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The Federal City Council Thanks the Graham Family

The purchase of the Washington Post by Jeffrey Bezos on August 5th, 2013 ended the eighty year stewardship of the historic paper by the Graham family, which had owned and operated the Post since 1933. As leading voices in the community, the Grahams have many legacies in the District, including the valuable role played by Philip L. Graham and his wife Katharine Graham in the formulation and establishment of the Federal City Council. Today, the FCC thanks the Graham family, including Don Graham, a trustee and officer of the Federal City Council, for its years of dedication to making Washington D.C. a better community for all residents.

On January 27, 1952, readers of the Washington Post opened their newspapers to find the first in a series of 18 articles decrying the state of affairs in the Nation's Capital. Most of the articles were written by reporter Chalmers Roberts, but the impetus behind them was Philip Graham, the Post's then publisher. The series- titled "Progress or Decay? Washington Must Choose!"- was Graham's wake-up call to his fellow Washingtonians about the deterioration of the city. The problems highlighted by the Post included the degradation of Pennsylvania Avenue, the underutilization of the Potomac and Anacostia waterfronts, lagging economic growth, and strained race relations across the District. 

Graham first proposed the idea of the Federal City Council in the final article of his "Progress and Decay" series. He called for a new local 'citizens committee' modeled on Pittsburgh's Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a business organization founded in Pittsburgh in 1943. The group's main goal, noted Graham, "will be to support intelligent efforts to improve traffic, parking, housing, and to meet other related problems which impede the city's progress." The FCC officially registered with the City's recorder of deeds in September of the same year.