Learning more about Black history

February is Black History Month, and there are so many places in D.C. to learn more about Black history.

One of the best places to start is with Carter Woodson, the creator of Black History Month. A memorial to him is in the park at 900 Rhode Island Ave NW.

Dr. Woodson was a famous scholar – he was the second Black American to get a doctorate from Harvard (the first was W.E.B. Du Bois). The back of the memorial has carved replicas of some of his books.

Woodson founded Black History Month in 1926, because he realized that much of Black history was being ignored by the historical associations controlled by white scholars. He chose the month of February because it was the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Woodson lived on 9th Street in Shaw from 1922 until his death in 1950. The building and two adjoining buildings are owned by the National Park Service, and they plan to open a museum to Black history there later this year.

Learning more about Carter Woodson:

The National Park Service offers information and tours of the area around the Carter Woodson house.

The Logan Circle historic trail markers make a self-guided walking tour of the history surrounding the area that Dr. Woodson lived in, and the other important African-American contributions in that area.

Mount Zion Cemetery-Female Union Band Society Cemetery

This cemetery holds Black history going back two centuries. Tucked in a corner of Georgetown, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places but is not well-known to the public. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place with so much rich history.

The grave of 9-year old Nannie often is surrounded by toys:

While many of the graves are unmarked or damaged, so much history can be seen in what remains:

More information about the cemetery

Mount Zion-Female Union Band Society

Internments in the cemetery ended in 1950. Many of the graves are unmarked or damaged.

It is a private sanctuary property but visitors are welcome.

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