Washington DC Cultural Sites

Washington DC Cultural Sites

Washington DC cultural sites are anchored by Howard University, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Howard Theatre, National Museum for African American History & Culture Site, National Museum of African Art, Benjamin Banneker Memorial & Fountain, National Council of Negro Women Headquarters, The Links Headquarters, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority HQ, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority HQ, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity HQ, BET HQ, Anacostia Museum, Lincoln Theatre and African American Civil War Memorial Museum.

National Museum for African American History & Culture Site

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
DESCRIPTION: With its Grand opening in October 2011, this memorial commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s pursuit of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; the memorial utilizes landscape elements to convey four recurring themes in Dr. King’s message: justice, democracy, hope and love; the semicircular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site facing the Tidal Basin frames views to the water and Jefferson Memorial; at the entry portal, two stones are parted and a single stone wedge is pushed forward toward the horizon bearing Dr. King’s image; symbolic of a great struggle; on the visible side of the stone, the theme of hope is presented, with the text from King’s famed 1963 speech cut sharply into the stone: “Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” On the other side are inscribed these words by Dr. King: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness”; the boulder is the Mountain of Despair, through which every visitor will enter, moving through the struggle as Dr. King did during his life, and then be released into the open freedom of the plaza; the solitary stone is the Stone of Hope, from which Dr. King’s image emerges, gazing over the Tidal Basin toward the horizon, seeing a future society of justice and equality for which he encouraged all citizens to strive.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: Dawn to Dusk
ADDRESS: Tidal Basin, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Smithsonian Metro Station
PARKING: on street
WEBSITE: http://www.mlkmemorial.org

Howard Theatre
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1910, this 650-seat venue was one of the first legitimate theatres for African-Americans; it joined the likes of the Apollo Theatre in New York, Royal Theatre in Baltimore and the Regal Theatre in Chicago on the national Chitlin’ Circuit; after briefly closing in 1929, theatre manager Shep Allen reopened it in 1931 with native Washingtonian Duke Ellington playing the theatre’s first night; Allen introduced the concept of Amateur Night, its early winners included Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Eckstine; Allen brought in nationally-regarded performers Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lena Horne, Lionel Hampton, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Dizzy Gillespie and The Supremes, who made their first stage appearance at The Howard. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun got his musical start by seeing jazz here; following a $29 million renovation, this performing arts landmark reopened with a star-studded gala concert featuring appearances and performances by legendary figures in the worlds of music Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Al Jarreau, Savion Glover, The Roots, Robert Randolph, Taj Mahal, Mos Def, Bad Brains, Chuck Brown and Wanda Sykes, Chuck Berry, Chaka Khan, Esperanza Spalding, and Boyz II Men; the restoration houses a museum, classrooms, listening library, recording studio and offices.
ADMISSION: varies by event
ADDRESS: 624 T Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: on street
TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station
PHONE: 202-588-5595
WEBSITE: http://www.howardtheatre.org

National Museum of African Art
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1964 as a private institution, this modern multi-level museum is built mostly underground; it joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1979; features world class artwork from more than 900 sub-Saharan African cultures; also features the Warren M. Robbins Library of more than 20,000 volumes on African art and culture, plus archives for more 300,000 photographs and many documentary films/videos.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p
ADDRESS: 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Smithsonian Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-357-4600
WEBSITE: http://www.nmafa.si.edu

Benjamin Banneker Memorial and Fountain
DESCRIPTION: An elongated circular fountain honoring the self-taught genius astronomer, surveyor, mathematician, engineer, scientific farmer, abolitionist, publisher and maker of the first striking clock of wood in America; in 1792, he published the Banneker Almanac used by farmers, merchants and educators throughout America; when Pierre L’Enfant quit the job before finishing the landscape design of the District of Columbia, Banneker provided the astronomical calculations for the project, and along with Major Andrew Ellicott, he co-surveyed the area and reconstructed the plans for street layout we see today; Banneker authored the first publicly documented protest letter denouncing the Bill of Rights as disingenuous — it was written to then Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, at a time when most of the “Founding Fathers” were slave-owners; Banneker Institute is authorized by Congress to fund raise a major enhancement and enlargement of the memorial.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: L’Enfant Promenade and Maine Avenue, SW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
WEBSITE: http://www.bannekermemorial.org

National Council of Negro Women Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune; national headquarters recently moved into this dual-spire 6-story corner structure to accommodate new initiatives. Dr. Dorothy I. Height took the organization to higher heights as president for more than 25 years.
ADMISSION: tours by appt
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 633 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Archives-Navy Memorial Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-737-0120
WEBSITE: http://www.ncnw.org

The Links Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1946, this distinctive corner building hosts an African American women’s social organization with a positive purpose in the communities they serve
ADMISSION: appt only
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p by appt
ADDRESS: 1200 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Mount Vernon Square-Convention Center Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-842-8686
WEBSITE: http://www.linksinc.org

