L. D. Pratt: 1965-67
Lowell D. Pratt is shown in the Washington, D.C. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) office on U Street NW May 18, 1966 after helping to coordinate a successful boycott of D.C. Transit buses against a fare increase and while the “Free D.C.” campaign was enlisting business support for District of Columbia home rule.

Lowell D. Pratt had no real background in civil rights when he teamed up with Local SNCC leader Marion Barry in Washington D.C. in 1965, acting as an advisor and organizing actions.

He was the impetus behind the bus boycott and the later strategy to boycott local businesses that failed to endorse the drive to obtain D.C. voting rights during the “Free D.C.” movement.

He also led a brief effort with SNCC worker Ralph Featherstone to win board seats on the Greenbelt Consumer Cooperative that then ran seven grocery stores, two gas stations, a movie theater and other non-profit ventures. The effort failed, but was an attempt to bring non-profit, low-cost food into under-served areas of the inner city.

Pratt lost influence within SNCC in 1967 when black nationalism gained sway within the organization and when Barry left to form Pride, Inc. He and Barry would fall out later that year when Barry forced out Rufus “Catfish” Mayfield as head of the board of directors of Pride.

As quickly as Pratt had come on to the D.C. civil rights scene, he was gone.
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