African American History

The highly anticipated Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on the National Mall in September 2016. Shortly thereafter, Mount Vernon’s groundbreaking exhibition, “Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon,” opened, focusing on the personal stories of Mount Vernon’s enslaved people with more than 350 artifacts, objects and historic records.

Nestled between these two sites on the Potomac River waterfront is historic Alexandria, 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 to Civil Rights. Alexandria’s Civil War history inspired the PBS national drama series, MERCY STREET, now in season 2. Alexandria’s Black History Museum Director Audrey Davis serves as an official consultant for MERCY STREET’s African-American storylines of contrabands and freedmen.

Today, visitors discover the stories of African-Americans who shaped Alexandria and America by exploring a historically rich collection of sites.

Key to the City Museum pass includes 12 historic sites plus a 40% discount at George Washington's Mount Vernon Start Exploring ›
Discover the Historic Figures Who Forged Freedom in… Get a glimpse into the varying statuses and struggles of the real African-Americans depicted in PBS' Mercy Street at Alexandria sites. Explore ›
6 Alexandria Sites that Complement National Museum of… Alexandria has been a city steeped in African American history since its founding in 1749. Discover ›
Driving Tour of African American Sites Here’s a 10-site abbreviated driving tour to get you started on your exploration of Alexandria’s wealth of African American historic sites. Explore ›
Lives Bound Together Visitors can get an inside look at how intertwined the lives of the Washingtons were with those of the enslaved. Explore 4,400 square feet of… Learn more ›
Inside Look Take an inside look into Alexandria's history with the director of the Black History Museum Learn More ›
Must See Sites Experience history come to life in a range of remarkable sites See More ›
Freedmen Cemetery Experience a new memorial park that commemorates free and escaped African-American men, women and children Learn More ›
Events Celebrate African American achievement all year long. Find Events ›
Top 4 Mercy Street-Inspired Experiences for African American… Find empowering stories of African Americans in our top 4 Mercy Street inspired experiences Learn more ›