Celebrate Black History Month in the DMV!

Black History Month in the DMV

Our area is FULL of important and fascinating black history, but do we know it all? Have we seen all of the places that honor historic figures? Do we know all of the local black-owned businesses? If not, we're here to help with a guide!

Of course this is not a list of EVERYTHING our beautiful [and diverse] area has to offer.. but we hope this helps you discover new things and support our local leaders and businesses!

Black Owned Businesses:

Landmarks, Memorials and Museums to check out [click links for events and tours]:

  • Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Downtown DC
  • African American History Museum [with virtual events]
  • Black Lives Matter Plaza, 16th St NW
  • Black History Museum in Alexandria
  • Chuck Brown Park in NE
  • African American Civil War Memorial in U Street neighborhood
  • Frederick Douglass' home/Cedar Hill in Anacostia- Tour this 21-room Victorian mansion, learn of Douglass’ incredible efforts to abolish slavery and take in one of the city’s most breathtaking views
  • I Have A Dream steps at the Lincoln Memorial
  • Benjamin Banneker Memorial Park in L’Enfant Plaza
  • Howard Theater Walk of Fame
  • Take the "Black Broadway" mural tour
  • Neighborhood Heritage Trails- see more than 200 significant sites rich in local Black history, from churches and schools to famous residences and businesses
  • Malcolm X Park
  • The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
  • Anacostia Community Museum- the museum houses a collection of approximately 6,000 objects dating back to the early 1800s.
  • Sandy Spring Slave Museum
  • Edmonson Sisters Statue in Alexandria

More Historic Facts You May Not Know:

  • When Washington briefly became a federal territory in 1871, African American men made important decisions for the city. Lewis H. Douglass introduced a law in 1872 making segregation in public places illegal. But in 1874, the government was replaced by three presidentially appointed commissioners. This system survived until the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
  • The Shaw area of DC was named for Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, a member of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry of black soldiers who fought during the Civil War. It was later dubbed “The Heart of Chocolate City,” as escaped slaves settled there to start their own businesses. Carter G Woodson lived in Shaw, and is considered the father of Black History Month.
  • DC served as the starting place for some of music’s greatest figures, including jazz great Duke Ellington, R&B legend Marvin Gaye and the godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown.
  • Once known as “Black Broadway,” the U Street neighborhood is full of rich musical history. The Howard Theatre's stage hosted the likes of Duke, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong and now it boasts some of the best names in underground and popular music.
  • The Preparatory School for Colored Youth was founded in 1970 and was the city's first public high school, and attracted college-bound students and teachers, many with advanced degrees. It became renowned as M Street High School, and now Dunbar High School.
  • The Mt Zion United Methodist Church was the oldest Black church in DC. Once a slave and tobacco trading site in the early 1800s, it became a church in 1816 and later a station on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.

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