In 1967 Michigan Governor George Romney campaigned to be the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States and visited Washington, D.C., to meet about riots and other urban problems. In addition to meeting with government officials, Romney also met with local Urban League officials and toured distressed neighborhoods north of the U.S. Capitol Building. Romney was specifically interested in the causes of urban riots which had recently occurred in Detroit, Michigan, and other cities. The photographs below from the Oliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection show that Romney was met by citizens protesting the construction plans for a freeway. Neighborhood groups in D.C. and elsewhere protested freeway construction in the 1960s because they believed that the freeways benefited suburban commuters with convenient travel and resulted in the destruction of urban homes and businesses.

George Romney speaks with a television reporter in front of freeway protesters on September 12, 1967. Oliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 66, Folder 8. Photo © SEPS
George Romney speaks with Anita Shelton and William Thompson on September 12, 1967. Oliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 66, Folder 8. Photo © SEPS

Romney went on to serve as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard M. Nixon, the eventual Republican nominee and President. There are additional photographs of Romney in the Atkins collection, including some from the early 1960s that include George’s son Mitt, a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

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