The Civil Rights Movement In The Shadows Of The Nation's Capital: The Desegregation Of Glen Echo Park, 1960
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
SubjectsAfrican American history
African American studies
Civil rights movement
Six years after the Brown ruling, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area continued to have racially segregated establishments. Although D.C. by 1960 was relatively commercially desegregated, its nearby suburbs were still hanging on to segregation at various levels. Inspired by sit-ins in Greensboro, the campaign at Glen Echo brought meaningful success. Although the work that was done contributed to the national movement, Glen Echo has not been documented in the specific history of sit-ins or the Civil Rights Movement in general. Overshadowed by more prominent, national civil rights activities, which occurred shortly after the Glen Echo activities, no official study has been done about this suburban park's integration. This work analyzes the desegregation of Glen Echo by focusing on factors that impacted its development factors. This case study uses a political opportunity theoretical approach to analyze the evolution of this local protest while addressing the key question: How did certain opportunities influence the protest? Because there is a lack of published work on Glen Echo's integration, the majority of sources used for this thesis are primary. The development of these protests was uncovered through correspondences, photographs, news reports, and oral histories. This study finds that factors of media, motivations, resources, organization, and leadership impacted the development of the protests. Analysis of these opportunity structures show how, despite challenges, organizers were able to create positive change. These opportunities reflected the movement's nature, participants were further inspired to continue their activism, and legal action resulting from Glen Echo cases had direct connections with the momentous Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although small and local, Glen Echo's integration not only related to the national movement, but influenced it as well.