Seek out the nation’s black history, and you’ll find it scattered across Washington, which was a magnet for African Americans practically from its inception.
But the most awe-inspiring markers? They won’t always be found in memorials. Some vestiges of the African American experience require a stop, a second look, and maybe a third, to understand their resonance.
Two objects that made our list:
“The Death of Cleopatra” at Smithsonian American Art Museum
In a sculpture-filled hall of the American Art Museum, there’s a work that tour guides like to stop and point to: Cleopatra.
But the sculpture didn’t arrive at the American Art Museum in style. Shortly after its early exhibitions, it turned up at a Chicago-area racetrack, where it was a grave marker for a horse and remained for nearly a century.
The “I have a dream” etching at the Lincoln Memorial
It wasn’t until 2003, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the march, that local stone carver Andy Del Gallo was enlisted (after a law was passed by Congress allowing the addition) to etch the words that stretch no more than two feet wide.