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library
DESCRIPTION: Dedicated to the slain civil rights leader, the library’s Black Studies Division contains the finest collection of DC history as well as a dramatic mural depicting the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 9:30a-9p, Fri-Sat 9:30a-5:30p, Sun 1p-5p
ADDRESS: 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-727-0321
WEBSITE: weblink

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1913; national headquarters for this distinguished sorority.
ADMISSION: by appt
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 8:30a-5p
ADDRESS: 1707 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: DuPont Circle Metro Station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-986-2400
WEBSITE: http://www.deltasigmatheta.org

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1920, this is the national headquarters of an equally distinguished sorority.
ADMISSION: by appt
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 8a-5p
ADDRESS: 1734 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: DuPont Circle Metro Station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-387-3103
WEBSITE: http://www.zphib1920.org

Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey Statue
DESCRIPTION: A 12-foot high steel and glass stained interpretative statue inspired by ancestral art from Gabon, Africa; sculptor A. Uzikee Nelson.
DAYS & HOURS: sunrise to sunset
ADDRESS: Meridian Hill Park at W Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardozo Metro Station
PARKING: on street

Duke Ellington School for the Arts
DESCRIPTION: A high school renamed in honor of Duke Ellington, it is one of the nation’s most distinguished high schools for the arts.
ADMISSION: by appt
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 35th Street and R Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: on premises and street
PHONE: 202-282-0123
WEBSITE: http://www.ellingtonschool.org

Asa Philip Randolph Memorial
DESCRIPTION: Organized the 1963 March on Washington and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; located in the Amtrak boarding area in Union Station.
DAYS & HOURS: 24-7
ADDRESS: 50 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Union Station Metro Station
PARKING: on premises

Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial
DESCRIPTION: Bethune (1875-1955) founded the Daytona Normal Industrial Institute for Negro Girls with just $1.50, later became Bethune-Cookman College; 1st president of the National Association of Colored Women in 1935; served as VP of NAACP and was awarded a Spingarn Medal for her work to uplift the race; she was honored with the 1st monument to an African American in DC.
DAYS & HOURS: daily, 24 hours
ADDRESS: Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Eastern Market Metro Station
PARKING: on street

Emancipation Statue
DESCRIPTION: By modern sensibilities, this difficult to embrace statue was the first of its kind and paid for by funds from freed slaves; it shows President Lincoln in a patronizing stance over the likeness of Archer Alexander, the last man captured under the Fugitive slave Law.
DAYS & HOURS: daily, 24 hours
ADDRESS: Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Eastern Market Metro Station
PARKING: on street

Market 5 Gallery
DESCRIPTION: With an African American Director for the last 25 years, this multicultural arts organization sponsors programs that encompass all visual and performing arts, crafts and literary disciplines. Its mission is to encourage the creative expression of DC’s artists and arts organizations by providing an affordable environment to exhibit, perform and sell their work.
ADMISSION: fee
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Fri 11a-5p,
 Sat-Sun 10a-5p
ADDRESS: 7th Street and North Carolina Ave, SE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Eastern Market Metro station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-543-7293
WEBSITE: http://www.market5gallery.org

Howard University
DESCRIPTION: This esteemed university was Founded by Congress in 1867 and named after Freedmen’s Bureau commissioner, General Oliver O. Howard; with over 10,000 students and a student/faculty ratio of 7:1, Howard counts Andrew Young, Thurgood Marshall, and Patricia R Harris among its long list of distinguished alumni; the Moreland-Spingarn Research Center within Founder’s Library contains one of the world’s largest history and cultural collections about the African Diaspora.
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 2400 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Shaw-Howard University Metro station
PARKING: on premises and street
PHONE: 202-806-2900 tours and 202-806-6100 office
WEBSITE: http://www.howard.edu

Freedman’s Hall Gallery of Art
DESCRIPTION: Exhibition gallery celebrating Howard University Hospital’s past, present achievements; a permanent educational and cultural site provides visitors with a compelling way to explore how African Americans contribute to health care; located in Howard University Hospital.
ADMISSION: fee
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 2041 Georgia Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Shaw-Howard University Metro Station
PARKING: on premises and street
PHONE: 202-865-1471 or 202-865-6241
WEBSITE: http://www.huhosp.org

BET Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: In the bold spirit of an entrepreneur, Robert Johnson obtained political backing from a Congressman and seed funding from media magnate to launch Black entertainment television in 1980; BET’s corporate holding company sold a controlling interest to Viacom in 2000 for $3 billion.
ADMISSION: appt only
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 1900 W Place, NE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood station
PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 202-608-2000
WEBSITE: http://www.bet.com

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Headquarters
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1914, it is the national headquarters for a distinguished blue and white fraternity.
ADMISSION: appt only
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 8-5p
ADDRESS: 145 Kennedy Street at 1st Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: near Fort Totten station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-726-5434
WEBSITE: http://www.pbs1914.org

