Washington DC Historic Sites

Washington, DC Historic Sites

Washington, DC should rhyme black historic sites. The White House, Capitol and other federal buildings from the early 1800s were built by enslaved people who descended from Africa. The nation’s history is written in Washington, DC, which has hosted many Civil and Human Rights rights demonstrations that amplify our changes in this nation.

Father Patrick F Healy and Georgetown University
DESCRIPTION: He was the first African-American Jesuit and president of a non-historically-black American college in 1874. Father Healy is best known for turning this once small college into a globally respected academic institution. Built in 1879, the Healy Building still dominates the campus. He is buried in the Jesuit cemetery on campus.
ADDRESS: 37th and O Streets NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: none

Mount Zion Cemetery & Female Union Band Cemetery
DESCRIPTION: A byproduct of Georgetown being predominantly African American until the 1940’s, these are the oldest predominantly Black burial grounds. They nearly suffered urban renewal until concerned citizens rallied to get them declared historic landmarks in 1976.
ADDRESS: <2700 Q Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Dupont Circle Metro Station

Whitehurst Freeway
DESCRIPTION: This working freeway was built by Archie A. Alexander’s general contracting firm. Alexander was the last man captured during the Fugitive Slave Law. He helped open construction trades in Washington DC and was appointed Governor of US Virgin Islands in 1954.
ADDRESS: extending north from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial MAP

Blair House
DESCRIPTION: This historic dwelling was constructed in 1824. In 1836, Francis Preston Blair Sr., a member of Andrew Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet” purchased the house. When they moved to a Maryland country house in the 1840s, the Blairs rented it to many notable tenants because it was so close to the White House. In 1852, the Blairs moved back. Montgomery Blair, son of Francis Preston, became a trusted advisor to President Lincoln before and during the Civil War. Montgomery was instrumental in forming the free soil (Non-Slave State) movement within the Republican Party and in keeping Maryland out of the Confederacy. This National Historic Landmark now serves as the official guesthouse of the President. The Obama Family stayed here shortly before the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
ADDRESS: 1651-1653 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Farragut West Metro Station

Independence Federal Savings Bank
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1968; one of the 10 largest Black banks per Black Enterprise magazine.
ADDRESS: 1229 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC MAP
TRANSIT: Farragut North Metro Station
PHONE: 202-628-5500

Gage School
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1904, this 21,000 square foot building was an elementary school that educated many African Americans. It was purchased by Howard University for renovation.
ADDRESS: 2035 2nd Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Griffith Stadium Site
DESCRIPTION: Although the former Washington Senators of MLB played here, Negro Leagues Baseball teams made it famous. The the Washington Elite Giants, Le Droit Barons, Washington Pilots and Homestead Grays played here, the house was rocking. The champion Homestead Grays, featuring Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson, played here when the Senators were out of town, and usually drew more fans.
ADDRESS: formerly at the site of Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Duke Ellington Residence
DESCRIPTION: Duke Ellington (1899-1974) began studying piano at age 7 here. He has influenced by Eubie Blake and Fats Waller while in his teens. This world renown musician, composer and self-taught arranger made his professional debut at age 17 in Washington DC. He received every honor one can bestow on a musical genius, including the title of one of America’s greatest composers. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 1212 T Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

Howard Theatre
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1910, it was one of the first legitimate Black theaters. Tt 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 for like Pearl Bailey, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, and others. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 624 T Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Mary Church Terrell Residence
DESCRIPTION: Terrell (1863-1954) was a less celebrated civil rights warrior with a sparkling resume. She taught at the famous M Street high school and became the first president of the National Association of Negro Women in 1896. She was a renown public speaker for women’s suffrage. She filed the case which led the U.S. Supreme Court to desegregate public places in 1953. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 326 T Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Arena Stage – Club Bali
DESCRIPTION: One of many nightclubs that made U Street the joint for music lovers in the Jazz Era from the 1920s-1960s. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Jordan, Lester Young and many more performed here.
ADDRESS: 1901 14th Street, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

Evans-Tibbs Residence
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1894, it became the home of Lillian Evans Tibbs. She was known as Madame Evanti, the first internationally African American opera star. The building was designed by African-American architect, R.E. Crump. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 1910 Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

Dunbar Hotel
DESCRIPTION: Named for Paul Laurence Dunbar, this 6-story building was originally built in 1897 as an apartment house for white residents. As Dunbar Hotel, it became the traveling home for black dignitaries, performing artists, and professional athletes. Like the nearby Whitelaw Hotel, the Dunbar’s guests included public figures and major entertainers appearing in the theaters along U Street. By the late 1950s, Downtown began desegregating and the Dunbar Hotel lost its traditional clientele. today the building houses a bank.
ADDRESS: 15th Street at U Streets NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Residence
DESCRIPTION: Dunbar (1872-1906) published his 1st poetry book in 1892 and skyrocketed to international fame. Upon marrying Alice Moore in 1896, the studious couple anchored the cultural hub of African American society in LeDroit Park. This home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 321 U Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Carter G. Woodson Residence
DESCRIPTION: Woodson (1875-1950) originated Black History Week, which was later expanded to a month in 1976. He was largely, a self-taught youth who rose from the coal mines to earn a Doctorate in History from Harvard. He became an outspoken advocate to recognize the contributions of African-Americans in history books. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in Washington DC. This home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 1538 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station
WEBSITE: link

