[Washington, DC] The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture continues to be one of top visited sites in the District of Columbia. Some of you are charter members or other designations and received your recently published newsletter (Vol 4, Issue 1). For those of you who didn’t receive it we have made it available via .pdf format. The issue takes a look back from the historic opening until current.
[Washington, DC] The National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. As part of the festivities this past weekend they celebrated a special event for Charter Members. It was a great event that allowed visitors to explore the museum without the usual wall to wall throngs that have been attracted to one of the top venues on the National Mall.
Some of the exhibits
Some of the exhibits
Because it was a night event I left after several hours so I could explore other venues on the mall. The Washington Monument is directly across the street from the museum and it looked majestic.
Since Puerto Rico has been devastated by the recent Hurricane’s, I remembered one of the great visuals about the National World War II memorial is a large stone statue representing each state. Due to Donald Trump’s comments about Puerto Rico which I determined as pure ignorance, lack of sympathy and just plain stupid I was curious about the crowd which had gathered by the stone. It was refreshing to see so many out, simply reflecting and being in their quiet space while paying respect to the people of Puerto Rico.
From the World War II Memorial, I made the long trek south to the Lincoln Memorial. The lighting is amazing and the brilliance of the reflection pool gave a new meaning to our history as a country. As I made my way up the stairs towards where President Lincoln is sitting while overlooking the mall, I paused so I could stop by the plaque marking the spot where Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the iconic March on Washington speech.
From the Lincoln Memorial it was nearing 11:00pm, so I needed to hustle over to the MLK Memorial. I was told my staff at the NMAAHC that it was probably closed. Having been there numerous times, I doubted it was closed but you just never know if there had been any changes implemented by the National Park service. The site was open and just like the other sites I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who had milled inside the venue.
It was a very good trip and I am happy the NMAAHC had the charter event which allowed for another trek of exploration. Also, those who are familiar with the history of Washington, DC know the city is basically split into four quadrants; Northwest, Northeast, Southwest & Southeast. For this trek I decided to change it up a bit and selected a Marriott in the Dupont Circle or Northwest section. This would force me to venture out and reconnect with sites I had not visited in years. Among others, it was great to spend time in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
As with any trek, it’s great to experience the communities and culture through food, so listed are some of the food spots I connected with.
Washington DC is full of interesting sites and places to visit. On another note and to the chagrin of Donald Trump and his supporters who rode into the presidency with high ambitions and a full agenda of what they would accomplish on day one.
“He is a successful businessperson who brings the right skills to get things done. Plus, he is not a traditional politician and we need someone to disrupt the status-quo,” anonymous Trump supporter
Yet many, especially his most dedicated supporters would be shocked to wake up nearly ten months into his presidency and not be able to point to or claim one legislative accomplishment! The reason that is important or worthy of caring is due to the bombastic comments and arrogance made of what would happen if elected. Who can forget his throated comments of what would happen on Day One!. Have the people been duped? Has Donald Trump come to realize government is needed and that operations may appear similar to running a business but accountability is much different, especially of things you can get away with at privately closed organizations?
One thing you notice while traveling around the District are t-shirts endearing the terms of President Obama. No doubt, the District is known as a democratic town and one which has great affinity of Obama. Still, it’s an interesting parallel when you factor what has occurred since Donald Trump was sworn into office.
The famous mural donning the side wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl was updated approximately six months ago. Those familiar with the mural will remember Bill Cosby was featured and the update has removed his image. It was great to see Dick Gregory being honored.
Bub and Pop’s is a great restaurant in Dupont Circle. They have been featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Peet’s Coffee and Tea. A great place for coffee connoisseurs. Located on 15th and M it is a great place to chill-out and charge your devices as there are plenty of power outlets and free Wi-Fi is also available.
Uprising Muffin Company is located in the historic Shaw District. Very roomy but get there early as they only make enough muffins for the day and your selection could get sold out.
Sweet Home Cafe is a remarkable place and part of the NMAAHC. Even though it was late or around dinner time, and even though grits are a staple within our household, JB gave me a tip that this was the dish to experience. Outstanding.
Busboy’s & Poets is another great spot that is a must stop when travelling to the District. It’s in the U corridor but the restaurant/bookstore is fantastic and the history pays homage to Langston Hughes who was known as a busboy. The restaurant is part of the Langston lofts complex which features an apartment complex. One sad note is as much as I love this place, I was extremely disappointed in the service. I sat at the bar and couldn’t believe the lack of service, let alone being served their famous chili. Unfortunately when the waiter finally brought it out, it was cold!
The Diner located in the heart of the Adams Morgan community, it features basic comfort food.
Grille District is located at the Reagan airport inside terminal two. The pork belly tacos (3) are a must have.
