The historic Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C., has a lot of stories to tell. Within this predominantly Black community lying east of the Anacostia River, there are foundational stories of how the region was originally inhabited and named by the Nacotchtank natives who once nurtured their families from the life-sustaining waters of the nearby river. There are fascinating 19th-century anecdotes about the area’s most famous citizen, Frederick Douglass, the acclaimed “Sage of Anacostia.” There are compelling 20th-century accounts of area families serving the war effort at nearby military and manufacturing sites, of subsequent white flight, racial violence and civil rights, of hardworking African-Americans making ends meet. And there are tragic tales of how, by the turn of the 21st century, the name “Anacostia” had merged with its infamous yet distorted reputation for drugs and violence to symbolize that dangerous place “cross the river” you dare not go.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).