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Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis Records

Identifier: 036

Scope and Contents

The items include correspondence, clippings, government reports, legislative testimony, hearing transcripts, litigation, flyers, posters, maps, picket signs, press releases, and printed matter. Significant topics covered in the records include the fight to stop the construction of the Seven Sisters Bridge, I-66, I-95, the North Central Freeway, and the fight to save 69 government-confiscated homes in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Information about or from other local and national grassroots organizations involved in efforts to halt freeway construction appears in the records inlcuding: National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, Upper North East Coordinating Council, Brookland Civic Association, and Catholic Interracial Council. Clippings and articles cover D.C. and other urban areas working to block the construction of freeways, and other writings covering civil rights, urban renewal, and environmental issues.


  • Creation: 1960-1978


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions to accessing this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

DC Public Library holds copyright to this collection. Noncommerical use is permitted. Please contact with questions.

Biographical / Historical

From the 1950s through the 1970s various plans were drafted by local and federal agencies to build a comprehensive urban expressway to link D.C. to the national interstate highway system. In the 1960s The Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) grew out of the efforts of residents in northeast D.C. and Maryland who organized to prevent government confiscation of homes in the path of the freeway.

ECTC lobbied public officials; and testified at hearings to prevent the building of the North Central Freeway through D.C and before Congress to curtail funding for highway construction. ECTC spurred the formation of the National Coalition on the Transportation Crisis, which coordinated similar grassroots movements throughout the nation. As a grassroots organization, ECTC relied on public demonstrations, rallies, and meetings to gain support for its cause in the late 1960s. In particular, ECTC was involved in a prolonged demonstration and sit-in at the construction site of the Three Sisters Bridge, held rallies to protest confiscation of homes in the Brookland neighborhood of D.C., and picketed Mayor Walter Washington's home in opposition of freeway construction. ECTC was interested in a number of related issues such as urban planning, environmental issues, home rule, D.C. statehood, and civil rights. It also supported a metrorail system as an alternative to freeways.


72 Boxes

23.5 Linear feet


Series 1: Alphabetical Files, 8 linear ft. (1960-1978). This series contains alphabetically arranged topical files that document ECTC's activities as well as those of other related organizations. The records were primarily maintained by Anne and Fred Huette - Corresponding Secretary, and Vice Chair of ECTC; and Angela and Thomas Rooney - Executive Secretary, and Associate Executive Secretary of ECTC. In order to maintain the original order, this series has been arranged into subseries by the persons who maintained the records.

Subseries 1: Rooney Files, 2.5 linear ft. (1965-1975). This sub-series contains address lists, correspondence, publications, flyers, notes, and correspondence related to civic organizations in northeast D.C. such as the Brookland Civic Association, Brookland Area Coordinating Council, and the Catholic Interracial Council. Reports from various governmental agencies, including the D.C. Office of Planning and Management, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the D.C. Department of Transportation appear in the files. Other file topics include parking in D.C., pollution, D.C. buses, home rule, housing, and zoning. Interfiled among the records are also a number of news clippings on the topics.

Subseries 2: Huette Files, 5.5 linear ft. (1968-1978). This sub-series includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, clippings, and press releases related to the activities of ECTC and similar local organizations throughout the country. Of particular significance are records of the National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, the national organization that grew out of local freeway fights. Files cover the work of organizations in cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Phoenix. Other topics and organizations found in the series include the Citizens Planning Coalition of D.C., the Brookland Area Coordinating Council, the Washington Planning Council, the Washington Lay Association, and the Upper Northeast Coordinating Council.

Series 2: Correspondence, 1 linear ft. (1964-1980). Much of the correspondence in this series is between members of ECTC and local politicians about highway legislation. Correspondents include public officials such as Walter Washington, Senator Joe Tydings, President Lyndon Johnson, Senator Paul Sarbanes, and Walter Tobriner, President of the Board of D.C. Commissioners (1964). The series also contains some reports, clippings, and legislative materials related to the correspondence. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Chronological, 1.25 linear ft. (1965-1974). This series consists of a group of items that had no apparent arrangement nor fit in other series before processing. The materials were arranged chronologically to form this series. The series includes correspondence, reports, clippings, legislative testimony and bills, handwritten notes, newsletters, articles, and flyers.

