooming:"
Yet she was so much more — journalist, travel writer, author and lecturer, first woman photographer for National Geographic magazine, Oriental art collector, activist for international peace.
Anastasia Nylund represented Georgetown University and their research project, “Language and Communications in DC.”
Enjoyed meeting them all. Congrats on your fine work.
Note: During one of the sessions, the speaker announced an upcoming project called, "DC by the Book." Some kind of a literary map. Can’t wait for that one!