Thursday 9 September 2021

fifty-first state

While we’ve been following the ongoing statehood movement and debates for Washington, D.C. (christened on this day in 1791) for sometime now, it didn’t occur to us that the federal district under jurisdiction of the US Congress (no presence in the Senate despite having a population larger than Vermont and Wyoming) would need to be given a new name. For most of the campaign’s history it was assumed that the newly minted state would be called “New Columbia.” The latest admission act sponsored by the US House of Representatives in recent months, however, refers to the proposed polity as the “State of Washington, D.C.”—with the approval of the city council the abbreviation standing for Douglass Commonweath, in honour of the American orator, author, statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.