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Book Talk: When the Smoke Cleared

July 13, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT


The 1968 uprisings that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. remain a benchmark for activism and protest in Washington, DC. Infamous for the sheer volume of property damage, looting, arrests, and federal troop presence, historian Kyla Sommers wants us to look at what came after. Join Sommers at the DC History Center on Thursday, July 13 for a conversation about her recent publication with The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II.

“When the Smoke Cleared” tells the story of the Washingtonians who seized the moment to rebuild a more just society—one that would protect and foster Black political and economic power. But as the story of the local city goes: DC’s progressive ambitions were met with federal fallout, squashing dreams of urban reimagination and self-governance. Sommers connects the 1968 uprisings to the rise of the modern carceral state under Nixon’s administration.

Copies of When the Smoke Cleared will be available for purchase and signing at the event.


DC History Center
801 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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DC History Center
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