Celebrate Black History Month at District home sites of prominent African American social reformers


Frederick Douglass’ Home in Anacostia as it appears today. Photo Credit: National Park Service (NPS)

To celebrate Black History Month, the National Park Service is inviting residents and others to experience African American history and stories in Washington, D.C by visiting and touring the homes of Frederick Douglass, Carter G. Woodson and Mary McLeod Bethune.  All events are free and open to the public.

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818.  He escaped as a young man and became a leading voice in the abolitionist movement.   Douglass spent his life fighting for justice and equality.  Douglass’ legacy is preserved at Cedar Hill in Anacostia, where he lived the last 17 years of his life.  The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site sits on top of a 50-foot hill and on eight acres of the original estate.  The only way to view the house in on a guided tour.  National Park Rangers lead daily tours at scheduled times. Reservations are highly recommended.  The address is 1411 W Street SE, Washington, DC 20020.

February 2018 crowds lining up for Frederick Douglass’ Bicentennial Birthday Celebration. Photo credit: NPS

Another District historical landmark to visit is the Carter G. Woodson Home. Before Dr. Carter G. Woodson, there was very little accurate written history about the lives and experiences of Americans of African descent.  Now a National Historic Site, Dr. Woodson’s home served as the headquarters for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Dr. Woodson established Negro History Week in 1926, which we celebrate today as Black History Month.   Tours of Dr. Woodson’s home occur Thursday through Sunday, every hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, or may be reserved online at www.recreation.gov.  The address is 1538 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

A third site to add to your list is the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House.    Mary McLeod Bethune achieved her greatest recognition at the Washington, DC townhouse that is now a National Historic Site. The Council House was the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and was Bethune’s last home in Washington, DC.   From here, Bethune and the NCNW spearheaded strategies and developed programs that advanced the interests of African American women.  Tours are first-come first-served, Thursday through Sunday every hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The address is 1318 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005.