Series 4: Legislative Materials, 4 linear ft. (1965-1975). This series consists of testimony, statements, witness lists, and other background materials regarding hearings on highway construction before the D.C. City Council, D.C. Department of Highways and Traffic (DCDH), and U.S. Congressional Committees. Of particular significance are materials regarding hearings before the City Council on the Interstate Highway System (1967-1968), the DCDH (1965) on the North Central Freeway, and the House Committee on D.C. in the late 1960s on such issues as federal payment for highway funding and rapid rail transit. Copies of federal highway legislation in the Federal Register and Congressional Record are also included. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 5: Printed Matter, 2 linear ft. (1967-1981) Printed matter including pamphlets, journal articles, government publications, newsletters, and legislative materials on topics of interest to ECTC is contained in this series. Materials are arranged alphabetically first by journal title (if applicable), otherwise by author (if known), or title of article.

Series 6: Clippings and Press Materials, 1 linear ft. (1968-1979). This series contains clippings, press releases, and related legislative items which focus primarily on freeway construction and transportation issues throughout the U.S. Clippings are not arranged. Press releases and related materials are arranged chronologically after the clippings.

Series 7: Flyers, .50 linear ft. (1969-1973; 1987-89). This series contains flyers about rallies, demonstrations, meetings, and lobbying activities sponsored by ECTC and other organizations involved in the Washington metro area freeway fight. Of significance are flyers about the fight to save the Three Sisters Bridge, rallies to protest government-confiscated homes on 10th and Franklin Streets, N.E., and public events expressing opposition to the North-Central Freeway. Other flyers cover issues about which ECTC was interested, including the environment, statehood, home rule, poverty, and racial discrimination.

Series 8: Membership, .75 linear ft. (1967; n.d.) Included in this series is a guest book of signatures from an unidentified ECTC event, blank membership cards for the Brookland Neighborhood Association (1967), and 3x5 cards with handwritten information on activist organizations of interest to ECTC.

Series 9: Photographs and Memorabilia, .50 linear ft. (1968-1979). The series contains photographs, a ECTC's bumper sticker "Save Don't Pave," a statehood flag, and other memorabilia.

Series 10: Architectural Drawings and Maps, 13.50 linear ft. (1967-1974). This series contains 64 maps, scaled drawings, sketches, and site plans of the Washington area. In particular, a number of draft and final site plans and sketches of the Brookland, Takoma, Ft. Totten, and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations are in this series. Other items of interest include a D.C. Department of Highways major highways project map, preliminary master plans, and various maps of the North Central Freeway. The drawings and maps are numbered sequentially. An index attached to this finding aid lists the sequentially numbered items in alphabetical order for reference.

Series 11: Picket Signs and Posters, 10 linear ft. (n.d.). This series contains primarily picket signs created by ECTC members and others to protest freeway construction in the Washington metro area. Sam Abbott was the creator of many of the cartoons and caricatures on the signs. Also included are a few posters and what appear to be handwritten flip chart sheets from workshops and meetings.

Series 12: Charts and Graphs, 4 containers and 1 oversized folder (ca. 1960s). This series contains tables, charts, and graphs drawn on oversized tablets what appear to be from flip charts used for workshops or educational sessions on freeway issues in D.C.

Custodial History

Angela Rooney donated the records in the 1990s. Mrs. Rooney along with her husband, Thomas Rooney, were key leaders in ECTC in the late 1960s.

Processing Information

General processing procedures consisted of discarding unnecessary binders and routine transmittals. Duplicates of more than three have been removed. Oversized documents and photographs were removed from the original location in their assigned series and placed in separate containers. A list of oversized documents appears separately in the finding aid. Separation sheets were inserted in the original location within the folder to indicate the new location of any records placed elsewhere. Preservation copying of newspaper clippings was performed whenever feasible. Unless indicated, records in folders are arranged in forward chronological order, with undated records appearing at the end of the folder.

Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis
An inventory of Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Faye Haskins.
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