Best of Washington Social Club Materials, 22


Best of Washington Social Club Materials, 22


In 1974, Bob Lomax and a small group of friends turned a local house party into a city-wide organization presenting events for the African-American gay and lesbian community: the Best of Washington. Sales of chicken sandwiches provided initial funds for their first public events: dances at the Elks Lodge. Success quickly built the Best of Washington, and its companion group the Little Rascals (for the straight community), into a social force in black gay DC that has endured for more than three decades.

The Best of Washington was not the first black gay social group. Lomax’s circle of friends followed in the wake of the Pinochle Club, the Metropolitan Capitolites, and The Group, early social clubs with a narrower focus. The Best of Washington parlayed its fundraising and social success into a model for mounting extravagant social events. It’s All Night Struts, Watergate Affairs, dances at the Elks and the Palm Ballroom and the annual Alice Awards were the scene. By the end of the 70s, a spot on the Best of Washington’s mailing list (of invitations to events) was a much sought after social recognition.

Collection Items

The Alice Awards
The Best of Washington’s annual Alice Awards were for many years the most sought after prizes in the African-American gay and straight community. This lists the 14 categories and winners from from 1979 to 1988.
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