Rainbow History Project

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Rainbow History Project Collecting and preserving LGBT history in metropolitan Washington DC

About Us Frustrated by failed attempts to identify archives and sources of information on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered history in metropolitan Washington DC, Mark Meinke placed a notice in the Washington Blade for community discussion about the problem. On November 4, 2000 Charles Rose, Bruce Pennington, Jose Gutierrez, and James Crutchfield met with Meinke at the CyberStop Cafe, formerly at 1534 17th Street NW.  The outcome of the discussions was to create the Rainbow History Project which would work to preserve our community’s memories.

Our Mission Is to collect, preserve, and promote an active knowledge of the history, arts, and culture of metropolitan Washington DC’s diverse LGBTQ+ communities.  That can be accomplished only if our collection, volunteer corps, and programming reflect and represent the full diversity of those communities and their allies.  It is therefore our fundamental policy to seek out the active participation and involvement of individuals of all backgrounds-particularly those from under-represented groups–who agree with and are committed to carrying out the goals of our organization.

Our Work Among our highest priority, initial projects were the capturing of community members’ memories for an oral history project.  Since that time, we have recorded countless oral histories, recognized many of our community pioneers, conducted research projects, public panel presentations, and amassed a collection of documents, manuscripts, and photographs for permanent storage at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Our main projects include:
  • Oral History interviews
  • Walking Tours
  • Panel Presentations
  • Gathering materials about our history
  • Recognizing our community pioneers
  • Research Assistance
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