A Conversation on D.C. Statehood

Anacostia Library

A Conversation on D.C. Statehood

State1Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. favored federal representation for District residents. In August 1965, he joined local civil rights leaders, home rule proponents and 5,000 people on a playground in the Shaw neighborhood. The group marched to Lafayette Square (seven acre public park directly north of White House), demanding the right to self-government. 

The struggle for permanent federal representation began as early as 1801.  Since then, congressional members have advanced five proposals:
  • constitutional amendment (but not granting statehood)
  • retrocession to Maryland
  • semi-retrocession to Maryland
  • statehood and
  • virtual statehood.
On Jan. 15, 2013, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the New Columbia Admission Act, which called for the District of Columbia to become the 51st state. What are the arguments for and against “New Columbia?” 

In celebration of King Week, Anise Jenkins, Executive Director of Stand UP! For Democracy and Johnny Barnes, Attorney-at-Law, will discuss the political challenges of the D.C. Statehood Movement.

Jenkins gained notoriety over the years for her efforts to achieve voting representation for District residents. The social activist has appeared on many local television programs, seeking to educate the public about the history of the Statehood Movement.

Johnny Barnes, a self-described “People’s Lawyer,” is a recognized expert on civil rights, civil liberties and the federal and local legislative process. A graduate of Georgetown Law Center, Barnes has lectured at his alma mater and also helped to create the law school’s nationally recognized “Street Law Program,” which is taught throughout the nation in schools and prisons and in 35 foreign countries.