Lasting Legacy: Black History and Cultural in the Capital Region

From confronting the nation’s troubled past to the progress and discussions of the present, these regional attractions aim to highlight the history and cultural experience of Black Americans, paving the way for a brighter future.

Washington, DC

In 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened a short walk away from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial along the National Mall. The museum is the only national museum devoted to documenting African American life.

DC’s historic Anacostia neighborhood is rich in African American history and is home to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site located at Douglass’ former home, Cedar Hill. The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum studies the challenges facing modern urban communities.

Maryland

Home to numerous sites along the Underground Railroad and the birthplace of iconic freedom fighters Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, Maryland is the most powerful underground railroad storytelling destination in the world. Hundreds of freedom seekers escaped slavery along the railroad with the help of famed “conductor”, Harriet Tubman. Explore their paths freedom to at sites like the Underground Railroad Scenic Byway and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park along the state's scenic Eastern Shore. Follow Frederick Douglass' life on the Frederick Douglass Driving Tour, where you can explore the park and creek near his childhood home, his lecture sites, and the jail where he was imprisoned.

Virginia

Fort Monroe in Hampton is known as “Freedom’s Fortress” for protecting runaway slaves during the Civil War. Nearby, Hampton University, founded as an institute of higher learning for freed African Americans, is home to the oldest African American museum in the nation.

Trace the slave trade from Africa to Virginia and beyond along the three-mile long Richmond Slave Trail. Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood is known as the “Harlem of the South” and is the location of the Home of Maggie Walker, the first female bank president in America, and the Black History Museum and Culture Center.

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