Original Lambda Rising Location
Backstory and Context
In 1971, Deacon Maccubin opened EarthWorks, a headshop that also carried LGBTQ books and magazines, at 1724 20th Street NW. EarthWorks was the first non-bar business in the capital that specifically catered to gay customers. By 1974, the business was doing well enough to found Lambda Rising as a separate bookstore business. The bookstore served as a community hub as well. In 1975, the shop hosted the first Gay Pride Day block party in the city, which has now evolved into Capital Pride.
Other gay, leftist, and art organizations also operated on the premises, such as the publications Off Our Backs, the Gay Blade (precursor to the Washington Blade) and the Gay Switchboard; gay youth groups; DC Switchboard; Defense Committee for the Black Panthers; the Youth International Party; the American Society for Theatre Arts; and the Playwright's Theatre. Businesses such as Alternatives, Androgyne, Bread and Roses Music, and Amy Horowitz's Roadwork also operated at the site.
The bookstore moved in May 1977 to a larger location at 2012 S St NW. The bookstore moved again in 1984 to 1625 Connecticut Avenue, where it operated until its closing in 2010. Its legacy continues in Lambda Literary, an organization supporting and awarding LGBTQ authors which arose from Maccubin's Lambda Book Report and Lambda Book Awards founded in the 1980s.
Lambda Literary. Mission and History, About Us. Accessed July 13th 2020. https://www.lambdaliterary.org/history-mission/.
Rainbow History Project. Places in Our History: 1724 20th St NW -- The Community Building [archived web page], Rainbow History Project. 2001. Accessed July 13th 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20070815180534/http://www.rainbowhistory.org/1724.htm.
Schwartzmann, Paul. Lambda Rising, gay bookstore and community center, closing, Washington Post. December 8th 2009. Accessed July 13th 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/07/AR2009120702117.htm