DC launches interactive map featuring 300 historical sites in Black history

Between 200,000 and 500,000 demonstrators march down Constituition Avenue during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)(Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

Throughout February, WTOP is celebrating Black History Month. Join us on air and online as we bring you the stories, people and places that make up our diverse community.

The nation’s capital is home to key moments in Civil Rights history, and a new interactive map highlights the cultural, political, and social impact of those moments and the Black leaders that called D.C. home.

Anita Cozart, director of the DC Office of Planning, told WTOP that the agency has been working on the project for a while.

“We see it as our mission to help advance knowledge both for District residents but also the nation,” she said.

Among the places featured on the map is the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, and the Anacostia home of Frederick Douglass, now a national landmark.

But there are also locations whose historic importance are less widely known — schools, shops and churches were activists lived, built community and fought for their rights, including the Truist Bank location on Massachusetts Avenue NW, near Union Station. The stately building was once a restaurant where, in 1949, civil rights activists held a sit-in protest that Cozart said helped desegregation efforts.

“There are a lot of inspiring stories because the District of Columbia has been the home to many incredible Black leaders throughout its history,” she said. “At the same time, D.C. has been the scene of these events and movements that have really shaped the culture, not just of our city, but of our nation and our entire world.”

The website, “Black History Sites: Washington DC,” builds on the African American Heritage Trail that was launched in 2001. Cozart said the map project is dynamic, and more locations could be added.

She encourages residents to submit suggestions by calling (202) 442-7600 or emailing Planning@DC.gov.

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Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

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