Tag Archives: documents posts images photos individuals

Five million photo views…what’s next for Washington Area Spark?

20 Nov

Read the story and view the images of a 1936-41 D.C. battle against police brutality.


We’ve now topped five million image views of nearly 4,000 images plus thousands of document downloads and close to 100,000 views of our blog posts. Interest in the history of social change-makers and would-be social change-makers keeps growing.

Whether you’re an activist seeking to hone your skills, a history buff, a researcher, looking up your family history or a student doing a term paper, the Washington Area Spark can get you started down a fascinating road.

What do we have? Digitalized images, documents and blog posts on the struggles for social and economic justice and against U.S. imperialism in the greater Washington, D.C. area that occurred prior to the advent of the Internet.

What’s coming

In the coming months we hope to publish three blog posts now being researched:

  • An unsung woman who was a heroine of the D.C. civil rights movement
  • A woman who led a militant union and fought for equality for women in the 1940s
  • The transformation of the U.S. National Student Association from a CIA-funded organization to a CIA-spied upon organization.

In addition, we hope to upgrade our website further by providing links on the blog post guide, image guide and documents pages so you can more quickly get to the categories you are interested in—rather than scrolling all the way down the page.

Our images

DC area SDS: 1963-69

See photos and read the stories of the legendary Students for Democratic Society (SDS) in action in the D.C. area.

And, as always, we will continue to upload new images and documents to our Flickr site and our documents archive of struggles for social and economic justice and against U.S. imperialism abroad that occurred prior to 1990.


Browse our images for what’s interesting to you:

Our blog posts

Our blog posts can also be accessed a number of different ways. Features located on the right side of the website (at the bottom of the page on mobile) include links to:

  • Recent posts (newest to oldest)
  • Top posts and pages (recently popular)
  • Archives (select decade of interest
  • Search (enter a keyword for the subject you’re interested in)
  • Additionally, you may browse by subject in the Navigation tab at the top of the page (subjects are listed alphabetically).

TDA–The Day After the Chicago 8/7 conspiracy trial verdict: 1970. See all documents.

Our documents

Our documents can be accessed on the Documents tab at the top of the page. They are listed by subject alphabetically and within each subject by date. See local alternative newspapers and newspapers, including the vintage Washington Area spark, and a few rare national alternative newspapers by scrolling all the way down the documents page.

Where did the name come from?

We’ve gotten a few inquiries about the origins of the Spark name. The original Montgomery Spark name was a confluence of three influences:

  • The Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin published a paper called Iskra (Spark) and this was known to the Montgomery College students who started the paper, but this was not the prime reason for the selection of the name.
  • The University of Maryland Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had published a student newsletter called Spark that influenced some of the Montgomery College students.
  • Lastly the Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong had penned an essay entitled “A single spark can start a prairie fire.” Mao borrowed an old saying for his essay, but it had a dual meaning for anti-establishment Montgomery Spark. A single copy of the newspaper could influence someone to spark societal change and the paper newspaper could also literally be set afire to wreak havoc in the turbulent early 1970s.

Want to use an image?

Our most common inquiry is the use of images posted. All images are marked on the individual image page as “all rights reserved,” “non-commercial use permitted with attribution” or “public domain.” Most have the identification of the original source of the photograph or image at the end of the photo description. If you wish to use an image marked “all rights reserved” or seek a for-profit use of a “non-commercial use permitted,” you will need to contact the holder of the rights to the image.

Do you have images or documents?

Spark is a way to make images and documents from past activism available to all. If you have mementos of past activism in the greater Washington, D.C. area such as photos or flyers or alternative newspapers from events or times prior to 1990 and would like to add them to the Spark site, please contact us.

If you’d like to donate them, we’ll be glad to make arrangements. We can scan them for our site and arrange to donate them to a library. If you’d like to keep your mementos, we can scan them and return them to you.

If you have questions or need assistance, contact us at Washington_Area_Spark@yahoo.com.