African American history and culture are an integral part of the history of Washington, DC and there are many ways to celebrate Black History Month in the District.
Here are just a few of the things you can do to engage with African American and Black culture, community and history brought to you by our friends at Chenega MIOS.
Explore Howard Theatre
The Howard Theatre is a historic theater, located at 620 T Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C. Opened in 1910, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
In its heyday, the theater was known for catering to an African-American clientele, and had played host to many of the great Black musical artists of the early and mid-twentieth century. The Howard Theatre was billed as the "Theater of the People," and supported two theatrical organizations, the Lafayette Players and the Howard University Players. In September 2010 extensive renovations were started to restore the theater to its former glory.
Howard Theatre has played host to names like Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr, James Brown, Lionel Hampton, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and many more.
Stand on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial
The National Mall has played host to numerous significant events in Black history, perhaps none more known than the March on Washington in 1963, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. The exact spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial have been etched into them.
Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to Pay Homage
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in the West Potomac Park on a four-acre site. The memorial stands 30-feet high and is carved out of the "Stone of Hope" and sits in front of two other large rocks known as the "Mountain of Despair," referencing the "I Have a Dream" speech. Nearby are inscriptions that have quotes from King's speeches, writings, and sermons.
Visit the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House and Statue
Mary McLeod Bethune played a significant role as a civil rights activist and organizer who fought racial and gender discrimination in the 1930s through the 1950s. She founded the National Council of Negro Women near Logan Circle which is now called the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House.
In Capitol Hill, she has a statue dedicated in her honor (pictured above).
Experience the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2016 and contains four floors of exhibits and artifacts detailing African American life, history and culture. Tickets are free and can be reserved here.
For more ideas and ways to celebrate Black History Month in DC, visit washington.org.