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On Feb. 7, 1987, the District’s then-non-voting congressional delegate, Walter Fauntroy, declared that D.C.’s statehood hopes would soon be realized during a voting rights strategy session the pastor and civil rights leader organized.
Fauntroy painted a rosy picture of the prospects for for action in both the House and the Senate during this session. He claimed the political climate has been changed by the election of a Democratic majority in the Senate last fall, many of whom owe their elections to overwhelming support from the black community (offsetting their losses among white voters) and by a weakened President [Ronald] Reagan in the White House. “The Lord only gives you a flunkin’ Reagan once in a lifetime,” Fauntroy said with obvious delight.
The congressman said the lion’s share of credit for the Democrats’ return to power in the Senate belonged to the black vote in Southern states. He predicted his statehood bill would clear the Senate early in 1988, as Democrats and Republicans “begin to get uptight” about next year’s presidential race and search for ways to increase their appeal among black voters.
As we all know, that bill did pass, and Fauntroy’s beloved New Columbia was added to the Union on…
…oh, wait. Never mind.
For the complete Today in D.C. History series, click here.