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Washington Community Video Center (WCVC) Collection

 Collection — external hard drive: DIG_00031
Identifier: 210

Content Description

Content topics include: May Day Demonstrations, Paris Peace Talks, Welfare Recipients speaking out, urban conditions, Kathleen Cleaver, a video made and directed by welfare mothers, housing in Adams Morgan, Allen Ginsberg at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 1970 interviews with pro-war demonstrators at a rally called by Reverend Carl McIntire, and more.


  • Creation: 1970 - 1975

Language of Materials

English, Spanish, Vietnamese

Conditions Governing Access

Three of the videos contain nudity are are viewable only at The People's Archive: Home movies, women's health, and a community group (dcpl_210_WCVC_001), "Women's Self-Help A Diaphragm Fitting" (dcpl_210_WCVC_022), and Women's health segments (dcpl_210_WCVC_029). Please contact The People's Archive for access.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no known restrictions on use.

Biographical / Historical

The Washington Community Video Center (WCVC) was an experimental video collective operating in 1970s Washington D.C., located at 2414 18th Street NW, Adams Morgan. It was one of the first U.S. community-based portable video production and training centers and helped start the media decentralization movement through the growing portability and affordability of video recorded onto magnetic tape. The audiovisual materials consist mostly of ½” open reel video, but also includes ¾” U-matic video cassettes and 1” open reel masters. The WCVC was incorporated as a non-profit community video production and training facility, having origins as an unincorporated project of the Federal City College, presently the University of the District of Columbia. The original goal of the WCVC was to help community organizations and leaders to use the new portable video production capabilities as a tool for education and organizing, in preparation for the coming of public-access television channels, a form of non-commercial mass media where the general public created television programming aired through cable TV specialty channels. Public-access television was created in the United States between 1969 and 1971 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Thus, an early goal of the WCVC was educating D.C. citizens about the importance of cable TV as a community development tool. In order to illustrate this, the WCVC began producing educational video programs with and for community organizations like Ayuda (Spanish-language group) and Adams Morgan Organization. Unfortunately, DC’s cable television franchising process was delayed repeatedly. Without cable as a distribution mechanism, the WCVC turned elsewhere, principally live audience screenings at its Adams Morgan storefront and in group settings with partner organizations. WCVC’s production and screening work with community groups led to the establishment of permanent monitors and video playback systems in city health clinics, enabling staff to screen WCVC-produced educational videos to patients.

Individuals involved with the creation, production, and distribution of WCVC content include: Ray Popkin, Eddie Becker, Nick DeMartino, Vernard Gray, and several others from the D.C.-area


16000 Gigabytes (223 files in 4 folders, Dig_DC)

Washington Community Video Center (WCVC) Collection
An inventory of the Washington Community Video Center (WCVC) Collection at DC Public Library
Laura Farley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001