Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


American Studies


Leisa Meyer

Committee Member

Arthur Knight

Committee Member

Lauron Kehrer


This work examines race and class in early Washington, D.C. punk from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. It is my contention that written punk memoirs rarely give a contextual look at each movement. From rose-colored memoirs, many inside or outside the punk community view the movements as genuine rebellions against mainstream American music and values. It is my view that subversive movements do not emerge completely free from institutional oppression. The same is true with punk. to examine punk's beginnings, I analyze punk movements in the United Kingdom and Los Angeles before turning to a detailed account of early Washington, D.C. punk. in order to contextualize early DC punk, I give a robust historical background of the city of Washington, DC from its' beginnings up to the 1960s. From there I examine two DC bands, Minor Threat and Bad Brains, giving special regard to how each band moves throughout racialized areas of DC. It is my aim to complicate how we view cultural movements that seem, on the surface, to reject mainstream American values.



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