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Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington: 1963-1975

Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington: 1963-1975

December 14, 2015 – October 23, 2016

Location: Main Gallery

During this period, Washingtonians experienced their first meaningful presidential vote, elected a city council and mayor for the first time in a century, and became the largest majority African American city in the country. Freeways and suburbanization transformed the face of the city. New public housing accompanied the nation’s most ambitious urban renewal effort, and thousands of residents were displaced in the effort to build a modernist vision of the city. New trends in music, theatre, art, and dance transformed popular culture. Change was in the air, some of it unsettling and threatening. Against a national background of Lyndon Johnson’s “great society,” anti-war protests, black power, feminism, and emerging gay rights, this exhibition focuses on events, people and challenges that transformed the city between 1963 and 1975.


Demonstrators at Poor People's March, 1968, Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum Archives. Photograph by Ronald S. Comedy