The Furies Collective, 219 11th Street Southeast. Photo by Patsy Lynch

A Virtual Tour of Capitol Hill's Rainbow History

September 19, 2016

On September 19, 2016, Mark Meinke presented a virtual walking tour of Capitol Hill sites notable in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) movement of the 1960s - 1990s. During that time Capitol Hill was one of the "go-to" areas for gay and lesbian activism and socializing in Washington. In his lecture "tour", Meinke described bars and night clubs that offered a friendly atmosphere, and, in time, same sex dancing and drag shows as well as other local sites such as Lammas Books, a book and crafts store and unofficial community center for the city's lesbian community; The Furies Collective, a 12-woman feminist separatist collective publishing an influential newspaper; and the Guild Press, publisher of novels, guides, and physique magazines for the national gay male market, that later figured in a significant Supreme Court ruling on obscenity law.

The "tour"covered events and sites all over Capitol Hill -- from the H Street corridor, Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 8th Street SE (Barracks Row) and the South Capitol area near M and O streets (the present Ball Park District). After the power point presentation, audience members participated in a Q & A session, contributing their personal stories and suggesting other significant people, sites and events to add to Capitol Hill's Rainbow History.

Meinke is a member of the National Park Service's Scholars Roundtable for its LGBTQ Heritage Initiative. He was also co-founder of both the Rainbow History Project (a local historical organization that provides a web-based digitized archive of primary documents) and the Rainbow Heritage Network (organized for the recognition and preservation of national LGBTQ sites, history and heritage). He prepared the nominations for the Capitol Hill Furies Collective (219-11th Street SE) and for the Bayard Rustin home at 340 W. 28th Street in New York City that were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Past Lectures