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Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Places of African-American History

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  1. Lincoln Memorial

    This memorial touches the hearts of all African-Americans because of Lincoln’s steadfastness in ending slavery in the US. It was here that Martin Luther King, Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech .

    Lincoln Memorial
  2. Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church

    This church was important in sheltering runaway slaves before the Civil War, and its pulpit has hosted many respected speakers, including Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesse Jackson.

    • 1518 M St, NW

  3. Anacostia Museum and Center for African-American History and Culture

    This museum explores the role that African-Americans have played in the culture of the nation. Temporary exhibitions examine specific events or survey the work of important black artists.

    • 1901 Fort Place, SE

    • Open 10am–5pm daily

    • Dis. access

    • Free

  4. Cedar Hill

    Frederick Douglass, a former slave, made many speeches for the rights of African-Americans, and was an adviser to Abraham Lincoln. He and his wife, Anna, moved into this Gothic-Italian-style house in 1877. In the garden is a humble stone hut nicknamed “The Growlery,” which Douglass used as a study .

    “The Growlery,” Cedar Hill
  5. Mary McLeod Bethune Council House

    A former cotton-picker, Bethune rose to be a leading educator of African-Americans and an activist for equal rights. Her house was the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, which she founded. During the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, she was a valued adviser .

    Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
  6. Supreme Court

    In one of its most notable decisions, the Supreme Court aided African-Americans’ quest for equality in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education trial, in which the “separate but equal” system of education was overturned. It was a turnaround from the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that supported segregation .

    Supreme Court
  7. Mount Zion United Methodist Church

    Believed to be the first black congregation in the District, founded in 1816, Mount Zion’s original building was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Its present red-brick site was built in 1884. Behind the church is a small cottage containing a collection of artifacts reflecting the black history of Georgetown.

    • 1334 29th St

    • 202 234 0148

    • Open by appt

  8. Lincoln Park

    This pleasant urban park does justice to its dedication to Abraham Lincoln. The 1974 Robert Berks statue of Mary McLeod Bethune shows the great educator passing the tools of culture on to younger generations. The Emancipation Statue by Thomas Ball (1876) shows Lincoln holding his Proclamation in the presence of a slave escaping his chains .

  9. Frederick Douglass Museum

    Another site associated with the statesman and abolitionist, this was Douglass’s home for nearly 10 years from the mid-1870s. Artifacts associated with Douglass are displayed here.

  10. Benjamin Banneker Park

    This waterfront park is named in honor of a renowned 18th-century free black mathematician and astronomer.

    • 10th and G Sts, SE

Top 10 African-American Figures

  1. Ralph Bunche

    The first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, because of his diplomatic efforts in the UN.

  2. Duke Ellington

    The musical genius was a native Washingtonian. He played his first paid performance on U Street.

  3. Hiram Rhodes Revel

    The first African-American to take a seat as US senator, representing Mississippi.

  4. Paul Lawrence Dunbar

    Dunbar rose from poverty to gain recognition as a poet – the first African-American to do so – publishing his first collection in 1892.

  5. Harriet Tubman

    The best-known figure who freed slaves through the Underground Railroad.

  6. Ida B. Wells-Barnett

    This celebrated crusader against anti-black government actions also marched in the 1913 women’s suffrage rally.

  7. Marian Anderson

    In 1939 the singer was barred from Constitution Hall because of her race, so gave her Easter Sunday concert at the Lincoln Memorial instead.

  8. Eleanor Holmes Norton

    Norton has been effective as the District’s non-voting House member, lobbying to promote Washington issues.

  9. Walter E. Washington

    Mayor of Washington from 1974–8, the first elected mayor in the city for over 100 years.

  10. Anthony Williams

    Elected mayor in 1998, he has streamlined administrative and fiscal operations.

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