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Film, Video Since 1968: The Drum & Spear Bookstore

Event video

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  • Since 1968: The Drum & Spear Bookstore


  • A symposium exploring the themes of cultural work, geography, and community as manifested in the history of three organizations that emerged from the social, political and cultural transformations that reshaped national and global society in 1968: the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Appalshop and the Drum and Spear Bookstore. Panel two: Established in 1968 on Fairmont Street in Washington, D.C. and operating until 1974, the bookstore (and its branch, Malezeo, located in the HUD building) was a creative hub for black power, black consciousness and internationalist activism. Founded by African-American civil rights veterans, the non-profit quickly became a leading space for cultural production and intellectual and political engagement in the city. Participants will reflect on the bookstore's leading role in expanding critical consciousness about such issues as cultural democracy, race, activism and the significance of place in the nation's capital.


  • Library of Congress
  • American Folklife Center, sponsoring body

Created / Published

  • Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 2018-09-24.


  • -  Biography, History
  • -  Government, World Affairs


  • -  Classification: History: America.
  • -  Classification: Political Science.
  • -  Classification: Social Sciences.
  • -  Joshua Davis, Courtland Cox, Judy Richardson, Jennifer Lawson, Anthony Gittens.
  • -  Recorded on 2018-09-24.
  • -  Kids, Families.
  • -  Researchers.
  • -  Teachers.
  • -  Joshua Davis is assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, where he teaches and researches broadly on 20th-century U.S. history with a focus on social movements, capitalism, urban history and African American history. His book, "From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs" examines how small businesses such as African American booksellers, natural food stores, head shops and feminist enterprises emerged out of movements and countercultures in the 1960s and '70s and sought to advance justice and equality in the marketplace. Davis has appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, and Black Perspectives, and his research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Scholar Program. He serves on the advisory board of the Baltimore Uprising 2015 Archive Project and as a research associate for the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force. He co-directs Media and the Movement, a NEH-funded oral history and radio digitization project on activists of the Civil Rights and Black Power era who worked in media.
  • -  Courtland Cox is president of CCAP Consulting and part of the DC Partners for the Revitalization of Education Projects team that works with District of Columbia Government to ensure compliance with federal and District law pertaining to CBE and workforce participation on all such projects. Other services to DC public government include consultant to the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM); director of Small Local Businesses Development for the DC Sports Entertainment Commission (DCSEC); consultant to the Anacostia Waterfront Commission, an agency charged with the development of the District's Southwest Waterfront. Cox is a veteran of the civil rights struggle. He was one of the founding members of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), served as SNCC representative to the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, organized SNCC volunteers during the Freedom Summer Project in Mississippi and helped establish the Lowndes County Freedom Party, Alabama. In 1968, Cox and colleagues in the civil rights struggle founded the Drum & Spear bookstore and Drum & Spear Press, which published books including work by C.L.R. James and children's books. In 2013, he led an initiative to establish the SNCC Legacy Project to document the contributions of SNCC's struggle for human and civil rights in America. In partnership with Duke University, the Legacy Project launched the SNCC Digital Gateway portal in 2018.
  • -  Judy Richardson was a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Georgia, Mississippi and Lowndes Co., Alabama and ran the office for Julian Bond's successful first campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives. Her movement involvement has strongly influenced her life's work, including her documentary film productions for broadcast and museums (including the award-winning 14-hour PBS series "Eyes On The Prize," PBS' "Malcolm X: Make It Plain" and all the "Little Rock 9" videos at the National Park Service Visitor Center, Arkansas), and in her writing, lecturing and workshops she conducts on the history and relevance of the Civil Rights movement. In summer 2018, Richardson co-directed a three-week NEH teacher institute on the topic at Duke University. She is the co-producer/interviewer for the National Park Service's new orientation film for its Selma-to-Montgomery site. In 1968, along with movement colleagues, Richardson co-founded the Drum & Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C., which was once the largest African American bookstore in the country, and subsequently worked for a variety of social justice organizations. She co-edited the anthology, "Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC," with several female SNCC colleagues. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Swarthmore College and was a distinguished visiting professor at Brown University. She serves on the Board of the SNCC Legacy Project, which collaborates with Duke University and others on SNCC's legacy and continuing work on contemporary issues. She is a member of the editorial board of Duke University's SNCC Digital Legacy website.
  • -  Jennifer Lawson first marched for civil rights in 1963 as a 16-year old in the "Children???s Crusade" in support of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been jailed in Birmingham. Lawson and several of her fellow high-school students were arrested and threatened with expulsion from school, but the students were subsequently reinstated and celebrated for their activism and bravery in the face of police dogs and fire hoses. She attended Tuskegee University but left the university to work as a full-time volunteer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi in 1964 and Alabama in 1965. In Lowndes County, Alabama, she drew billboards and books in support of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, which publicized the work of the people of Lowndes and their political party's symbol, the black panther. In 1968, she moved to Washington D.C. and helped fellow SNCC veterans establish Drum and Spear Bookstore and Drum and Spear Press. She served as the interior designer and logo designer of the bookstore, illustrated and co-authored the book "Children of Africa" and oversaw the translation and publication of a Ki-Swahili version, "Watoto Wa Afrika," in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. She is currently a member of the SNCC Legacy Project and has been working in its partnership with Duke University to create the SNCC Digital Gateway, an on-line site that tells important stories of the civil rights movement through the eyes of participants, from the inside out and from the bottom up.
  • -  Anthony "Tony" Gittens is founder and director of the Washington DC International Film Festival. Now in its 33rd year, Filmfest DC brings the best of new world cinema to the District of Columbia, including premieres, shorts and special events. Previously, Gittens served as executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the official cultural agency of the District of Columbia. He was a member of the Mayor's cabinet and represented the city's cultural interests at numerous gatherings and cultural settings. Gittens has received the Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters, French Ministry of Culture and Communications; the Mayor's Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts; professor emeritus of the University of the District of Columbia; member of the Washington DC Hall of Fame and Public Humanist of the Year by the Humanities Council of Washington. He was profiled in the PBS "Eyes On the Prize" series for his contributions to the Civil Rights movement.


  • 1 online resource

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021692382

Online Format

  • video
  • image
  • online text

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Credit Line: Library of Congress

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Chicago citation style:

Library Of Congress, and Sponsoring Body American Folklife Center. Since: The Drum & Spear Bookstore. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, -09-24, 2018. Video.

APA citation style:

Library Of Congress & American Folklife Center, S. B. (2018) Since: The Drum & Spear Bookstore. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, -09-24. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Library Of Congress, and Sponsoring Body American Folklife Center. Since: The Drum & Spear Bookstore. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, -09-24, 2018. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.