The Assembly of the Freeman

While many members come from diverse African American backgrounds, they had all originally come from a class of freed slaves who had the status of “freeman”. Life had always been harsh yet DC was still better than the rest of the South. Freedmen were limited to a number of professions and when a slave with an ax drunkenly walked into the room of a white woman set off a riot, the man at the center of the controversy found himself embraced after fleeing the city. The Assembly of the Freeman came into existence in 1855 when Arthur Bowen returned from traveling out west and helped organized the community.

When the civil war struck many African Americans fled to the district from locations all over the south. What came after was a time of great power among the Assembly of the Freeman as re-constructionist policies and low numbers among the Lees and O’Carrolls gave many Freemen in the city power in local government. The Houses that represented a number of white kindred came together in 1919 and helped precipitate a riot against a number of ethnic groups. Bowen was killed in the carnage.

The Assembly committed to a war with the Houses of Lee and O’Carroll that was broken up rather quickly with arrival of the On Leong Merchants Association. Ivy Tibbs quickly came to the forefront of the assembly by 1925 and she saw to the continued growth of U street and Anacostia from behind the scenes. After Doctor King’s assassination in 1968 however, the city was caught in a surge of violence that saw some violence within the Kindred community.

Tibbs moved much of assembly to Fort Washington, Maryland but certainly still maintains a presence in the District. The upheaval of the 70s and 80s in Washington brought the assembly to supporting the home rule movement and the subsequent rise of Mayor Marion Barry. After the Schism of the 90s, the Assembly advocated for the removal of the Cardinal and helped Van Etten take power from the Lancea Sanctum. Still run to this day by Ivy Tibbs, the Assembly has seen a number of Daeva and Ventrue and has strong contacts with the African American business community and even helped to set up Ebeneezer’s United Methodist Church as a Lancea Sanctum Sanctuary.

The Assembly of the Freeman

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