Oral History with Donald Button


Donald Button came to DC in late 1970 from New York City where he had been active in the Gay Activists Alliance. In DC he hung out with the GLF group.

In DC he met Paul ‘Moonbeam’ Bartels who didn’t live in the GLF house. Button lived in the GLF House at 1620 S St NW from the Spring of 1971 and moved out in 1972. Life at 1620 was “chaotic.” The ‘kingpins’ in 1620 were Michael Ferri and Bruce Pennington. After Ferri moved to the Skyline Faggots collective at 1624 S St the dynamics at 1620 changed somewhat.

Button moved to a group house in the Mt. Pleasant area.

The Skyline Faggots were older, more serious, more introspective, according to Button. They focused more on what does being a man, a gay man, mean.

Button was part of the zaps against the APA at the Shoreham/Wardman?. Button was also active in the gay speakers bureau, talking to schools and youth.

GLF’s planning was done at Grace Church in Georgetown. Demo spot as on the M St bridge. There were police infiltrators in the GLF group. They briefly blocked the bridge and when the cops came and shot tear gas they split. A Georgetown housewife offered to hide them and when they got to her door slammed it shut.

Button was one of those arrested on the way to the Vietnamese embassy on the second day (May 4th). They were held at 23rd and L until taken to jail. The cells were so crowded that they had to take turns sitting down. They were held less than 24 hours and passed the time signing do wop tunes and eating peanut butter and baloney sandwiches.

Button later worked with SAJA’s youth outreach and worked with Loraine Hutchins. He was on a job coop project. For a while he lived with Loraine in a group home in Mt Pleasant.

Date Created

January 28, 2006

Access Rights

The interview belongs to the Rainbow History Project.
The RHP release form was used and all rights belong to RHP.


Original Format

Currently only interview notes are available for this item


“Oral History with Donald Button,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed December 9, 2023, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1813.

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