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New digital trail highlights D.C.’s African-American civil rights history

The project has 100 sites, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Library and Barry Farm

A modern library building on a city corner. The building is black and has large, occluded windows.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (2010)
Getty Images

Thanks in part to a congressionally sanctioned grant program administered by the National Park Service, the District now has an online heritage trail consisting of 100 sites around the city that have played a significant part in the history of African-American civil rights. Those sites, ranging from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and black historian Carter G. Woodson’s home to Howard University and the Wilson Building, are situated across D.C.

“Throughout history, Washington, DC has served as the backdrop for many historic events in the fight for equal rights,” the D.C. Office of Planning (OP) points out in a release. “This trail preserves and highlights the sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the African American experience.” OP received grant funding for the project in 2017, and its Historic Preservation Office led the work. Other sites featured include the Barry Farm public housing site (which is now being redeveloped) and the intersection of 14th and U streets NW.

The federal grant program was authorized by Congress in 2016. Since then, it has funded more than $32 million in surveys, education, oral histories, and planning, according to OP.