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The March on Washington
The March on Washington
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/US Government Photo

D.C.'s most famous protests, rallies, and riots, mapped

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The March on Washington
| Photo via Wikimedia Commons/US Government Photo

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Washington, D.C. is more than just memorials, monuments, and The White House. This city represents the people who live here and the many efforts over the years to march for freedom and equality. There have been protests. There have been rallies. There have been riots. But most importantly there have been accomplishments.

Below, Curbed has created a map of some of Washington, D.C.'s most famous political reactions, from The Great March to the 1968 riots. The mapped locations have been listed geographically, from the most Northwest to the most Southeast.

Were there any notable protests, rallies, or riots mistakenly left off? Let Curbed know in the comments or email the tipline.

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1. The 1968 Riots

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14th St NW & U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, a six-day riot ensued in Washington, D.C. The riot occurred in multiple neighborhoods, from Shaw to H Street NE to Columbia Heights to U Street. The riot was not only about the assassination, though; it was also in reaction to the pre-existing poor living conditions for African American residents in Washington, D.C. Because of the riot, there were a total of 1,180 fires as well as damage to 1,199 buildings, which included residential and commercial establishments. The District's economy was devastated, and property values decreased. 12 people died from the riots, according to Ivan Brandon's April 1968 publication in The Washington Post, titled "City's 10 Riot Fatalities: Witnesses Describe Deaths."
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress

2. The March on Washington

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2 Lincoln Memorial Circle NW
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 426-6841
In August 28, 1963, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history occurred, called The March on Washington. It's also known as The Great March on Washington and The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was on this day that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Around 200,000 to 300,000 people attended the march. According to Allen Weinstein's publication, "The Story of America," the march led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/US Government Photo

3. Million Man March

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100 Lenfant Plz SW
Washington, D.C. 20560
(202) 426-6841
An estimated 850,000 people visited the Million Man March in October 16, 1995. The march was organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan with speakers that included Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson. The purpose of the march was to “convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male,” according to a fact sheet published in January 1996.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Yoke Mc/Joacim Osterstam

4. Terrell's Sit-In

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575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Terrell Place's current location previously housed The Hecht Company department store, which was founded in 1896 by Jewish-German immigrants. It was renamed Terrell Place in 2003 when it reopened as a mixed-use development. Its name is a reference to Mary Church Terrell, one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She was also a national activist for civil rights in suffrage and a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the 1950s, Terrell was refused service at the Hecht's lunch counter. In protest of this, Terrell led a campaign to end segregation at the lunch counter of the department store. Outside of Terrell Place, visitors can find signs honoring Terrell's efforts.
Photo via Cliff

5. Free D.C. Movement March

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H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
In support of the Free D.C. Movement, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry organized a march to encourage residents to only support local businesses that supported the home rule movement. Residents were able to know which businesses supported the movement by "Free D.C." stickers that were placed in the windows. After the NAACP withdrew its support, attention for the movement eventually faded, according to Mark Stephen Greek in his publication, "Washington, D.C. Protests."
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek

6. Mock Tea Party

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Unfortunately, the exact location of this mock Tea Party in 1973 is unknown, but the group, known as Self Determination for D.C., threw "tea" crates into the Potomac River in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The purpose of this event was to further emphasize displeasure with Congress and President Richard Nixon for the lack of support with providing the District representation in the House of Representatives.
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek

7. March on August 1965

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1601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20502
From a playground at 11th and R streets NW to Lafayette Square Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders led a march of approximately 5,000 people. The march, held on August 5, 1965, was to prove that there was support for home rule. It was also to thank President Lyndon B. Johnson for him strongly supporting a home rule bill that went before Congress.
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek

8. The Great March

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1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
(202) 456-1414
Visit Website
With a march past the White House, a rally near the Capitol, and approximately 200,000 people, the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987 is one of D.C.'s most famous marches. It is also known as simply, "The Great March." According to Marc Stein in OutHistory.org, this march was an incredibly important episode in the LGBTQ movement and the first national coverage of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP. This march was part of six days of activities and was led by celebrities like Cesar Chavez, Eleanor Smeal, Jessie Jackson, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ad Meskens

9. Mock Vote

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149 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20530
In August 20, 1967, over 1,000 people arrived at the old Raphael Theater in order to hold a "mock vote" to vote for candidates for the new city council. The votes were later sent to President Lyndon B. Johnson who had the task to choose the newly formed council. The theater eventually closed down in 1969 before being demolished.
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek

10. 1966 Home Rule Day Rally

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National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 426-6841
Visit Website
On the National Mall, it's necessary to address the 1966 Home Rule Day rally. Hosted on July 17, 1966, the rally drew 32 speakers and approximately 4,000 people. Here, Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, said, "You can't laugh your problems away." Senator Wayne Morse further stated that home rule legislation at the time offered the "opportunity to strike a blow for human dignity which we cannot afford to reject."
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek

11. Women's March on Washington

Copy Link
National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024
The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Women's Marches appeared across the world with celebrities and feminist leaders like Scarlett Johansson and Gloria Steinem delivering speeches in D.C. Record-breaking crowds wore pink cat hats, marching for women's rights as well as for LGBT rights, racial and social justice, and the environment. The Women's March on Washington ended up being one of the largest single-day demonstrations in recorded U.S. history.
Photo via Shutterstock/Michael Candelori

