World War I in Washington

By Susan McElrath, Host Committee Member

In honor of the centennial of World War I, we thought we would share a few fun facts about the Great War:

Washington Steel & Ordnance Company (1907-1922)

In 1907, the Washington Steel and Ordnance Co. opened for business. Firth-Sterling Steel Company of McKeesport, Pennsylvania built and operated the 10 acre plant which produced armor-piercing shells for the Navy. The workforce and the output at the plant doubled during World War I, but by 1922, Washington’s only steel plant closed. The plant’s site on Gieseboro Point is now the home of Bolling Air Force Base.


LC Washington Steel and Ordnance

Courtesy: Library of Congress


Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Walter Reed General Hospital admitted its first patients on May 1, 1909. Named in honor of Major Walter Reed, the army physician who led the team that confirmed that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes, the medical center integrated patient care, teaching and research. World War I saw the hospital’s capacity grow from 80 patient beds to 2,500 in a matter of months.


Walter Reed Soldiers

Courtesy: Library of Congress


Camp American University

In 1917, American University (AU) offered the government use of its unfinished campus for army training. At the time, AU only had two buildings Hurst Hall and McKinley. The Army used both buildings during the war years. The army stationed thousands of personnel at Camp Leach between 1917 and 1919. Temporary barracks and tents filled the once empty campus.


WWI Barracks

Courtesy: American University Archives


The government established two separate camps, Camp American University and Camp Leach. The largest operation was the Engineer Officers’ Reserve Corps training camp. Camp Leach also offered training for camouflagers and foresters. By early 1918, over 10,000 troops had trained at Camp American University. Most belonged to special engineer units that were quickly “graduated” and shipped overseas.


Camouflage training

Courtesy: American University Archives


Camp American University was the birthplace of American chemical warfare. Scientists working with the army’s Gas and Flame Battalion (the 30th Engineers) developed gases and apparatuses for use at the front. The 30th were the first American chemical combat troops. The regiment received training in trench warfare and signaling as well as learning to setup smoke screens using special mortars. As of October 1918, the gas service employed 1,700 soldiers and scientists and built 70 temporary laboratories on AU’s campus.



Trench warfare

Courtesy: American University Archives


If you want to learn more about World War I, you might want to visit these exhibits:

 “Artist Soldiers: Artistic Expression in the First World War” at the National Air and Space Museum

“Put on Your Mask, You Damn Fool!” at the National Museum of Health and Medicine

If you are coming early, you can watch The Millionaires’ Unit: U.S. Naval Aviators in the First World War on August 11 at the National Air and Space Museum.

Don’t forget to visit the DC War Memorial in West Potomac Park which commemorates the citizens of the District of Columbia who served in World War I. Authorized by an act of Congress on June 7, 1924, contributions of both organizations and individual citizens of the District provided the funds to construct the memorial. The cornerstone features a list of 26,000 Washingtonians who served in the Great War while the names of the 499 District of Columbia citizens who lost their lives in the war are inscribed on the base.



LGBTQ+ DC: Resources, Events, and More

By Katie Seitz, Host Committee Member

The Host Committee welcomes you to DC! The District has long been a haven for LGBTQ+ people and culture, through generations of activism and shifting tides of popular acceptance. DC is the home of the first independent church formed for LGBTQ+ people of color (Faith Temple), the first openly LGBTQ+ student organization at an HBCU (the Lambda Student Alliance at Howard University), and other important gay historical and political milestones. DC is generally a welcoming and safe place for LGBTQ+ people, and HRC’s State Equality Index gives it the top ranking of “Working Toward Innovative Equality,” along with twelve states, for its robust non-discrimination laws and protections.

As the capital of the United States, DC is also home to the headquarters of many a national LGBTQ+ organization. Our reputation for combining entertainment with political activism is well-deserved. In fact, a popular way for DC’s queer glitterati to socialize is through weekly – or even more frequent – happy hour and bar-related fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. A quick search through Facebook and Eventbrite for happy hours related to an organization or fundraising campaign of your choice will most likely yield an event every night of your stay.

