Celebrate Black History Month Visiting Women’s Landmarks in DC

Black History Month is an opportunity to gather all the places honoring pioneer black women in the DMV area (and slightly further), and this is what this post is about. Since many indoor museums are closed due to Covid-19, we are mostly listing outdoor places and online resources.

Edmonson Sisters Memorial Statue
1701 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

A statue of Mary and Emily Edmonson holding hands while emerging from the shadow of slavery to freedom. It is standing next to a former slave-holding facility in downtown Alexandria, where they were once held. In April 1848, the teenage sisters tried to escape slavery on a steamboat, aiming to arrive in New Jersey, where slavery was illegal. They were caught in Maryland and were sent to jail, later sold to a slave trader in Alexandria. A few months later, their freedom was bought by Henry Ward Beecher and his church members, and their father and brother. They became an icon in the abolitionist movement.
Read more here.

Mary Mcleod Bethune Memorial
Lincoln Park, Washington, DC 20003.

Mary Mcleod Bethune (1875-1955) was a pioneer educator since she was a little girl. Her belief that equality in education is the foundation of equality led her to establish schools and organizations in many states, mostly Florida and Washington, DC. She fought for equal rights for African-Americans and women and got the nickname “The first lady of the struggle.”

More about her legacy and life journey in this article.

Mary Mcleod Bethune Memorial is facing the Emancipation Memorial/Freedman’s Memorial in Lincoln Park. Click to read more.

National Museum of African American History and Culture
1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560.

Three floors of exhibitions of thousands of artifacts and memorabilia related to African-American history and culture, as well as exhibits about pioneer African-Americans in many fields.

Historical and current women celebrities’ achievements are presented. Among them are – the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the hat designer Mae Reeves and her hats, the New Orleans chef, Leah Chase, the singer Marian Anderson, Oprah, and many more.

Recently, online exhibitions were added and can be explored on the museum’s official website.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
4068 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622.

Visiting this place will require a day trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but it is worth it.
The park and the museum commemorate the story and lifework of Harriet Tubman, a former slave, an abolitionist, and a conductor of the Underground Railroad (a network of secret runaway routes and safe houses), who freed more than 300 slaves.
The park is one of the stops on a 125-mile long byway of 30 places related to the Underground Railroad and Tubman.
At the museum, several exhibits about the salve life, the Underground Railroad, and Tubman.
More info is available here, and you should also check the official website for opening hours and special events.

The Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center
424 Race St, Cambridge, MD 21613.

The local museum is celebrating the life and legacy of the former slave Harriet Tubman. It showcases several exhibits as well as a short movie about her.
Make sure not to miss the magnificent Harriet Tubman mural by Michael Rosato, located in front of the museum.

Pioneer Black Women Commemorated on Old Call Boxes in Downtown DC
14th St NW & G St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Five historic African-American pioneering women are commemorated on old fire call boxes in Downtown DC. Wander around the area and visit the landmarks of inspiring women who left their mark on the city:

  • Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), an activist and educator.
  • Alma Thomas (1891-1978), a famous painter.
  • Flora Molton (1908 –1990), a visually impaired Gospel blues street singer.
  • Josephine Dorothy Butler (1920-1997), a community activist and labor reformer in Washington, DC.
  • Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907), a seamstress, entrepreneur, and activist.

Read more about this project and the renewed call boxes in this article.