African American Civil War Museum

Logan Circle, U Street & Columbia Heights

Set in an old schoolhouse behind the African American Civil War Memorial, the museum makes the point that for some, the Civil War was about secession versus union, but for others, it was a matter of breaking human bondage. The permanent exhibit uses photographs, videos and artifacts like slave shackles and a slave bill of sale to follow African American history from the Civil War through to the Civil Rights movement.

Knowledgeable staff answer any questions and offer impromptu tours. They can also help visitors search for ancestors in databases of black troops, regiments and battles (accessible via the museum's website).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Logan Circle, U Street & Columbia Heights attractions

1. African American Civil War Memorial

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Standing at the center of a granite plaza, this bronze memorial, Spirit of Freedom, depicting rifle-bearing troops is DC’s first major art piece by black…

2. Foundry Gallery

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3. Marvin Gaye Mural

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This brightly-colored mural by artist Aniekan Udofia depicts the soul singer – who was born and raised in DC and went to high school in Columbia Heights –…

4. Howard University

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Founded in 1867, Howard remains the nation’s most prestigious traditionally African American institute of higher education. Distinguished alumni include…

5. Howard University Founders' Library


The 1938 Founders’ Library is a handsome Georgian building with a gold spire and giant clock that serves as Howard University’s architectural centerpiece.

6. Silent George Mural


This mural of George Washington with a gag over his mouth symbolizes DC's lack of representation in Congress. It was painted by Aniekan Udofia in 2011.

7. Howard University Gallery of Art


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8. Scottish Rite Temple

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