Ruby Corado and friend, 2013 Capital Pride.

Activist Ruby Corado, founder of Casa Ruby, with a friend, 2013 Capital Pride – Kaiser Permanente Silver Sponsor 25637, June 8, 2013. Taken by Ted Eytan, Used under Creative Commons license.

DC is also home to its own LGBTQ+ organizations and groups for nearly every identity. Keeping them on your radar will allow you to check their social media for events in the weeks leading up to the conference. Many organizations of note are, helpfully, listed on the DC government’s website.

Located near the U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo metro station (green/yellow lines), The DC LGBT Center “educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.” Specifically, DC Center hosts support groups, potlucks, discussions, and more. Their event calendar is packed year-round, and helpful if you’re looking for something less bar or club-focused to do while you’re here. If you are looking specifically for Asian American, African American, or Latinx events and groups, check both the event calendar and their home page’s People of Color tab. DC’s free gay weekly paper, the Metro Weekly, also has an event calendar, though it is largely focused on health.

Nightlife and Events
While Dupont Circle is DC’s best-known gayborhood, LGBTQ+ nightlife has always been found across the city. DC LGBTQ+ magazines Metro Weekly, Tagg Magazine, and the Washington Blade all have online nightlife listings or best-of lists that are great places to start hunting for your perfect night out. 18th Street bars like Larry’s Lounge, and the Duplex Diner are gay strongholds that also happen to be close to the Wardman Park Marriott. The 17th Street Corridor, Logan Circle, and U Street neighborhoods in the NW quadrant of DC are all LGBTQ+ social hubs and within walking distance of the hotel and conference site.

If you’re looking for queer events centering gender-nonconforming bodies of color, don’t-miss Pretty Boi Drag, a queer black drag happening with weekly events. For the most up-to-the-moment event calendar of spaces and parties centering queer women, check out PhatGirlChic a few days before you arrive. Long-running tea dance Over Easy, hosted by Where the Girls Go, QrewDC events, and Bodywork D.C. parties come recommended.

If you’re more interested in cinema, the Joint Annual Meeting happens to overlap with the DC Black Film Festival – check out the link for tickets and film listings. But the chillest of chill parties won’t be listed on any LGBTQ+ event website! Consider stopping by the Sunday afternoon drum circle at Malcolm X Park (just north of U Street, and also walking distance from the conference). This 40-year-old community gathering is an all-ages, all-musical-abilities way to connect with DC locals – and maybe your own sense of rhythm.

LGBTQ+ History
For the history-minded, DC has so much to offer. From the AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Furies Collective, DC’s LGBTQ+ history is interwoven with the fabric of the country. The Rainbow History Project has created self-guided LGBTQ+ history walking tours covering African American history, the Capitol Hill neighborhood, drag history, Dupont Circle, East Dupont, South Capitol Street, Walt Whitman in DC, and women’s history. CurbedDC has an LGBT landmarks map covering such diverse terrain as Frank Kameny’s house/base of operations and the Enik Alley Coffeehouse, while including the Pentagon – site of one of the best-known early lesbian/gay rights demonstrations – and the White House. Don’t forget to check out the online archival repositories created by the Rainbow History Project and the Latino GLBT History Project, which are the work of dedicated local historians and archivists preserving DC’s LGBTQ+ history.

Faith Communities
DC’s LGBTQ+ residents have a proud tradition of creating faith communities that affirm us, even when most do not. Faith Temple, created in 1982 by Howard University journalism professor James Tinney, was the first independent church formed for LGBTQ+ people of color, and it still exists today. Tagg Magazine’s list of LGBTQ-positive churches and religious groups (including Muslims for Progressive Values DC) is one place to start. Queer Jews can check out Bet Mishpachah, an inclusive, egalitarian congregation for LGBTQ+ Jews formed in 1975.

If you have health needs while you are in DC, Whitman-Walker Health provides LGBTQ+-focused health care. Their multiple clinics offer emergency testing, free safer sex supplies, and more.

If you are in recovery and want to attend LGBTQ+ AA or NA meetings while you are here, there are many to choose from. The Triangle Club and the Dupont Circle Club host regular AA meetings within walking distance of the conference. More meetings can also be found through WAIA, Gay and Sober DC, and GAL-AA. For a list of local NA meetings, visit CPR-NA.

We’re Excited!
DC’s vibrant mix of cultures, and communities means that at least one of these events and places should sound exciting to you! We welcome you to the District and hope that your conference experience includes exploring a bit of what LGBTQ+ DC has to offer.


Bookstores, Bars, Baristas: The Bibliophile’s Tour of DC

By Anna Yallouris, Host Committee Member

If you are looking for a local bookstore or a quiet cafe to read or get some work done during the conference, DC has no shortage of independent bookstores and bookish destinations. Browse used and rare books, enjoy literary themed craft cocktails, cozy up with a cup of coffee and a good read, or dine at one of DC’s neighborhood bookstore cafes. The city offers a wide range of new and used bookstores in addition to literary themed bars, restaurants, and cafes worth checking out during your stay.  Below are a few popular spots and a list of additional bookstores to explore if you have extra time. Happy Reading!

Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse

Politics and Prose is a spacious independent bookstore located in Upper Northwest, about a 10 minute ride from the conference.  P&P has a large selection of books, holds author events regularly, and offers a range of classes and programs. Be sure to check out their schedule of events during your visit.  In addition to the bookstore, The Den Coffeehouse and Wine Bar is located on the basement level of the bookstore.  The Den serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – stop by for a glass of wine, light fare or enjoy a cup of coffee or latte from one of the talented baristas.  The space can fill up quickly especially on the weekends, but is a nice treat after browsing the bookshelves.

P&P recently opened another location at the Wharf, D.C’s Southwest Waterfront.  Although it is much smaller, they too have author events, and it is a beautiful location surrounded by restaurants, shops, and a waterfront view.


Politics and Prose at the Wharf

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

If you don’t have time for multiple bookstore stops, Kramerbooks is the most conveniently located to the conference and is well worth a trip. Located in DuPont Circle, Kramerbooks is about a 6 minute ride from the conference hotel and is one stop away from Woodley Park metro on the red line, just outside the north exit of Dupont Circle metro station. Opened in 1976, Kramerbooks is DC’s first bookstore/cafe. It is a lively atmosphere complete with a bar, restaurant and newly expanded store that holds a number of book-related events. Dine at the Afterwords Cafe  and check out their full service bar for a “Gin of Gatbsy” or “Lord of the Pimms”. Happy hour specials are offered daily, and the late night menu is open until 1 AM on the weekdays and 3 AM on the weekends.



The Potter’s House

Another bookstore/cafe, The Potter’s House is also conveniently located near the conference in Adams Morgan and is about a 20 minute walk from Woodley Park metro or a quick drive. A nonprofit cafe, bookstore, and event space that specializes in social movements, cultural studies, and spiritual movements, they host author events and the cafe serves breakfast all day long.

Petworth Citizen & Reading Room

Although this is not a bookstore, The Reading Room is one of my favorite spots in the city. This book speakeasy of sorts is easy to miss, hidden in the back of Petworth Citizen, and features literary themed cocktails.  It is an intimate library setting with very limited seating where you will find yourself surrounded by books. Each weekend, the Reading Room’s bartender, Chantal Tseng, creates a limited-edition menu based on an author, book or literary theme. This weekly series of creative Literary Cocktails offers a unique experience for book lovers and cocktail connoisseurs.

The Reading Room is only open Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 7PM and I recommend arriving early, as it will get crowded quickly.  Otherwise, be prepared to wait at Petworth Citizen’s main bar or enjoy a meal beforehand which is not a bad option either: the food and drinks are great.

Just next door to Petworth Citizen you can stop by Upshur Street Books: a fun bookstore that has quirky books, and focuses on promoting DC culture and serving the community through books.


The Reading Room

Additional bookstores to explore:

Second story books: DuPont Circle collection of out-of-print, used and rare books. Within walking distance from Kramerbooks.