Our eastcoast trek’s started over 10 years ago. The dates are always around August 28th and the focus was to pay homage and offer a tribute to Dr. King and all of the unsung heroes of the March on Washington (MOW). This year marked the 54th anniversary.
This year’s trek was shortened due to scheduling which meant we really had to hustle to accomplish all of the activities on our itinerary. Last year the inaugural opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture was moved to the last week of September. What started with just Judith and I quickly morphed to a group of twenty as friends came from all parts of the United States to witness the iconic opening. Also during that trek we organized a “Foodie Excursion” and it turned out to be a big hit. Because our group numbered six, we were able to once again add the excursion to our schedule. So, we started in Baltimore and finished in DC and were blessed to accomplish our plan in just three days.
The city of Baltimore and the District of Columbia (DC) have nearly the same population (approx 700,000-800,000). Like DC, Baltimore has lots of sites to see. So, our Foodie Excursion started there.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture is special. You will notice folk of ALL racial backgrounds flocking to the museum because while the site focuses on the history of African-Americans, it is also an important slice of American history. One other critical point to clarify as some criticize the museum for starting at the slavery period? It is understood even as slavery started there were few who were indeed defined as “free.” Again, African history is African history and starts there. While the museum does give a snapshot to bring you forward…….technically the African-American experience starts in 1607 and that is the focus of the interpretation.
When visiting the NMAAHC it is highly suggested you have a plan. The site is massive and impossible to capture everything in one setting. As experienced as I am with such sites, I have mapped out a 5 – 7 year plan.
This year our plan was pretty simple. The Sweet Home Café was not yet open so my plan was to attempt to get in. My second item was to get into the gift shop. My third item was to see the Emmett Till exhibit. Getting in or being able to access these areas may be simple, if not petty but once you try to gain access to the museum you will appreciate it can be wall to wall with folk, making it nearly impossible to see, let alone get in.
The Carter G. Woodson house is another special site. It is located in the historic Shaw District. You could spend a full day in the “Shaw” and not come close to experiencing the history. We were very lucky to be able to add this site to our schedule as it just recently opened.
The Carter G. Woodson park is operated by the City and down the street from Dr. Woodson’s home. Photo Fredyt123 (c)Metropolitan A.M.E. Church
The Sweet Home Cafe is an outstanding place to relax and grab a bite to eat. It is cafeteria style and the food is presented from regions of the African-American experience. In other words you will notice the fried chicken, then wonder if you have room for the Creole dishes, or the Low Country dishes, or the Bar-B-Que, on and on. As great as it is……in my opinion it is a bit pricey…..but worth it.
Ben’s Chili Bowl has earned its iconic position as a place you must visit. They are located in the iconic U District. Just recently they updated the mural which now features President and Mrs. Obama among other faces, and it is outstanding. Once you are inside there is a unique experience which awaits you. Another important fact about Ben’s is during the 1968 Riots they remained opened and to date the community has rewarded their commitment.
We do not have any pictures to share, however Union Market type venues are popping up all over urban areas. They are boutique in style and offer specialized food menus, all in a co-op type of environment.
Timothy Dean’s Burgers is location in the NoMA (North of Massachusetts Avenue) and it is a great venue to relax. Timothy Deans started during the Obama administration and the Obama burger continues to be the biggest seller.
Uprising is part of the great Shaw District. It is special to me because it is next door to the United Negro College Fund office. They do an excellent job in preparing a variety of muffins and the coffee is very good. They also feature great artwork, reflective of the area.
Oohh’s & Aahh’s is located in the historic U district. For soul food, it is the place to go. The servings are very large. Even though the place is small, expect a line but it moves……so patience will be needed but it is well worth the wait.
It’s been three years since the National museum of African-American History and Culture opened. The response has been overwhelming and even when tickets are made available to the public; generally three months in advance (i.e., tickets for November were made available the first Wednesday of August), they were snapped up in less than 5 minutes!!!
We were lucky to experience the opening in person and it was a weekend which we will always cherish.
If you have a genuine desire to visit the museum we have a few tickets available based on the following understanding:
The tickets are free and are legitimate. There is no charge whatsoever. We are Charter Members and the tickets are from us receiving them from the NMAAHC website and several guests in our group have scheduling conflicts.
Should you receive any tickets from us, you agree NOT TO SALE the tickets.
Do not request the tickets unless you are absolutely sure you are prepared to go.
If for whatever reason you cannot attend, you simply will not pass them on to another person. You must notify us immediately.
Other restrictions may apply so if in doubt please contact us.
The following dates are available (subject to change without notice):
Saturday, April 4, 2020 – 6 tickets are available for 3:00pm entry
If interested please contact us at email@example.com