NMAAHC Newsletter released

[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.

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NMAAHC Special Event and Foodie Excursion

[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



In light of Colin Kaepernik’s protest and subsequent support from the NFL, all those who disagree with how and why protest occur is to visit this iconic statue representing Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman.
Guest were treated to Champagne/Wine and gourmet cupcakes
Jesse Owens
Jackie Robinson
circular featuring Barry Bonds
Eddie Robinson

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.


view from my room

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.

Other Sites

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.

Foodie Excursion

Skewers by Chef Morimoto

For ramen lovers, this is a great dish. Very tasty.


Bub and Pop’s is a great restaurant in Dupont Circle.  They have been featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Sliced brisket with fried egg. Order of home fries.

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.

Peet’s traditional latte

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.

full of great blueberries
blueberry muffin and basic cup of coffee (very good)

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.

Shrimp and Grits representing the South Carolina tradition of using gulf shrimp and milled grits.

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a “must stop” when going to DC.

The Ali’s
The famous Ben’s Chili Bowl combo. Half smoke, Fries & Lemonade

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.

Chicken Biscuit Breakfast

Grille District is located at the Reagan airport inside terminal two.  The pork belly tacos (3) are a must have.

Eastcoast Trek 2017, NMAAHC & Foodie Excursion


The NMAAHC is placed in a coveted spot on the national mall. Immediately behind it is the Washington Monument. The White House is approximately 3 blocks to the north. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

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.

The importance of this photo is iconic as the strategy of placing the memorial was so that Dr. King is facing the Jefferson Memorial (to the right) and the Washington Monument (on the left). The pose of Dr. King was in his office and a picture of Ghandi was above his head. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

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.

Lisa Brooks (New Jersey) and Norma Pezzotti (New Jersey via DR)
Maryum Robinson (Los Angeles)
Fredy (Los Angeles), Justine Love (District of Columbia), Renie Hale (Laurel, Maryland via NOLA)


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.


National Museum of African-American History & Culture

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. 

(for more NMAAHC pictures please visit our other blog)


The next three pictures are from Jet Magazine which was the first publication to alert the public. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

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 Oprah Winfrey theater. Site for many lectures and events.

Other Special Sites

Carter G. Woodson House

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 iconic Carter G. Woodson home. It just opened to the public. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

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

Phyllis Wheatly YMCA

Frederick Douglass Home

Foodie Excursion


Jimmie’s Famous Seafood

Due to its location to the water Baltimore is known for its crab.  Jimmie’s famous seafood does an excellent job while showcasing many crab dishes.

Crab cakes. Photo Fredyt123 (c)
Renie feasting on Crab sliders. Photo Fredyt123 (c)
Mrs. Minadakis, the grand dame of Jimmie’s took time to pose as she is preparing some of her famous stuffed tomatoes
Jimmie’s famous Crab Club sandwich. Photos Fredyt123 (c)

Ethel’s Creole Café

Ethel’s is located in the Mount Washington area, which is north of Baltimore.  It is a rare find offering an incredible Creole menu.

The Chef takes time to pose with Fred

NMAAHC Sweet Home Café

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

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.


Union Market

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 Burgers

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.


TD’s famous Bar-b-que Brisket sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries. TD’s smoker is an iconic machine. Photos Fredyt123 (c)


Uprising Muffins

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

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.

NMAAHC – The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture

Currently we have extra tickets for 2020

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:

  1.  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.
  2.   Should you receive any tickets from us, you agree NOT TO SALE the tickets.
  3.   Do not request the tickets unless you are absolutely sure you are prepared to go.
  4.   If for whatever reason you cannot attend, you simply will not pass them on to another      person.  You must notify us immediately.
  5.   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 fred.thomas3@fredyt123.com