A Community Exploring Its Past
While most Americans probably think of Capitol Hill as simply the site of the U.S. Capitol, those who live here know it as an old and thriving residential neighborhood, a small town within a large city. The Overbeck Project captures the history of this community by recording the recollections of its longtime residents and preserving other records of its fascinating past.
Project volunteers collect and transcribe interviews for posting on this site. We also sponsor a highly successful lecture series exploring our city's history. We urge you too to get involved in this exciting effort, sponsored by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.
A special Black History Month event, co-sponsored by the Overbeck Project and Capitol Hill Village, was held February 23, 2013, to commemorate the 50th anniversary year of the 1963 March on Washington. A full description of the event can be found in Capitol Hill Village's newsletter for March, 2013.
We extend heartfelt thanks to our keynote speaker Paul Delaney; panel moderator Rev. Edward A. Hailes, Jr.; panelists Courtland Cox, Rev. Reginald Green, Mrs. Nettie Hailes, Daniel Smith, Brig Cabe, and Judy Bardacke; the chorus of Friendship Public Charter School, Chamberlain Campus, and the school's instrumental music director Michael Hawkins. We are also grateful to the Lutheran Church of the Reformation for hosting the event, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation and the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation for financial support, and Capitol Hill Village member Mike Canning, who served as master of ceremonies.
Congratulations to these winners of the student speech contest conducted in conjunction with the event: Tania Holland (Eastern High School), High School First Prize; Taijuan Carter (Eastern High School), High School Runner-up; Mary Robison (Capitol Hill Day School), Middle School First Prize; and Jhonathan Wilson (Two Rivers PCS), Middle School Runner-up. The prizes were awarded during the February 23 event, and the two first prize winners delivered their speeches as part of the program.
The impetus to hold such an event grew from a February, 2012, gathering sponsored by Capitol Hill Village, where people shared their personal memories of the 1963 March. Overbeck Project volunteers supported the effort by recording and transcribing the presentations and discussion that took place. The full transcript of that session is available. View Online | View PDF
The Feb. 23 event is over, but the Overbeck Project's special page devoted to Memories of the March remains. We continue to welcome submission of individual memories of the 1963 March using our online form, and we invite everyone to read the memories that have been submitted. Each of those stories reflects what one individual saw and felt on August 28, 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his "I Have a Dream" speech to an unprecedented crowd that had gathered on the Washington Mall. Relatives and friends of those who need assistance are welcome to post on the other person's behalf.
The Overbeck Project has gone into publishing, with a wonderful new book by Washington writer Mary Z. Gray describing the Capitol Hill of her 1920s childhood. Go to the Overbeck History Press page to learn more about 301 East Capitol: Tales From the Heart of the Hill.
Born in 1919, Mary Gray grew up above her family's inherited funeral home at 301 East Capitol (a building owned today by the Folger Shakespeare Library) and was a regular contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications for over half a century. Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson calls her "one of the funniest raconteurs I know." Her book is available at local shops and at Amazon.com.
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|The Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project, Washington, D.C.|