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Washington DC Celebrates Black History Month 2014

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Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Washington, DC celebrates Black History Month each February and remembers the contributions of African Americans in the United States with numerous events and cultural programs. Here are some special events and relevant places to visit in Washington, DC to remember and recognize the history of Black Americans.

Martin Luther King Memorial
The National Memorial honors the life and contributions made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ranger talks are given regularly and highlight historic facts about the Civil Rights leader. Visit the Memorial during Black History Month and learn something new.

Smithsonian Black History Month Family Day Celebration
February 1, 2014. American History Museum. The Smithsonian kicks off its celebration of Black History Month with a day of music and drama performances, arts and craft activities and other themed activities.

National Archives
Celebrate Black History Month in February with special films, public programs, and lectures. These programs are open to the public and will be held at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC and at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

DC Public Library
Throughout the month of February, the DC Public Library offers special programs celebrating Black History Month. Programs include art exhibits, jazz concerts, book discussions, theatrical workshops and more.

Navy Memorial & US Navy Band Concerts
Free, live performances by the U.S. Navy Band will be held at the United States Navy Memorial in honor of Black History Month. African Americans have had a major presence in the U.S. Navy since the 19th Century. Their role grew tremendously during the Civil War when many newly freed slaves joined forces with U.S. sailors in working towards a common goal. The concerts are part of a series that celebrates different ethnicities in the Navy.

Anacostia Community Museum
Throughout the year, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of African American history and culture offers exhibitions, educational programs, workshops, lectures, film screenings and other special events that interpret black history from the 1800s to the present.

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate
Throughout the month of February Mount Vernon will honor the slaves who lived and worked at George Washington's estate with a daily 12 p.m. wreathlaying at the Slave Memorial. On Saturdays and Sundays in February, visitors learn about life as a slave with Silla and Slammin' Joe, two of Washington's slaves, at the recently-opened slave cabin. Tom Davis, an enslaved brickmaker, presents his perspective on Saturdays and Sundays in the greenhouse at 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. The Marquis de Lafayette talks about his efforts to end slavery in the Greenhouse on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. All Black History Month events are included in the regular admission price to the estate.

Arlington House
1:30 p.m., Sundays and Saturdays throughout February. Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, will present special guided tours in recognition of African American History month. Visitors can explore the newly restored historic North slaves’ quarters and learn about the enslaved population living at the Arlington estate on the eve of the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln Birthday Observance
2014 Date to Be Announced, noon. Lincoln Memorial, 23rd & Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC. Honor Abraham Lincoln at a Presidential wreath laying ceremony and a dramatic reading of the "Gettysburg Address." For more information, call (202) 619-7222.

African American Civil War Memorial and Museum
This Washington, DC site honors and examines the African American's heroic struggle for freedom and civil rights. The memorial is the only one in the United States to honor Colored Troops (USCT) who served in the Civil War. The museum uses photographs, documents and state of the art audio visual equipment to educate visitors about this important part of American history.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W St. SE, Washington, DC. Tours of the historic home are available daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Frederick Douglass’ birthday will be celebrated with music, presentations, programs on the history of Anacostia, children’s activities, and lots of talk about the books he wrote, the books he read, and how reading and writing can change the world.

Black History Month Cruise Aboard the Spirit of Washington
February 22, 2014. Take an educational and entertaining lunch cruise to remember those who have influenced African-American culture. This cruise will feature DJ in tribute to Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Diana Ross, Prince and much more. The cruise boards at 11:00 a.m. and cruises from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $47.90 per person.

Old Town Alexandria
The National Register of Historic Places lists several historic sites in Alexandria, Virginia as locations where African Americans lived, worked and worshiped during the period 1790 through 1951. Take a tour of these sites and learn about this important part of our regional history. Read more about Black History in Alexandria

Josiah Henson Historic Site
11420 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD. Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will celebrate Black History Month with weekly free guided tours each Saturday in February. Tour participants will retrace Reverend Josiah Henson’s footsteps from his enslavement on Isaac Riley’s plantation to his escape on the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Henson’s extraordinary life was documented in his 1849 autobiography that inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852.

DC Blues Society’s Black History Month Dance
February 15, 2014, 8 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.  American Legion Post 268, 11225 Fern Street, Wheaton MD.  Jesi Terrell and the Love Mechanic Band.  Jesi is a Chicago music scene veteran, born and raised in the Windy City.  She has shared the stage with Little Milton Campbell, Bobby Blue Bland, and Koko Taylor.  This powerhouse singer also has opened for B.B. King and Eric Clapton. 

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