DC History Conference features topics ripped from recent headlines

The D.C. History Conference gets underway this week, and several topics that will be covered during the event will be directly tied to recent headlines, including Congress overriding legislation that was passed by District lawmakers.

“If you have an interest in D.C. and its neighborhoods and the issues of statehood and disenfranchisement, there’s really something for everyone,” said Laura Brower Hagood, executive director of the DC History Center, which is helping to put on the three-day event.

The history conference at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday. It comes just days after President Joe Biden signed into law legislation nullifying the recent overhaul of the District of Columbia criminal code.

The program features more than 100 presenters across 25 sessions, panels and talks. It is free to all attendees, but online preregistration is required.

“There is something very different every day,” Hagood said.

Attendees Thursday will hear from Tamika Nunley, author of “At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.”

A Friday panel will highlight D.C.’s history of disenfranchisement, illuminating how the federal government has the authority to step in and block locally passed laws.

On Saturday, the conference concludes with a 50th anniversary remembrance of the Home Rule Act, which gave voters in the District the ability to elect a mayor and council.

“The D.C. History Conference is really for us as a community,” Hagood said. “It’s for anyone in the region who has an interest in our local history.”

Biden’s decision to nullify D.C.’s criminal code overhaul marked the end of a raucous first chapter in a saga that has left district lawmakers bitterly nursing their political bruises, harboring fresh resentments against national Democrats and bracing to play defense against a Republican-controlled House for at least the next two years.

“Here in D.C., we want to have political representation,” Hagood said. “Looking at the history of this is really important in terms of understanding the current context.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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