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DC Residents Demand Street be Dedicated to Former Slave, World’s First Drag Queen

Local residents have demanded that Swann Street in Dupont Circle be rededicated to William Dorsey Swann.

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Residents of Washington DC’s Swann Street want it to be dedicated to a former slave who was the world’s first drag queen.

Matthew Holden, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner introduced this week an ANC2B resolution to rename Swann Street in Dupont Circle after William Dorsey Swann, a former slave who lived locally, and has been identified as the world’s first drag queen. “He was such a cool historical figure that, probably, a lot of people didn’t know about,” Holden told DCist.

The resolution, which passed on Wednesday, declared that streets should be renamed to “reflect the rich diversity of those who have contributed to the life of our city.” It recounted some of Swann’s alleged background, including the fact that he supposedly called himself “The Queen of Drag,” and organised illegal balls for gay black former slaves to cross-dress and party.

Swann, who lived from approximately 1858 to 1925, was arrested multiple times for “impersonating a woman” and “keeping a disorderly house,” an offence mostly related to brothels, eventually unsuccessfully petitioning then-President Grover Cleveland for a pardon.

Channing Joseph, a local historian who first uncovered Swann back in 2005, explained that the police records were the only reason they knew of the existence of a drag queen ball society in DC in the 1800s. “If they had achieved their goal of keeping them all secret we would not know about them to this day.”

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The resolution noted that the street is currently believed to be named after former Maryland Governor and Representative Thomas Swann, who they claimed was a “proponent of white supremacy” and a “notorious slave owner.” Swann actually encouraged immigration to Maryland, and supported the immediate emancipation of the slave population after the Civil War.

“It’s quite meaningful to me, to take a street that’s named after a slave-holder in our nation’s capitol, and to re-dedicate to somebody with the same name who was a figure of resistance and activism,” Joseph said.

The DC Council will now have to vote on whether to change the dedication of Swann Street from the former politician to the drag queen. Holden told DCist that the mayor’s office has been supportive of the effort to change the name.

Swann Street was the site of a mass arrest as part of the Black Lives Matter riots in June of 2020, where police kettled around 200 protesters in order to enforce a curfew imposed by the mayor at the time.

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Jack Hadfield
Written By

Jack Hadfield is the Associate Editor at Valiant News. An investigative reporter from the UK, and the director and presenter of "Destination Dover: Migrants in the Channel, his work has appeared in such sites as Breitbart and The Political Insider. You can follow him on Gab @JH, on Telegram @JackHadders, or see his other social media by visiting jackhadfield.co.uk.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mr Mustashe

    July 15, 2022 at 6:35 am

    I’d like to propose that the Jefferson County, Washington locale… Latitude: 47.878415 and Longitude: -124.1604788… be prefixed, Trump-… and, with a statue right in the middle of it!

    • Avatar

      JrNeymar

      July 15, 2022 at 10:32 pm

      I propose that Mr Mustache be honored as the first illiterate drag queen.

      • Avatar

        Mr Mustashe

        July 16, 2022 at 5:46 pm

        It’s “MUST STASH”, DUMB*SSS!… and has nothing to do with facial hair!… Junior Nutbar!

        jhrcook.github(.)io/mustashe/

        And what you need to do, is to “drag” your sorry *ss off the site!

  2. Avatar

    JOHN MAYOR

    July 15, 2022 at 8:24 am

    Those of us who are Christian, are well aware of God’s commandments concerning “WILLFUL SEXUAL DISOBEDIENCE”… whether one is straight, a member of the willful LGBQ+ community or one is truly TRANSGENDERED/ “born that way”!… nevertheless, our “Earthly mission” is not to CONDEMN the wayward, but to LOVINGLY SAVE– by way of God’s truth!– the wayward soul. And so, rather than “throw out the sinner with the bathwater”, we should strive to keep the “sinner in the process of cleaning”, and remove the waste whenever it accumulates. And just like we must routinely physi̲c̲l̲y̲ clean our bodies, we must routinely clean our souls!… and when able, we should intercede to assist those which find it difficult to “wash” themselves! And if everyday grime is a chore for you… then how much more difficult would it be to remove someone’s “nuclear residue”?

    • Avatar

      Shirley Rohweller

      July 15, 2022 at 1:37 pm

      I I agree

  3. Avatar

    tommer

    July 16, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    Nothing but perverts it seems. Time for this schiff to end.

    • Avatar

      Mr Mustashe

      July 16, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      NO!… it’s time for YOUR SHIT to end!… SOCIOPSYCHOPATH!

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