To mark the anniversary of the March on Washington, this examiner would like to document a piece of history that happened in her own backyard.
Glen Echo Park was D.C.’s premier amusement park with the Dentzel carousel, the bumper cars, and the Crystal Pool. The carousel continues to be the main attraction of the park. The bumper cars and the Crystal Pool are relics of the past.
The park, however, has a dark history. It was a whites only park. In 1958, African-American children were transported from Montgomery County to integrate pools in Washington, D.C. That would soon change.
On June 30, 1960, Laurence Henry, 26 year-old divinity student at Howard University led two dozen Nonviolent Action Group members and two high school students to protest Glen Echo Amusement Park. The group along with some Bannockburn residents protested the park’s segregation policy. They held picket signs and sat on the famed carousel. The late Maryland senator Gwendolyn Greene Britt (D-Dist. 47) was among the protesters.
The protesters endured racist taunts and counter protests from George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party. September 11, 1960, the park closed for the season. On March 14, 1961, the park was desegregated. It is a piece of local history that should not be forgotten.
Glen Echo Park Popcorn Gallery 7300 MacArthur Boulevard Glen Echo, MD 20812 Phone & Recorded Info: 301-634-2222 www.glenechopark.org