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Unemployment Rally in DC: 1930 # 2 | by Washington Area Spark
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Unemployment Rally in DC: 1930 # 2

Unemployment rally at local Communist Party headquarters at 1337 7th Street NW in Washington, DC on March 5, 1930 the day prior to picketing the White House.

 

Note Communist Party/Young Communist League banner at upper right and sign reading “Workers! Join The Party Of Your Class The Communist Party.”

 

Plans to picket the District Building at 14th and Pennsylvania NW were apparently cancelled after police broke up the White House picket with tear gas and blackjacks.

 

The demonstration was part of a nationwide protest against unemployment organized by the Communist Party.

 

Locally the demonstrations also protested against the February 12, 1930 lynching by means of a cow chain of Laura Wood, a 60 year-old mother of 4, in Barber Junction, NC. A rally specifically against lynching is called for at the Odd Fellows Hall, 1606 M Street NW for March 7 (see handheld sign and flyer tacked to the wall).

 

The police brutality issue raised by one sign in the photo later resulted in local mass demonstrations in the District of Columbia in 1938 and 1941.

 

The Communist Party moved out of the building in the mid-1930s. Around 1900, the building had also served as the headquarters of the Shaw Regiment Union Veterans (named for Robert Gould Shaw--not the neighborhood in the city), an African-American civil war veterans group that was open to those who had served in at least one combat engagement.

 

The building was damaged during the 1968 “riots” following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo here: www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003688168/) and subsequently torn down along with all the other buildings on the block. The Gibson Plaza apartments stand on the site today.

 

The image can be dated by noting that the young man with hair parted in the middle can be seen with different clothes in a photo dated March 6, 1930 of a demonstration in front of the White House ( flic.kr/p/rkLwNY ). A March 6, 1930 article in the Washington Post notes that signs for the March 6 demonstration were made the day before at the local Communist Party headquarters. The signs seen in the meeting above are the same as those carried in documented images the demonstration.

 

For another print of this photo that shows less image, but is in better condition, see flic.kr/p/cPQTi1

 

For more information and additional images, see set description: flic.kr/s/aHsjBkfqTG

 

For some brief film clips of the March 6, 1930 demonstration at the White House, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Mljp0bzMWo

 

For a photo of the 1940 Workers Alliance demonstration, see flic.kr/s/aHsjDj2Goq

 

Image by Harris & Ewing, the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-H2- B-3863 [P&P]

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Taken on March 5, 1930