African American History

Nestled between the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., and George Washington’s Mount Vernon with its groundbreaking exhibition, “Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon,” Alexandria is the perfect place to stay to explore the region’s rich African American history. Plus, Alexandria itself is a city steeped in African American history since its founding in 1749. To walk through the streets of Alexandria is to walk through America’s timeline of African American history from colonial times to the Civil War and from Civil Rights to today.

Visitors can experience the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture and visit Mount Vernon to learn of the personal stories of Mount Vernon’s enslaved people and view more than 350 artifacts, objects and historic records, then return to Alexandria to discover the stories of African Americans who shaped Alexandria and America by exploring a historically rich collection of sites.

City Purchases Freedom House Freedom House Museum is housed in the former headquarters of the largest domestic slave trading company in the country. Learn More ›
Take a Driving Tour Discover Alexandria’s wealth of African American historic sites by taking this 10-site abbreviated driving tour. Start Exploring ›
Join a Guided Cultural Heritage Tour Explore Alexandria’s extensive African American history through curated heritage tours presented by Manumission Tour Company. Learn More ›
Explore Mount Vernon’s Lives Bound Together Exhibit Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon to learn how closely intertwined the lives of the Washingtons were with those of the enslaved. Learn More ›
Explore Public Art on the Waterfront On display late March to November 2020, Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies by Olalekan Jeyifous frames Alexandria’s African American history. Learn More ›
See Alexandria’s Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Visit this memorial to learn about the 1,800 African Americans who fled to Union-occupied Alexandria to escape bondage and were buried here. Learn More ›
Discover Must-See Historic Sites Alexandria has been a city steeped in African American history since its founding in 1749. Learn More ›
Unlock Alexandria’s History Take advantage of Alexandria’s Key to the City attractions pass, which provides access to 9 historic sites in Alexandria plus other discounts. Start Exploring ›
Attend Special Events From author talks to film screenings, celebrate African American achievement all year long. Find Events ›

  Historic Sites & Attractions