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13 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Washington, DC

@jbano1 - Sunrise over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC

Check out events, concerts, performances and sites that honor African American history and culture throughout Black History Month.

African American history and culture are an essential part of DC’s identity, which means that there are numerous ways to celebrate Black History Month in the city. Below, we’ve detailed some of the best ways to engage with DC’s African American culture and community this February.

The nation’s capital is also full of year-round ways to honor the African American experience at museums, memorials and more.

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@uspostalservice - Marvin Gaye stamp pictured in front of the Howard Theatre in DC's Shaw neighborhood

Visit Shaw and the Howard Theatre
Walk through the historic Shaw neighborhood, once home to prominent African Americans including jazz legend Duke Ellington, whose statue resides in front of the historic Howard Theatre. You can also walk the theater's Walk of Fame, which begins near the United Negro College Fund Headquarters and continues for two blocks, right up to the facade of the Howard.

The Shaw neighborhood was named for Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, a member of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry of black soldiers who fought during the Civil War. The area earned the nickname, “The Heart of Chocolate City,” as escaped slaves settled there and eventually started businesses catering to the large population of African Americans. Once you are done admiring its history, check out Shaw’s awesome dining scene.

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@kevin.barata - 'I Have a Dream' Martin Luther King, Jr. steps on the Lincoln Memorial - African American history and culture sites in Washington, DC

Stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
The National Mall has been the site of vital African American history, including the March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 and the first Million Man March in 1995. You can also admire the spot where King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech during the aforementioned March, as the spot can be found etched onto the Lincoln Memorial steps.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall - Monument in Washington, DC

Pay homage at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Situated on a four-acre, crescent-shaped site in West Potomac Park, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial features a 30-foot statue of Dr. King carved into what is known as the Stone of Hope, which stands past two other pieces of granite known as the Mountain of Despair (both are references to his “I Have A Dream” speech). Visit the Inscription Wall to read incredible quotes from King’s speeches, sermons and writings.

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Mary McLeod Bethune Statue in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill - Civil Rights Statue in Washington, DC

Learn about Mary McLeod Bethune at two National Park Service sites
Situated near Logan Circle, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House is the home of the organizer and national political leader who founded the National Council of Negro Women. Her home is now a National Historic Site where interpreters share stories of her life and legacy every Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Across town in Capitol Hill, you can also visit a statue dedicated in her honor.

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The exhibit doubles as a historical journey through a fascinating life.

‘Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950’ – Through Feb. 18
One of America’s most important photographers is showcased in this exhibit that covers an entire decade of his work. Gordon Parks went from documenting everyday life in Saint Paul and Chicago to becoming a true visionary featured in leading publications such as VogueLife and Ebony. This exhibition features 150 objects, including some of Parks’ most striking photographs as well as books, magazines, letters and family pictures. You will be granted an intimate look at a revolutionary artist.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m on Sunday
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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@paddyleahy - U.S. Capitol Dome as seen from the Capitol Visitors Center - Washington, DC

Enjoy special activities at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center – Throughout February
The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which remains open during the partial government shutdown, features a range of Black History Month programs during February. The Family Program will highlight Congressional Gold Medals given to African American athletes, artists and leaders (Thursdays, 1:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). On Fridays at 1:30 p.m., you can watch rare footage of the 1963 March on Washington. The Talking Points program (Wednesdays at 10 a.m.) will highlight the 15th Amendment and early African American Congressional leaders. Check out the center’s full calendar for more details.

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Bradley Beal Dunking at Capital One Arena - Washington Wizards Basketball in Washington, DC

Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Feb. 2
The Wizards will celebrate Black History Month with special promotions and their exclusive Statement Jerseys in this Saturday night matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the NBA’s best teams. Bradley Beal and the Wiz will look to take down their Eastern Conference rival, a team led by one of the most exciting players in the world, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

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I AM A MAN jazz performance at the Kennedy Center - Ways to celebrate Black History Month in  Washington, DC

‘I AM A MAN’ – Feb. 2
One of jazz music’s finest trumpeters, Ron Miles, brings his new musical project to the Kennedy Center. I AM A MAN is named after signs carried by striking sanitation workers who were accompanied by Martin Luther King, Jr. the day before his assassination. This powerful phrase influenced Miles’ new work, which he will perform with a crew of seasoned jazz musicians.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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A Cross-Genre Look at Afrofuturism at  Folger Theatre - Black History Month events in Washington,  DC

‘What Was, What Is, and What Will Be: A Cross-Genre Look at Afrofuturism’ – Feb. 12
Poet Airea D. Matthews, fiction writer N.K. Jemisin and screenwriter/author Tananarive Due will discuss the concept of “Afrofuturism” in this Folger Theatre event perfectly timed for Black History Month. Critic Mark Dery coined Afrofuturism, a term that has evolved to include spacey jazz, African-American sci-fi and psychedelic hip-hop and R&B. Three brilliant minds will discuss the term and read excerpts that help to illuminate the phenomenon.
7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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'She a Gem' at the Kennedy Center - Play honoring Black History Month in DC

‘She A Gem’ – Feb. 15-24
This original work from playwright Josh Wilder concerns a Double Dutch trio of African American girls in inner city Philadelphia. The three hope to win their neighborhood competition, which would allow them to hear their futures told by the local psychic. However, the girls meet a pregnant teen from North Philly who jumps Double Dutch as well as any of them. Soon, they’ll learn more from her than they ever could from a psychic.
Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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Urban Bush Women performance at Dance Place - Ways to celebrate Black History Month in Washington, DC

Urban Bush Women: 'Hair & Other Stories' – Feb. 16-17
Combining dance, music and storytelling, Urban Bush Women brings Hair & Other Stories to Dance Place this February. The company is known for its boundary-pushing performances that incorporate the history, culture and spirituality of African Americans and the African Diaspora. In Hair & Other Stories, personal narratives pulled from kitchens, living rooms and social media address of-the-moment issues concerning race, identity and beauty, inspiring a conversation through movement.
Tickets
Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017

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 'Meet Dr. King' - Ways to celebrate Black History Month in Washington, DC

Bright Star Theatre: ‘Meet Dr. King’ – Feb. 23
Bright Star Theatre uses plays as educational tools, helping young audiences to better understand history and the world around them. The National Theatre will host Bright Star for two performances of Meet Dr. King during its Saturday Morning at The National program, making for a perfect family activity during Black History Month. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and his incredible work done during the Civil Rights movement will be detailed in the dramatic show. Both shows are free to attend.
9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m. |  Free admission
The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

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@rickysanch - Washington Wizards NBA basketball game at Capital One Arena - Pro sports events in Washington, DC

Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers – Feb. 23
The Wizards round out their Black History Month promotional schedule with this game against the powerhouse Indiana Pacers on the last Saturday in February. This game also represents Historical Black College University Night and Junior Wizards Night, so plenty of festivities will be on tap in addition to the hoops action.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004