Lincoln Theatre
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1921 as a first-run movie house for African Americans, it is a significant collaboration between noted theater designer Reginald Geare and Harry Crandall, a leading Washington theater operator; today its fully restored and DC’s primary venue for national touring plays featuring African American themes and for medium size concerts for big name stars
ADMISSION: event-based fee
DAYS & HOURS: see their website
ADDRESS: 1215 U Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-328-6000
WEBSITE: http://www.thelincolntheatre.org

Duke Ellington Mural
DESCRIPTION: An inviting 24×32-foot mural of Duke Ellington in a pensive moment invites all to explore the rich culture and history of the Shaw District; symbolically, the mural recalls Duke’s performances at the Lincoln Theatre; muralist G. Byron Peck.
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 13th and U Streets, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza station
PARKING: on street

African American Civil War Memorial
DESCRIPTION: A stunning semi-circular three-foot high wall of steel plaques with names honoring 185,000 United States Colored Troops and their white officers in the Civil War; designed sculptor Ed Hamilton and site architects Paul S. Devrouax and Ed Dunson.
DAYS & HOURS: daily 24/7
ADDRESS: 1000 U Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza Metro Station
PARKING: on street
WEBSITE: http://www.afroamcivilwar.org

African American Civil War Memorial Museum
DESCRIPTION: The first and only museum for United States Colored Troops in the Civil War; find photographs, newspaper articles, and replicas of period clothing, uniforms and weaponry and so much more; today it houses the Family Heritage Center enabling visitors to trace genealogical records of those who served; offers Family Reunion Planning Service; a US Colored Troop descendent visits every month to share stories.
ADMISSION: fee
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri
 10a-5p,
 Sat
 10a-2p
ADDRESS: 1200 U Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza Metro Station
PARKING: garage nearby
PHONE: 202-667-2667
WEBSITE: http://www.afroamcivilwar.org

Black Fashion Museum
DESCRIPTION: The only museum of its kind in America; the Harlem branch closed, but merged its property into this institution; contains nearly 4,000 historic garments by Black designers and/or worn by Black celebrities.
ADMISSION: small fee
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat by appt
ADDRESS: 2007 Vermont Ave, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza Metro Station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-667-0744
WEBSITE: none

Thurgood Marshall Center and Shaw Heritage Trust
DESCRIPTION: In the newly renovated Anthony Bowen YMCA designed by W. Sidney Pittman, one of the nation’s first African American architects; Thurgood Marshall Center provides services for at-risk children and families; Thurgood Marshall formulated his opinion for the monumental 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in this building; museum of The Shaw Heritage Trust located on the first floor, preserves and interprets the history of African Americans in the Shaw district.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 1816 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: U Street-Cardoza station
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-462-8686
WEBSITE: http://www.thurgoodmarshallcenter.org

Anacostia Museum
DESCRIPTION: Interprets the local African American experience; hosts major photographic exhibits and can arrange a tour of underground railroad sites; composed a documentary “Speak To My Heart – The African American Church” chronicles the historical treatment of Black churches; George Washington Carver Nature Trail begins at the museum.
ADMISSION: fee
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5p
ADDRESS: 1901 Fort Place at Fort Stanton, SE, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: none
PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 202-633-4820
WEBSITE: http://anacostia.si.edu

St Martin de Porres Statue
DESCRIPTION: One of the earliest statues of a black saint; located at the entrance to our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
DAYS & HOURS: dawn to dusk
ADDRESS: 1600 Morris Road, SE, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: on premises

Greater Washington Urban League
ADDRESS: 3501 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-265-8200
WEBSITE: http://www.gwul.org

Washington Afro-American Newspaper
DESCRIPTION: Oldest and largest Black weekly newspaper in DC; part of the Afro-American newspaper chain based in Baltimore. It is well respected for capturing the pulse of the community and chronicling civil rights progress in the nation’s capital.
ADDRESS: 1612 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 202-332-0080
WBSITE: http://www.afro.com

Washington Informer
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1965, The Informer is another popular newspaper in the black community
ADDRESS: 3117 Martin Luther King Jr Avenue SE, Washington, DC
PHONE: 202-561-4100
WEBSITE: http://www.washingtoninformer.com

African Art Museum of Maryland
DESCRIPTION: AAMM is devoted to the art of Africa and founded by an African-American, Doris Ligon in 1980; tour the museum and marvel at the beauty and style of the skilled and discipline carvers, potters, metal workers and bead and textile designers and weavers of the art objects from Morocco to South Africa and from East to West of the second largest continent in the world; it sponsors trips to various nations in Africa.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: Wed-Sat 10a-3p; other hours by appt
ADDRESS: 11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD MAP
PARKING: Free parking
PHONE: 301-490-6070
WEBSITE: http://www.africanartmuseum.org

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