City Cast

Get To Know D.C.’s Black Landmarks

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on February 1   |   Updated on June 19
The DC Civil Rights Tour map. (dccivilrightstour/Instagram)

The DC Civil Rights Tour map. (dccivilrightstour/Instagram)

Black History Month has a special significance in a place like D.C. where there is SO much history. But it can be easy to miss.

High school students (and sisters) Lily and Eliza Dorton founded the DC Civil Rights Tour app to educate users on local Black history and landmarks.

The app has an interactive map with 17 different landmarks. Users can explore the visual and audio elements to learn about each spot and the people behind it. Here are a few places that are included:

Frederick Douglass’s home at Cedar Hill (bdinphoenix/Flickr)

Frederick Douglass’s home at Cedar Hill (bdinphoenix/Flickr)

🏢 The True Reformer Building: This U Street building was home to the Grand Fountain of the United Order of True Reformers, a Black fraternal organization that eventually became the largest Black-run business in the U.S. between 1881 and 1910. It was the first building in the country to be designed, financed, built, and owned by African Americans.

🎨 Alma Thomas Residence:
Artist Alma Thomas moved from Georgia to D.C. when she was 16 and lived in a row house in Logan Circle. She became an internationally-renowned artist and her work is now featured in the MET, the Whitney, and the National Museum of American Art.

📚 Cedar Hill:
Frederick Douglass lived in Anacostia for the last 20 years of his life. The orator, author, and famed abolitionist was born into slavery but escaped and made his way to D.C. in 1878, where he continued his work writing and speaking as a lobbyist for civil rights.

“We're hoping to expand our app further by going into locations in Alexandria, in Maryland, in other places in Virginia, and more places in Washington,” said Lily Dorton.

Download the app
and learn more about how it was made.

Hey DC

Want to know what's happening in D.C.? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey DC. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Neighborhood Guides

See All

The latest in DC