LeDroit Park Residences
DESCRIPTION: The premier Washington, DC residential district for middle class African-Americans from 1900-1950.
ADDRESS: 400 block of U Street and 500 block of T Streets, NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Senator Edward Brooke Residence
DESCRIPTION: Born 1919 and raised here, Brooke received the military’s Bronze Star. He was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts. He is famous for becoming the first African American elected by popular vote to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1966-1978. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 1938 3rd Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Anna J. Cooper Memorial Residence and Circle
DESCRIPTION: Cooper (1858-1964) was a former slave who became a Latin teacher and principal of M Street High School for 40 years. Her M Street graduates were possibly the first African Americans from public schools to enter Ivy League colleges. She earned her doctorate at 67. The home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 201 T Street, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Shaw Metro Station

Dunbar High School
DESCRIPTION: Formerly M Street High School, Dunbar became a premier high school for African Americans in the early 1900s; graduates frequently entered northern universities without special entrance exams; earned Blue Ribbon School designation by the U.S. Department of Education in the 1990s.
ADDRESS: 1st Street between N and O Streets, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: New York Avenue Metro Station

Whitelaw Hotel Site
In 1919, businessman John Whitelaw Lewis commissioned the first luxury hotel and meeting place built by African-Americans. Isaiah T. Hatton was architect. Lewis also founded the Industrial Savings Bank. The building is currently an apartment complex.
ADDRESS: 1839 13th Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

Anthony Bowen YMCA
Bowen purchased his freedom from slavery in 1853. He convinced YMCA leadership to open a branch for African-Americans. As a Patent Office Clerk in 1867, he helped influence Congress to build a public school for African-Americans. This site was built in 1912, after a massive interracial fundraising effort in Bowen’s honor. The architect was William S. Pittman. It is now a family and youth fitness center with a swimming pool.
ADDRESS: 1816 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
PHONE: 202-462-1054
RAPID TRANSIT: U Street Metro Station

George Bell’s School Site
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1807, Bell and two colleagues who worked at the Washington Navy Yard, built the first school to educate African-American youth. To reduce the chances of a racist attack on the school, he posted an ad in a white newspaper to indicate that no writings would be taught to slaves.
ADDRESS: 3rd and D Streets SE, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Capitol South Metro Station

Freedman’s Savings Bank Site
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1865, it became an iconic symbol of African-American economic progress. It protected the paychecks of returning African American Civil War veterans. Although Frederick Douglass tried to rescue the bank in 1874, prior mismanagement and fraud caused its collapse in 1875.
ADDRESS: Pennsylvania Ave at Madison Place NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: McPherson Square Metro Station

Capital Savings Bank Site
DESCRIPTION: Located on the site of the Verizon Center for sports, stood the first privately owned African-American Bank founded in 1888. Although the site was given National Historic Landmark status in 1975. This bank was a particularly important institution during the Reconstruction Era, since it helped many businesses and property owners until it closed in 1902.
ADDRESS: formerly located at 609 F Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station

Senator Blanche K. Bruce Residence
DESCRIPTION: Bruce (1841-1898) escaped slavery and became the first African-American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate beginning in 1875. He also served as Registrar of the U.S. Treasury and as DC Recorder of Deeds. This home is not open to public.
ADDRESS: 909 M Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Mt. Vernon-7th Street-Convention Center Metro Station

Charles E. Sumner Museum & Archives
DESCRIPTION: This site was the first school built for African-Americans in Washington DC. It features permanent exhibits of Charles Sumner, a black U.S. Senator during Reconstruction. It includes exhibits for Frederick Douglass as well.
DAYS & HOURS: by appt
ADDRESS: 17th Street at M Street, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Farragut North Metro Station
PHONE: 202-727-3129

Recorder of Deeds Building
DESCRIPTION: Since 1881, when Frederick Douglass was appointed Recorder of Deeds by the President, that position has been held almost exclusively by African-Americans. This 1941 Art Deco building’s interior features murals portraying heroes including Frederick Douglass, Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker, Matthew Henson, and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of Colored Troops.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 8:30a-4:30p
ADDRESS: 515 D Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Judiciary Square Metro Station

Frederick Douglass First DC Residence
DESCRIPTION: The home showcases a Douglass memorabilia and furnishings. It is currently home to the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans. It includes seven galleries of photography, art, and exhibits honoring National Caring Award recipients.
ADDRESS: 320 A Street NE, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Union Station Metro Station
PHONE: 202-544-6130
WEBSITE: http:// www.caringinstitute.org

Dr. Ralph J. Bunche Residence
DESCRIPTION: Bunche (1904-1971) commissioned Hilyard Robinson to design this building; while teaching at Howard, Bunche organized its Political Science Dept. He was the African-American to become U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
ADDRESS: 1250 H Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Metro Center Metro Station

Frederick Douglass Cedar Hill Residence
DESCRIPTION: This National Historic Site is dedicated to the Father of the Civil Rights Movement (1818-1895). Self-educated, accomplished orator, and author for the Abolition Cause, Douglass counseled President Lincoln and urged African-Americans to join the Union Army the Civil War fight to end slavery. After the Civil War, he helped many men of color obtain citizenship and the right to vote. In 1877, he purchased this house on Cedar Hill, which has his original furnishings. Douglass was appointed U.S. Marshal for DC, DC Recorder of Deeds and U.S. Minister to Haiti. The adjacent visitor’s center features a documentary film on his life.
ADDRESS: 1411 W Street SEAfrican-Americans MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Anacostia Metro Station
PHONE: 202-426-5960

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