Alexandria is home to the longest continuous experience of African American life and culture in the United States. A walk through the streets of Alexandria will take through America’s timeline of African American history from colonial times to the Civil War, and from Civil Rights to today.
Here are four major African American sites in Alexandria that you should visit.
Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street)
Housed in the 1940 segregated Robert H. Robinson library, this museum documents the contribution of African Americans to Alexandria’s history and the culture from 1749 to the present.
Alexandria African American Heritage Park (500 Holland Lane – just off Duke Street)
This park includes a one-acre 19th-century African American cemetery with over 20 burial sites as well as a sculpture group of bronze trees called “Truths That Rise From the Roots Remembered” by Jerome Meadows, that honors the contribution of African Americans to the growth of Alexandria.
Freedom House Museum / Northern Virginia Urban League (1315 Duke Street)
Once the headquarters of one of the largest slave-trading companies in the country, the building is now a museum with original artifacts and first-person accounts told through videos and exhibits of the thousands of people that passed through there.
Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial (1001 South Washington- at Church Street)
Between 1864 and 1869, this served as the burial place for about 1,800 African Americans who fled to Union-occupied Alexandria to escape from bondage.