About Us

Frustrated by failed attempts to identify archives and sources of information on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered history in metropolitan Washington DC, Mark Meinke placed a notice in the Washington Blade for community discussion about the problem. On November 4, 2000 Charles Rose, Bruce Pennington, Jose Gutierrez, and James Crutchfield met with Meinke at the CyberStop Cafe, formerly at 1534 17th Street NW.  The outcome of the discussions was to create the Rainbow History Project which would work to preserve our community’s memories.

Our Mission Is

to collect, preserve, and promote an active knowledge of the history, arts, and culture of metropolitan Washington DC’s diverse LGBTQ+ communities.  That can be accomplished only if our collection, volunteer corps, and programming reflect and represent the full diversity of those communities and their allies.  It is therefore our fundamental policy to seek out the active participation and involvement of individuals of all backgrounds-particularly those from under-represented groups–who agree with and are committed to carrying out the goals of our organization.

Our Work

Among our highest priority initial projects was the capturing of community members’ memories for an oral history project.  Since that time, we have recorded countless oral histories, recognized many of our community pioneers, conducted research projects, public panel presentations, and amassed a collection of documents, manuscripts and photographs for permanent storage at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Our main projects include:

  • Oral History interviews
  • Walking Tours
  • Panel Presentations
  • Gathering materials about our history
  • Recognizing our community pioneers
  • Research Assistance

Legal and Tax Status

The Rainbow History Project (aka Rainbow History Project Foundation) is a non-profit District of Columbia corporation.  It is a charitable and educational organization, and it is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions to RHP are deductible to the full extent permitted by law.

Board of Directors

The Rainbow History Project’s activities are planned and organized by an executive board of directors. Board members are elected for two year terms. Elections are held at the Rainbow History Project’s annual meeting in March. All dues-paying members are eligible to vote and to be elected to the Board. Board officers are elected at the April board meeting.  Current board members include:

  • Tanja Aho, Ph.D., At-large to 2023
  • Nathan Avant, At-large to 2023
  • Ashley Bamfo, At-large to 2024
  • Rob Berger, At-large to 2023
  • Jeff Donahoe, At-large to 2023
  • Chuck Goldfarb, At-large to 2024
  • Jamal Gordon, At-large to 2024, and Vice-Chair to 2023
  • Jeff Gruber, At-large to 2023
  • Richard Haight, At-large to 2024
  • Holly Irwin, At-large to 2024, and Treasurer to 2023
  • Glenn C. Reimer, At-large to 2024, and Chair to 2023
  • Bryan Schwartz, At-large to 2024, and Secretary to 2023
  • Vincent E. Slatt, At-large to 2023
  • Robert Michael Vanzant, At-large to 2024

Contact Us

The Rainbow History Project
P.O. Box 73176
Washington, DC 20056-3176
(202) 810-5068
info AT rainbowhistory DOT org
Find us on Facebook

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Advisory Board

The Rainbow History Project is guided by activists, community members, historians, librarians and pioneers who provide a crucial resource for the history of our community and for maintaining the professional integrity of our activities.

Current members

  • Ms. Toni Collins. Co-founder of Transgender Health Empowerment, leader in creating a safety net for DC transgender citizens.
  • Mr. James Crutchfield.  Founding member of SMYAL, founding member and past treasurer of Rainbow History Project, past-president of the Gay Community Center, and president of the Capital Area Rainbowlers.
  • Dr. Rebecca Dolinsky.  A sociologist whose field work is on identity, emotions, and experience of lesbians and gay DC.
  • Mr. David Field.  Senior staff at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Ms. Letitia Gomez.  A leader of the Hispanic and Hispanic LGBT communities, past-president of ENLACE, and an activist in community organizations.
  • Mr. Jeffrey Harris.  Consultant with historic preservation organizations and historic sites developing or implementing diversity-related programs and site interpretations.
  • Dr. Loraine Hutchins.  Founder of AMBi, researcher and writer, activist on bisexual and religious issues.
  • Mr. A. Billy S. Jones. Founder of the National Coalition of Black Gays, past-president of the DC Coalition, leading activist of gay and bisexual rights.
  • Ms. Robin Kane.  Independent consultant, trainer, and program evaluator with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Consumers Union, and Family Pride Coalition.
  • Ms. Jennifer King.  Manuscripts librarian at the Special Collections Center of Gelman Library, George Washington University.
  • Ms. Jane Freundel Levey. Community historian and long-time director of programs at Cultural Tourism DC.
  • Mr. Andy Litsky.  ANC 6D commissioner, with strong involvement in local gay political campaigns.
  • Ms. Patsy Lynch.  Photographer and chronicler of DC local history, past board member of RHP.
  • Mr. Deacon Maccubbin.  Founder of Earthworks, and of Lambda Rising, leader of community business groups and founding organizer of initial Gay Pride DC celebrations.
  • Mr. Chris Man.  A lawyer and former board member of Rainbow History Project.
  • Dr. Tom Mayes.  Preservationist at the National Trust for Historic Preservation with an interest in LGBT preservation issues.
  • Ms. Valerie Papaya Mann. An AIDS activist, international development specialist in Africa, and spiritual leader in women’s and African American communities.
  • Ms. Kris McLaughlin.  Past-president of Arlington Gay and Lesbian Association.
  • Mr. Melvin Moore.
  • Dr. Stephen Morris. Historian with the National Park Service, specializing in preservation issues.
  • Dr. John Olinger.  Past-chair of the Rainbow History Project, SVP at Downey McGrath Group.
  • Mr. Philip Pannell.  Civil rights activist and longtime member of the DC Coalition, former-Special Assistance to the President of the DC School Board, and former gay liaison to the Mayor’s office, and Chairman of the Ward 8 Democrats.
  • Mr. Bob Summersgill.  Past-president of GLAA, researcher and historian of sodomy law reform, and a leader of the DC marriage-equality battles.
  • Mr. Otis ‘Buddy’ Sutson.  Chairman and charter member of The Best of Washington, currently with Damien Ministries, organizer of social activities for African-American gay men and lesbians.
  • Mr. Brock Thompson.  Chair of GLOBE at the Library of Congress.
  • Ms. Jane Troxell.  Longtime activist in Washington, DC lesbian activities, past-manager of Lambda Rising, and previous owner of Lammas Books.
  • Ms. Kim Zablud.  Special Collections Manager, Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library.

Emeritus members

  • Ms. Kim Roberts.  Researcher, writer, and head of Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the co-author of RHP’s Walt Whitman walking tour brochure.

Deceased members

  • Mr. Barrett Brick. A leading member of Bet Mishpacha, GLAA, community organizer and activist.
  • Dr. Franklin Kameny. Founder of the Mattachine Society, activist in local and national LGBT rights struggles of the 1950s through 2000s.
  • Ms. Mame Dennis/Mr. Carl Rizzi.  President of the Academy of Washington, longtime involvement with training, mentoring and providing support for DC’s female impersonators.

Public Documents

Rainbow History Project Bylaws (2001-2015)

RHP revised bylaws (April 2016-present)

Federal Tax Letter

DC Tax Certificate

Annual Reports