Busboys and Poets: Multiple locations (flagship location is  at 14th & V St NW in the U Street Corridor) – named after American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel.  A community gathering place that includes a restaurant and bookstore. Busboys and Poets promotes cultural, political and historical awareness, and is deeply committed to showcasing books and authors who have contributed to social justice . Diverse selection of books, author events and good food!

Capitol Hill Books: Used bookstore located near Eastern Market.

Riverby Books: A cozy used bookstore on Capitol Hill.

The Lantern Bookshop: Georgetown used bookshop – buy 4 books, get the 5th free!

Bridge Street Books: Georgetown bookstore (new books).

Idle Time Books: Used books, newspapers, records and CDs in the heart of Adams Morgan.




Ten Memorials off the Mall you should check out

By Susan McElrath, Host Committee Member

  1. African American Civil War Memorial

The African American Civil War Memorial, at the corner of Vermont Avenue, 10th Street, and U Street NW, commemorates the service of 209,145 African-American soldiers and the 20,000 Navy seamen, who fought for the Union in the American Civil War. The sculpture, The Spirit of Freedom, is a 9-foot bronze statue by Ed Hamilton of Louisville, Kentucky, commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 1993 and completed in 1997. The memorial includes a walking area with curved panel short walls inscribed with the names of the men who served in the war.


African American Civil War Memorial

Courtesy: National Park Service


  1. Temperance Fountain

The Temperance Fountain is located at 678 Indiana Ave NW, (the intersection of 7th and Pennsylvania). The fountain was donated to D.C. in 1882 by Henry D. Cogswell, a dentist from San Francisco and temperance activist. He designed and commissioned a series of to provide easy access to cool drinking water which he hoped would keep people from consuming alcoholic beverages.


  1. Samuel Gompers Memorial

The Samuel Gompers Memorial. is located at intersection of 10th Street, L Street, and Massachusetts Avenues. The bronze statue is in memory of Samuel Gompers, an English-born American cigar maker, labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. Albert Einstein Memorial

The Albert Einstein Memorial is a monumental bronze statue depicting Albert Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand by sculptor Robert Berks. It is located a grove of trees at the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences at 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W., near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.



  1. Henry Longfellow Statue

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow statue is located at the intersection of M Street and Connecticut Avenue. The bronze statue, by William Couper and Thomas Ball was dedicated on May 7, 1909. An association including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Cabot Lodge, Charles William Eliot, Edward Everett Hale, and Julia Ward Howe raised money for the effort. Members of the organization. The poet’s granddaughter, Erica Thorp, presided at the unveiling ceremony which was attended by Chief Justice Melville Fuller and featured the United States Marine Band.


  1. Guglielmo Marconi Statue

Guglielmo Marconi is a public artwork by Attilio Piccirilli, located at the intersection of 16th and Lamont Streets, NW, in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. It is a tribute to Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. It was paid for by public subscription and erected in 1941. The artwork was listed on both the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.


  1.  Adams Memorial

The Adams Memorial is a grave marker located in Section E of Rock Creek Cemetery, featuring a cast bronze allegorical sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The shrouded figure is seated against a granite block which forms one side of a hexagonal plot, designed by architect Stanford White. Across a small light-toned granite plaza, a comfortable stone bench invites visitors to rest and meditate. The memorial was commissioned in 1886 to honor Marian “Clover” Hooper Adams, deceased photographer and wife of novelist Henry Adams. Eleanor Roosevelt was one its many famous visitors.


Adams Memorial by St. Gaudens

Courtesy: National Park Service


  1. Titanic Memorial

The Titanic Memorial is a granite statue in southwest D.C., that honors the men who gave their lives so that women and children might be saved during the RMS Titanic disaster. The thirteen-foot-tall figure is of a partly clad male figure with arms outstretched standing on a square base. The base is flanked by a square arcade by Henry Bacon, that encloses a small raised platform. The statue was erected by the Women’s Titanic Memorial Association. Originally located at the foot of New Hampshire Avenue, NW in Rock Creek Park, the monument was removed in 1966 to accommodate the Kennedy Center. The memorial now sits at Fourth and P Streets, SW, in Washington Channel Park. It was designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who won the commission in open competition, and sculpted by John Horrigan from a single piece of red granite. It was unveiled May 26, 1931, by Helen Herron Taft, the widow of President Taft.


