Lasting Legacy: Black History & Culture 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.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a short walk away from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial along the National Mall. The museum, which is devoted exclusively to documenting African American life, history and culture, spotlights many fascinating and inspiring artefacts— like Muhammad Ali’s robe and first-hand accounts given by Civil Rights activists.
DC’s historic Anacostia neighborhood is rich in Black history and home to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site located at Cedar Hill, the estate of the famed abolitionist, writer and orator. The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum preserves the memories, struggles and successes of communities, illuminating and amplifying their collective power.
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 nation.
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.
Fort Monroe in Hampton is known as “Freedom’s Fortress” for protecting freedom seekers during the Civil War. Nearby, Hampton University — one of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities — is home to the oldest African American museum in the nation and counts Booker T. Washington among its many notable alumni.
Trace the footsteps of enslaved Africans and African Americans as you walk the solemn 3-mile (5-km) Richmond Slave Trail. In Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighbourhood — known as the “Harlem of the South”— you’ll find the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, home of the first female bank president in America, and the Black History Museum and Culture Center.