The Montgomery, Montgomery County and Washington Area Spark were left-wing tabloids that were published monthly from 1971-73. A successor publication called On The Move published five issues from early 1974 to early 1975.

The name was revived in 2011 when photos from the archives of the newspaper were published on Flickr along with set descriptions that gave context to the events depicted in the images.

Other images of anti-intervention, labor, civil rights, civil liberties and other struggles from the pre-internet era in the greater Washington, DC area have been added to the Flickr site.

This blog site under the same name now occasionally examines historical struggles by working families in the greater Washington, DC area to understand and identify lessons learned that might be applied today. Some articles that appeared in the original newspaper have been republished with additional images.

Broad Contribution Guidelines

Please feel free to submit your contributions, but keep them within the following broad guidelines:

  • Base your article on events occurring in the greater Washington, DC area before 1990.
  • Identify images for which you have or can obtain rights to publish.
  • Keep in mind the viewpoints expressed on this site are left of center.
  • Articles should be fact based. Use reasonable sources or cite the more marginal ones in your article.
  • Let the facts do most of your arguments.
  • Articles can be long or short (an interesting photograph from the period with a description of its significance).

If you want to discuss a potential submission, please e-mail washington_area_spark@yahoo.com. Submissions are not guaranteed to be posted and may be edited.

Washington Area Spark Flickr

Washington Area Spark YouTube

Washington Area Spark Facebook


Daniel Hardin

Daniel Hardin

Daniel Hardin is the screen name of an amateur historian interested in progressive movements and people. He has lived all his life in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

He became active in the anti-Vietnam war movement in the late 1960s and has remained active in various antiwar activities in the decades since. He also maintains an interest in the environmental, LGBT, women’s, labor and civil rights movements.

Craig Simpson

Rally Against Apartheid at South African Embassy !985 # 4
Craig Simpson in 1985

Craig Simpson has a BA in labor studies from the National Labor College and currently splits his time between Vermont and North Carolina.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a student activist. He is a former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) bus operator who served 18 years on the executive board of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, including seven and one-half years as Secretary-Treasurer.

After his retirement, he  worked with the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIOProgressive Maryland and ATU Local 689 on political and legislative issues. In 2013, He was hired as executive director of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 until he retired again in December 2016.

Sue Reading

Hotel Workers Hit GOP 1974 # 18
Sue Reading in 1974

Sue Reading was an original Washington Area Spark and On The Move contributor who also later contributed to the revived Washington Area Spark website and photo collection through writing and editing.

Reading grew up in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh and attended Alverno College in Milwaukee from 1964-66.

When the U.S. invaded Cambodia in 1970, she quit her job at a Washington, D.C. advertising agency, got divorced, and began to participate in political activities against the Vietnam War and for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and prison reform.

She worked for the US National Student Association from 1970-73, producing their newsletter with Craig Simpson. She helped to organize annual conventions of the NSA and traveled to at least two of those gatherings at campuses in the midwest. In the later part of her days at NSA Sue worked with the Source Collective, a group dedicated to creating and publishing guides to organizations dedicated to alternative, progressive ways of conducting vital functions of society: Communications, Education, Healthcare, and more.

In the mid-70s she moved to Oklahoma City. She eventually got married and learned to drive an 18-wheeler and hauled heavy equipment across the country with her husband. Their daughter Susanne was born in 1980. Sue and her family moved to Austin in 1983, and she was divorced in 1985.

She worked as a legal assistant and later started building websites so that she could stay at home to raise her daughter. She helped to organize Austin Free-Net, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free computer and Internet access and training in libraries and community centers.

She is currently working in Austin as a freelance copy editor and participating in progressive community activities, learning Spanish and Argentine Tango.

–biography updated 4/2020

Bob Simpson

Bob Simpson being arrested during Occupy Chicago in 2011.
Bob Simpson in 2011

Robert “Bob” Simpson is a former University of Maryland and Washington, DC area social justice activist who moved to Chicago, Illinois in the mid-1970s.

He taught high school history before retiring and later worked in web production. He is one half of the Carol Simpson labor cartoon team.

Bob was an activist in greater Chicago and a regular contributor to the Daily KosCounter Punch and has his own blog The Bobbosphere  until his death in November 2023.

Anonymous I & II

Stencil of Woman Power

Anonymous I & II are women who contributed to the Montgomery Spark and Washington Area Spark from 1971-73. At the time, none of the articles in the alternative tabloid contained bylines. Instead they were attributed to the collective group, although they were authored by individuals. Both women have chosen to have their articles republished from that newspaper in the same manner they appeared originally–anonymously.


Contributors can be contacted by e-mailing washington_area_spark@yahoo.com

Want to be a contributor?

See the above for submission guidelines.


If you need to make a citation for a research paper, article or book and there is no author for a blog post or photo description, you may cite Craig Simpson as editor, along with the site (Spark Flickr or WordPress URL), the date the material was uploaded and the date accessed. If you have questions about the source of information, please contact us at washington_area_spark@yahoo.com

8 Responses to “About”

  1. Ellen Pechman April 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    I am searching for the author of the excellent articles on the history of the integration of Glen Echo Park (Maryland) in the summer of 1960. Please see details of our project, The Glen Echo Documentary Project on Facebook. I am writing this on April 23, 2017 and would like specifically to try to reach anyone who might have been involved in doing this excellent history. Thanks. Ellen Pechman ellenpechman@gmail.com

  2. Alcione Amos June 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm #

    I am interested in a photo published on your site about the desegregation of the Anacostia Pool. Would be possible to be obtain it in high resolution for publication?

    • Craig Simpson June 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi, I’m not sure which one you are interested in however while we own copies of the photos, I don’t think we own the rights. While more research is needed. I suspect all are newspaper or wire service photos. You can check the Associated Press and Getty sites.

  3. Kate Yemelyanov October 24, 2018 at 11:23 pm #

    Preparing a presentation on Bonus Army for class at National Defense University and I am so, so grateful for your Flickr collection on the topic! Thank you for capturing so much vital and little-known information about so many aspects of this area’s history.

  4. David Raizman January 10, 2019 at 6:50 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting the Lawrence G. Harvey photograph of Malcolm X with one of the “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s Rye bread” posters c. 1964. I’m trying to locate Mr, Harvey’s archive or estate in to get permission to publish the photo in a book I’m working on. Can anyone help? thanks

    • Craig Simpson January 10, 2019 at 11:01 pm #

      The family in Philadelphia would be a place to start. Perhaps his church could direct you.

      • David Raizman February 24, 2019 at 4:52 pm #

        Craig – I found the name of the church from an article on this site by Daniel Hardin – does anyone know Daniel’s email address or phone #?I’d like to get in touch as I work a bit more on Laurence Henry….THANKS!

  5. Craig Simpson February 27, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Hi David, e-mail me at Washington_area_spark@yahoo.com. –Craig Simpson

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