today in black history

April 07, 2020

Jazz and Blues vocalist Billie "Lady Day" Holiday was born on this date in 1915 in Philadelphia.

DC Black History Sites

POSTED: December 28, 2008, 12:00 am

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Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W. Street, SE (14th and W Streets)

Ph: 202.426.5961
Reservations Required
Admission: $1.50
Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Daily)
National Park Service Website

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Cedar Hill) in Anacostia is the Washington D.C. home of the famed abolitionist and businessman Frederick Douglass. The site was recently reopened after an extensive three year renovation.

The Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture
1901 Fort Place, SE

Ph: 202.633.1000
Admission: Free
Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Daily)
Metro: Green Line (Anacostia) then take a Fort Stanton W-2 or W-3 Metro Bus
Smithsonian Website

Established in 1967 as the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, it served first as a Smithsonian outreach museum in one of the District of Columbia’s predominately Black neighborhoods.

Special Inaugural Weekend Activities

Saturday, January 17

11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida, authors of "OBAMA: The Historic Campaign in Pictures”, for a reading and book signing.
Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 17 and 18. 

Free Bus Transportation from the Mall to the Anacostia Community Museum

Depart to Museum from Smithsonian Castle at 1000 Jefferson Drive S.W. 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., & 2:00 p.m.
Depart from Museum at 1901 Fort Place. S.E. to
Smithsonian Castle 11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

John Mercer Langston Residence
4th and Bryant Streets, NW

John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) organized the Howard University law department that became the Law School at the predominantly Black university. He was the Dean of the Law School from 1870 through 1873. He was elected as the first African to serve in Congress from Virginia and served as President of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University).

Howard University
Georgia Avenue & Howard Place, NW

Howard University Website

Howard University was established by an act of Congress in 1866. The school was established for newly freed slaves to have access to education. Ironically, the school’s first students were four white females, the daughters of Trustees. The school was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, a member of the First Congregational Society that first established the school as a theological seminary to train Black ministers. Today, Howard University has four campuses on 240 acres.

Founders Library and Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
500 Howard Place, NW
Howard University Campus

Ph: 202.806.7240

Founders Library serves as the main library for Howard University and is home to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, one of the world’s largest repositories dedicated to the Diaspora. The library was dedicated in 1939 and sits on the site of the old Main Building and succeeds the Carnegie Library, built on the hilltop campus in 1910. The research center holds the papers of Arthur Spingarn, Black scholar and longtime attorney with the NAACP, for whom the organization’s Spingarn Medal is named.

Howard University Hospital
2041 Georgia Avenue, NW

Howard University Hospital is a major medical teaching hospital that for years, along with Meharry Hospital, has served as a training ground for Black medical practitioners. The hospital is located on the site of Griffith Stadium, the District of Columbia’s major sports venue that hosted its last event on September 12, 1961. The stadium was home to the Washington Senators baseball team and the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues. The Washington Redskins football team also played in Griffith Stadium. The stadium was razed in 1965 and Howard University Hospital was constructed on the site ten years later.

Carter G. Woodson Residence and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History Office
1538 Ninth Street, NW

Historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History,” purchased this house in 1915 and used it as his residence and office. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It currently awaits renovation.

International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
817 Q Street. NW

The International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was the first successful Black trade union in the United States. Famed labor leader A. Philip Randolph led the union until 1979. Mush of the planning for the 1963 March on Washington took place in this building. The International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters made this address its local chapter office from 1943 until 1978. The building is now a private residence.

Phyllis Wheatley YWCA
901 Rhode Island Avenue

This was originally the Colored Young Women’s Christian Association. It was the District of Columbia’s first and the nation’s first and only independent Black YWCA. It was organized by a Black women’s literary group, the Book Lovers Club. It moved into its newly constructed building in 1920 and was renamed to honor poet Phyllis Wheatley. National Council of Negro Women President emeritus Dorothy Height served as executive secretary from 1939 to 1944. The building is currently a residential complex for women.

African American Civil War Memorial and Museum
Vermont and U Street, NW (Memorial)
12th and U Streets, NW (Museum)

Ph: 202.667.2677
Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Daily)
10 am – 2 pm (Saturdays)
Metro: Take the Green line (U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardoza)
African American Civil War Memorial Website

The African American Civil War Memorial is the only national memorial that commemorates the more than 200,000 soldiers of the U.S. Colored Troops who served during the Civil War (1861-1865). Their names are inscribed on a Wall of Honor alongside the Spirit of Freedom sculpture by Ed Hamilton. The museum’s Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation Registry collects documentation related to members of the U.S. Colored Troops.

The African American Civil War Memorial will sponsor a march and rally on Monday January 19 to commemorate the 209,145 African Americans who fought in the Civil War and helped gain passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. The Massachusetts 54th USCT, Company A will serve as Marshals for the event. The march and rally will begin at 10th Street Baptist Church, the corner of 11th and R Streets, NW at 12 noon and will end at the African American Civil War Memorial. Following the rally the African American Civil War Museum will unveil its new traveling exhibit called “Glorious March to Freedom” in the assembly room of the Masonic Building, adjacent to the museum.

True Reformer Building
1200 U Street, NW

Ph: 202.965.1800
Metro: Take the Green line (U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardoza)

The building was the first major commissioned work of pioneering Black architect, John A. Lankford and was built in 1902. It housed the United Order of True Reformers, a Richmond, Virginia based benevolent society. In 1917 it was purchased by the Knights of Pythias and was a venue for many events in the Black community. Duke Ellington played one of his first paid performances in the hall. A mural of Ellington is on the side of the building that overlooks the African American Civil War Memorial. The building has been on the National Historic Register since 1989. It now owned by the Public Welfare Foundation. It houses the office of the African American Civil War Museum.

United States Capitol
First and East Capitol Streets
Capitol Hill

The building that serves as home to Congress, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, was built with slave labor. Philip Reid, a slave, was responsible for the final casting, transportation and assembly of the Statue of Freedom by white sculptor Thomas Crawford that sits on top of the Capitol dome. The building’s newly opened Visitors Center’s Emancipation Hall is named in honor of slaves who helped construct the Capitol.

Ebenezer United Methodist Church
400 D Street, SE

Ebenezer United Methodist Church was founded in 1827 by Blacks who left a biracial Capitol Hill congregation because the white congregants practiced segregation. It is Capitol Hill’s oldest independent Black congregation. The current church building was completed in 1897.

Patrick Francis Healy Hall
37th and O Streets, NW
Georgetown University

On the campus of Georgetown University, Healy Hall is named for Patrick Francis Healy, a slave who became a Jesuit priest and served as the first Black president of Georgetown College. He is widely credited with transforming Georgetown into a modern university. Healy’s racial identity was not revealed until the 1960’s.

Metropolitan AME Church
1518 M Street, NW

This is the national church of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination. The building was completed in 1866. The congregation was originally the result of the merger of two churches, Israel Bethel AME Church and Union Bethel AME Church of Georgetown. The funeral of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was held in the church. The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Headquarters
633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Ph. 202.737.0120
National Council of Negro Women Inc. Website

The headquarters building of the National Council of Negro Women, founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935, was opened by the group in 1995. The National Council of Negro Women is the only Black organization to own property between the Capitol and the White House on historic Pennsylvania Avenue.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial
National Memorial Foundation, Inc.
401 F Street, NW Suite 334

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Website

The first national memorial in honor of a Black American planned for the National Mall is set to be dedicated in 2010. The four acre site sits on the northeast corner of the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial and the FDR Memorial.