  1. Cuban Friendship Urn

The Cuban Friendship Urn, also known as the Cuban-American Friendship Urn or USS Maine Memorial is located in East Potomac Park, south of the Tidal Basin near the north end of the 14th Street Bridge. Decorations on the 7-foot tall marble urn include an eagle with its wings outstretched and human figures depicted in a neoclassical style. It once stood atop a column of marble in Havana, to commemorate the U.S. sailors and Marines who lost their lives aboard the USS Maine when it sank in Havana harbor in 1898, and the friendship and bonds between Cuba and the United States. A hurricane in October 1926 knocked the column over, and in 1928 the urn was sent to the United States and presented to President Calvin Coolidge. According to the National Park Service, the urn was placed in a West Potomac Park rose garden in 1928, where it remained until the 1940s, when it was moved for the 14th Street Bridge. The urn was placed in East Potomac Park in 1998.


  1. DC War Memorial

The District of Columbia War Memorial commemorates the citizens of the District of Columbia who served in World War I. The memorial stands in West Potomac Park in a grove of trees. Authorized by an act of Congress on June 7, 1924, contributions of  organizations and individual citizens of the District provided the funds to construct the memorial. Construction began in the spring of 1931, and President Herbert Hoover dedicated the memorial on November 11, 1931. It was the first war memorial to be erected in West Potomac Park, and remains the only local District memorial on the National Mall. Designed by Washington architect Frederick H. Brooke, the District of Columbia War Memorial is a circular, domed, peristyle Doric temple that was intended for use as a bandstand. Preserved in the cornerstone of the District of Columbia World War Memorial is a list of 26,000 Washingtonians who served in the Great War. Inscribed on the base are the names of the 499 District of Columbia citizens who lost their lives in the war and medallions representing the branches of the armed forces.


DC World War I Memorial

Courtesy: National Park Service

History in our midst

By Jen King, Host Committee Member

If you are looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors during your visit to DC you might try the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath.

In 1825 Congress chartered the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company to build a canal parallel to the unnavigable Potomac River to serve as a commercial waterway carrying goods to and from Washington DC and Cumberland Maryland and the headwaters of the Ohio River. President John Quincy Adams broke ground for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in July 1828.

Beset by economic and environmental difficulties, the canal was never an economic success and, throughout its history, many debated whether to create a national park on the site or pave the canal and construct a scenic parkway. The Federal government purchased the canal in 1938, and in 1954 Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas invited two Washington Post reporters on the first thru-hike along the 184.5 mile towpath to promote the natural beauty of the canal. Following Douglas’ lead, a group of concerned citizens founded the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association as an advocacy organization to convert the canal to a national park. Douglas’ thru-hike is often considered a pivotal moment that lead to the canal becoming a national park in 1971. Today Washingtonians use the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal as a recreational space, a gateway to nature, and a respite from their urban setting.

The host committee invites you to take a break from the conference and enjoy a short stroll, a run, or perhaps a longer bike ride entering the canal from its starting point in Georgetown. If you venture beyond Georgetown you will see working locks along the canal, rapids and dams of the Potomac River, lock keepers’ houses and other historic structures. Bike 15 flat miles to see Great Falls. Remember to bring water. C & O Canal Ramble Georgetown to Great Falls

Aren’t planning to bring a bike to SAA? No problem. Capital Bikeshare has been serving the city since 2008 and has numerous docking stations throughout the city including stations close to the Marriott Wardman Park and in Georgetown. In addition to Capital Bikeshare, this past September the city began a trial of dockless bike options. For this trial the city authorized five dockless bike companies, Mobike, LimeBike, Spin, Jump and Ofo. The trial ends in April and it is not yet known which of these companies will be serving the city in August. All these bikes are easy to spot and easy to use. Please do not forget your bike helmet.


Capital Bikeshare rack