1. The 1968 Riots

14th St NW & U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, a six-day riot ensued in Washington, D.C. The riot occurred in multiple neighborhoods, from Shaw to H Street NE to Columbia Heights to U Street. The riot was not only about the assassination, though; it was also in reaction to the pre-existing poor living conditions for African American residents in Washington, D.C. Because of the riot, there were a total of 1,180 fires as well as damage to 1,199 buildings, which included residential and commercial establishments. The District's economy was devastated, and property values decreased. 12 people died from the riots, according to Ivan Brandon's April 1968 publication in The Washington Post, titled "City's 10 Riot Fatalities: Witnesses Describe Deaths."
14th St NW & U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. The March on Washington

2 Lincoln Memorial Circle NW, Washington, D.C. 20024
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/US Government Photo
In August 28, 1963, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history occurred, called The March on Washington. It's also known as The Great March on Washington and The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was on this day that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Around 200,000 to 300,000 people attended the march. According to Allen Weinstein's publication, "The Story of America," the march led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
2 Lincoln Memorial Circle NW
Washington, D.C. 20024

3. Million Man March

100 Lenfant Plz SW, Washington, D.C. 20560
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Yoke Mc/Joacim Osterstam
An estimated 850,000 people visited the Million Man March in October 16, 1995. The march was organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan with speakers that included Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson. The purpose of the march was to “convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male,” according to a fact sheet published in January 1996.
100 Lenfant Plz SW
Washington, D.C. 20560

4. Terrell's Sit-In

575 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Photo via Cliff
Terrell Place's current location previously housed The Hecht Company department store, which was founded in 1896 by Jewish-German immigrants. It was renamed Terrell Place in 2003 when it reopened as a mixed-use development. Its name is a reference to Mary Church Terrell, one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. She was also a national activist for civil rights in suffrage and a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the 1950s, Terrell was refused service at the Hecht's lunch counter. In protest of this, Terrell led a campaign to end segregation at the lunch counter of the department store. Outside of Terrell Place, visitors can find signs honoring Terrell's efforts.
575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

5. Free D.C. Movement March

H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek
In support of the Free D.C. Movement, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry organized a march to encourage residents to only support local businesses that supported the home rule movement. Residents were able to know which businesses supported the movement by "Free D.C." stickers that were placed in the windows. After the NAACP withdrew its support, attention for the movement eventually faded, according to Mark Stephen Greek in his publication, "Washington, D.C. Protests."
H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

6. Mock Tea Party

Washington, D.C. 20007
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek
Unfortunately, the exact location of this mock Tea Party in 1973 is unknown, but the group, known as Self Determination for D.C., threw "tea" crates into the Potomac River in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The purpose of this event was to further emphasize displeasure with Congress and President Richard Nixon for the lack of support with providing the District representation in the House of Representatives.

7. March on August 1965

1601 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20502
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek
From a playground at 11th and R streets NW to Lafayette Square Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders led a march of approximately 5,000 people. The march, held on August 5, 1965, was to prove that there was support for home rule. It was also to thank President Lyndon B. Johnson for him strongly supporting a home rule bill that went before Congress.
1601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20502

8. The Great March

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20500
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ad Meskens
With a march past the White House, a rally near the Capitol, and approximately 200,000 people, the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987 is one of D.C.'s most famous marches. It is also known as simply, "The Great March." According to Marc Stein in OutHistory.org, this march was an incredibly important episode in the LGBTQ movement and the first national coverage of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP. This march was part of six days of activities and was led by celebrities like Cesar Chavez, Eleanor Smeal, Jessie Jackson, and Whoopi Goldberg.
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

9. Mock Vote

149 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20530
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek
In August 20, 1967, over 1,000 people arrived at the old Raphael Theater in order to hold a "mock vote" to vote for candidates for the new city council. The votes were later sent to President Lyndon B. Johnson who had the task to choose the newly formed council. The theater eventually closed down in 1969 before being demolished.
149 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20530

10. 1966 Home Rule Day Rally

National Mall, Washington, D.C. 20024
Photo via Washingtoniana Division/Mark Stephen Greek
On the National Mall, it's necessary to address the 1966 Home Rule Day rally. Hosted on July 17, 1966, the rally drew 32 speakers and approximately 4,000 people. Here, Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, said, "You can't laugh your problems away." Senator Wayne Morse further stated that home rule legislation at the time offered the "opportunity to strike a blow for human dignity which we cannot afford to reject."
National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024

11. Women's March on Washington

National Mall, Washington, D.C. 20024
Photo via Shutterstock/Michael Candelori
The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Women's Marches appeared across the world with celebrities and feminist leaders like Scarlett Johansson and Gloria Steinem delivering speeches in D.C. Record-breaking crowds wore pink cat hats, marching for women's rights as well as for LGBT rights, racial and social justice, and the environment. The Women's March on Washington ended up being one of the largest single-day demonstrations in recorded U.S. history.
National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024