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17 Free Black Historical Sites To Visit In D.C.

Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., a city steeped in history, offers a wealth of stories waiting to be discovered. Beyond the iconic monuments and museums is a city filled with rich African American history. Embark on a journey through time, rediscovering the hidden gems that tells the story of Black excellence. Here’s a peek into some of the free Black historical sites that deserve your time:

1. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | 1411 W St SE, Washington, D.C. 20020

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, also referred to as Cedar Hill, preserves the former home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

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2. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial | 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20003

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a national memorial that covers four acres and includes a granite statue of the Civil Rights Movement leader.

3. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site | 1538 9th St NW, Washington, D.C 20001

The Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site preserves the former home of the founder of Black History Month.

4. (Here I Stand) In The Spirit of Paul Robeson Statue | Intersection of Kansas Ave NW, Georgia Ave NW, and Varnum St NW Washington, D.C. 20011 

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The (Here I Stand) In The Spirit of Paul Robeson Statue is a public piece made in tribute to entertainer, actor, and social activist Paul Robeson.

5. Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture | 1400 Constitution Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20001 

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is a museum curated to tell the history of Black Americans starting with enslavement all the way up to current day America.  

6. A. Philip Randolph Institute | 815 Black Lives Matter Plaza NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

A. Philip Randolph Institute was founded by the labor organizer and political strategists, A. Philip Randolph as a non-profit organization that studies poverty.

7. Emancipation Monument, Freedmen’s Memorial | Lincoln Park Dr NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

The Emancipation Monument is a sculpture that depicts former President Lincoln freeing an enslaved man.

8. Smithsonian National Museum of African Art | 950 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20560

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art is an art museum that holds a collection of thousands of traditional contemporary African art ranging from photographs, sculptures, film, and library collections. 

9. Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum | 1901 Fort Pl SE, Washington, DC 20020

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum is a community museum located in Anacostia. It was the first federally funded community museum in the United States.

10. Charles Sumner School | 1201 17th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

Charles Sumner School was one of the earliest schools for African Americans in Washington, D.C.

11. The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum | 1925 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum recognizes the contributions of about 200,000 members of the United States Colored Troops.

12. Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site | 1318 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site preserves the former home of educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune. 

13. Florida Ave Grill | 1100 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Florida Ave Grill is a historic Black-owned diner that is the home to Southern cuisine and a booth that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sat at to write the March on Washington speech.

14. Black Lives Matter Plaza | 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C

The Black Lives Matter Plaza features a mural of the words “Black Lives Matter”. The mural was created during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations dated at the wake of the 2020 pandemic. 

15. Howard University | 2400 6th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20059

Howard University is a private historically Black college / university (HBCU) known as the “mecca” amongst other HBCUs.

16. Howard Theatre | 620 T St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

The Howard Theatre is a historic theater where performers like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong have graced the stage. 

17. Ben’s Chili Bowl | 1213 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a Black-owned restaurant that serves ballpark inspired foods like chili dogs, half-smoke, and milkshakes. The rich history of this restaurant has made it a historic landmark in Washington, D.C.

Check out: Eating My Way Through Black History At Florida Ave Grill

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