Overwhelming Senate passage of legislation giving DC residents a voting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives reminds me of the long history of the struggle for DC Voting Rights. It was, or should have been, an integral part of the civil rights movement, because of the historic disenfranchisement of African Americans in the district.
The most appalling chapter in that history was in the 1930s and 1940s when Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi was the de facto "mayor of Washington," as the head of the Senate's District of Columbia Committee. He ruled the city like a autocratic plantation overseer. Bilbo was perhaps the very WORST senator in American history: an unspeakable ignoramus bigot. He once called Claire Booth Luce a "nigger lover," repeatedly praised Adolph Hitler, had ties to Nazi sympathizers in the U.S. and declared that whites were "justified in going to any extreme to keep the nigger from voting." For years he blocked anti-lynching laws. (Source)
In his fascinating book, Washington Goes to War, journalist David Brinkley described the awful Bilbo and his rule over Washington. He wrote: