Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reverend Walter E. Fauntoy Speaks @ Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library

The DC Public Library is pleased to announce that the Reverend Walter E. Fauntroy, former Congressional Delegate for the District of Columbia and civil rights activist will speak on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, in the Great Hall. He will discuss his new book This is My Story. This is My Song: A Pastor and His People, which documents his 50 years of service to the New Bethel Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C.

Fauntroy, a Washington, D.C. native grew up in the Shaw neighborhood of the District of Columbia, during the midst of the Great Depression. A graduate of Virginia Union in 1955 with a degree in history, Fauntroy entered Yale University on a scholarship. In 1958 the school awarded him a Bachelor of Divinity.

Civil Rights Activist

Fauntroy as an activist experimented with the concept of nonviolent civil disobedience, in Washington, D.C. He organized students and began picketing Woolworth stores and businesses that refused black patronage. He also led the District's Interdenominational Ministers Alliance in protesting the removal of blacks from valuable downtown land. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. selected Fauntroy to lead the Washington Bureau of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC, in 1960. In 1963, Fauntroy was responsible for planning and coordinating the logistics for the March on Washington, in which Dr. King made his famous I have a Dream speech.

Washington D.C. Congressional Delegate 1971 to 1990

In 1970 President Nixon signed into law a provision for an elected nonvoting delegate to the Congress from the District of Columbia. Fauntroy was elected as the first nonvoting congressman from the District of Columbia, in 100 years. In Congress, Fauntroy was a instrumental in campaigning for home rule in the District of Columbia, an elected municipal government chosen by the people for the District. Fauntroy skillfully guided home rule legislation through Congress, giving the District's majority black population locally elected government in 1975. After nearly twenty years of distinguished Congressional service, in 1990, Fauntroy relinquished his Congressional seat to run for District mayor. He was succeeded by Eleanor Holmes Norton, as the District's Congressional Delegate.

Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church

From the New Bethel Baptist Church in Shaw, Reverend Fauntroy started his social minstry and retired in January 2010, after 50 years of service.


Walter Edward Fauntroy” in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Adminstration by the Office of History & Preservation, U. S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008.

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