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District Action for Racial Equality (DARE): 1963 | by Washington Area Spark
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District Action for Racial Equality (DARE): 1963

An excerpt from a August 17, 1963 Washington Post article on a District Action for Racial Equality (DARE), a local, direct action civil rights group that focused its efforts east of the Anacostia River.

 

The group targeted the American Security and Trust Bank for picketing August 16, 1963 charging that only 73 out of more than 1,000 employees were black and only 11 of the black workers were in jobs above the blue collar level.

 

Reginald Booker, primarily known for leading the fight against D.C. freeways, for public takeover of the private bus company and for construction of the Metrorail system, would become chair of the relatively small group.

 

DARE was one of the few District rights groups that supported Julius Hobson’s call for a school boycott in 1963 {along with the local SNCC chapter and Americans for Democratic Action).

 

The group also intervened in a planned eviction of eight people from a Barry Farms apartment in August 1963 after the District Welfare Department withheld assistance checks. DARE won a delay in the eviction until the mother, daughter, her sister and five children could find another place to live. DARE also expedited the payment of the withheld checks.[41]

 

The younger woman’s welfare was cut off because of an alleged violation of the “man in the house rule” where it was then presumed that if a man lived in the house he was taking care of the children and welfare payments were cut off. In this case the man was not the children’s father and under no legal obligation to support them.

 

Booker and another DARE member worked on this case and brought four other Barry Farms residents to the meeting with the Welfare Department to discuss the case and related grievances.

 

The “man in the house rule” was particularly onerous because it forced families to make a decision between splitting up to receive assistance or going without food and housing.

 

DARE also joined with SNCC to hold a “freedom rally” at the St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church on Shannon Place SE in Anacostia where the organizers told residents to hold rent strikes and public demonstrations to begin to address the issues plaguing the community.

 

The rally was, in part, designed to build for a January 31, 1964 rally at the District Building the next day where, “Some 70 singing, marching students picketed the District Building…and demanded a ‘War on Poverty—Not on the Poor,’” according to the Evening Star.

 

The protesters, organized by DARE, CORE and the Non-Violent Action Group (the SNCC affiliate at Howard), issued a flyer demanding “The city must have rent control and must create jobs by building hospitals, schools and low-cost housing that are needed.”

 

In response to a District Commissioners order against discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, speakers promised to utilize this order in their fight against evictions by threatening to take black residents evicted from their homes and relocate them to white areas

 

For a detailed account of Booker’s activism, victories and defeats, see washingtonareaspark.com/2020/01/28/the-d-c-black-liberati...

 

For more information and related images, see flic.kr/s/aHsm8XFDEt

 

The excerpt is from the August 17, 1963 edition of the Washington Post.

 

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Taken on August 17, 1963