Homes Not Roads: 1969
On June 21 1969, a group of over 100 people descended on the 2700 block of 10th Street NW with the intention of renovating homes that had been seized by the District of Columbia government in order to build the proposed North Central Freeway.

Reginald Booker, chair of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC), led the demonstration. The ECTC had led many confrontational protests against proposed new highways in the city that were planned to go through predominantly African American neighborhoods.

In this instance, sixty-nine homes belonging to African American residents in the Brookland area had been grabbed by the city to make room for the planned North Central Freeway. The protestors demanded that the homes be renovated and restored to their original owners.

A crowd organized by the ECTC, and armed with brooms, rakes and hedge clippers, entered the property at 2732 10th Street NE and began to clean and fix it up before being stopped by 25 D.C. riot police.

Police arrested Booker, Thomas Rooney, Thomas Coleman and the Rev. John A Mote inside the home for unlawful entry. Sammie Abdullah Abbott was arrested outside for disorderly conduct when he attempted to join those arrested in the police paddy wagon. Abbott, the communications director of the group, designed many graphic posters and flyers for the group, including the iconic “White Man’s Roads Thru Black Man’s Home.”

The proposed freeway had been effectively killed the year before after heated protests and a court decision that ruled that residents had not been adequately consulted over plans for the road.

However, Congressional leaders held money for construction of the Washington Metro system hostage for several more years, demanding that the North Central Freeway and other highways and bridges be built before the project was officially scuttled.

The District government did eventually renovate and sell the homes after lengthy delays and the homes pictured in the set still stand.
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