D.C. landmarks, a chance to experience African American history

Make a day of traveling from Capitol Hill to Cardozo to learn more about the historical significance of places that are right in your back yard — and all boast free admission!


The Mary McLeod Bethune. Council House is located at 1318 Vermont Avenue N.W.

Here you can see the desk used by the educator and furnishings from the boardroom where the 1963 March on Washington were planned. The house also holds the National Archive of Black Women’s History, the largest of its kind in the country. The archive is open by appointment only.

●Make it a roundabout trip by visiting the NCNW’s current headquarters, 633 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, and Bethune’s statue in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free admission.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site — Douglass resided in his Anacostia home for nearly two decades while serving as the U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia. The five-bedroom estate known as Cedar Hill boasts an amazing view of greater Washington and holds aspects of Douglass’s life, from his violin to his shoes. He shared the home with second wife Helen Pitts Douglass — but not a bedroom, as he preferred for men and women to sleep separately. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free admission; access to the house is by guided tour only.

●Continue the Douglass experience by visiting the Frederick Douglass Museum on 320 A St. NE. Open by appointment only.


The African American Civil War Memorial near the Metro Station on U Street NW, Washington

LeDroit Park Historic District — The iconic neighborhood of Washington’s black elite sits at the bottom of Howard University’s campus and is filled with colorful houses and great landscaping. Pick up a brochure from the Historic Preservation Office and take a foot or bicycle tour through the streets of the neighborhood, where notable dwellers included Walter Washington, Anna Julia Cooper and Mary Church Terrell.


The Obama family made an unannounced visit to tour the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. the night before the President made remarks at the official dedication of the memorial."

Howard University — A walking tour of the University, posted online, serves as a great guide through the campus, taking you from Ira Aldrige theater to Bison Stadium and Rankin Chapel, where speakers such as Cornel West take the pulpit on occasion. Members of the Divine Nine will especially appreciate visiting the lush grounds of the university, where five of the Greek-letter organizations were founded.

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