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As much as anything, the battle for D.C. home rule was rooted in the successful ’60s grass-roots campaign to prevent large chunks of Washington from being carved up and paved over for urban highways. This seminal struggle will be addressed in “Freeways in Washington” (Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.), one of several seminars that highlight the 25th Annual Conference on Washington, D.C. Historical Studies. Sponsored by the D.C. Public Library, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and George Washington University’s Center for Washington Area Studies, the conference includes discussions of “African-American Legacies of Civil Service and Civic Contribution” and “Science in Washington” (both Oct. 30 at 3:45 p.m.) and “The Washington Fires of ’68” (Oct. 31 at 10:30 a.m.). Participants include Historical Society President Kathryn Schneider Smith, City of Magnificent Intentions author Keith Melder, architect Paul Devrouax, and the Washington Post’s Robert Kaiser. The conference begins tonight with Dr. Joanne Braxton’s lecture “Paul Laurence Dunbar: A Life of Innovation and Prophecy,” at 7:30 p.m. at the George Washington University Club Dining Room, 800 21st St. NW, and continues at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, & Saturday, Oct. 31, at Martin Luther King Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 785-2068. (Mark Jenkins)