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51 Steps To Freedom™

Tracing America's Struggle For Freedom & Equality

CONNECTING US ALL

51 Steps To Freedom is the 1st trail of it’s kind uniting DC — from Anacostia to Georgetown — and back again. It combines history, storytelling, digital and traditional art, music — and cutting edge technology — to inspire, educate, and tell the stories of the hidden figures and places in DC that continue to shape America’s journey for freedom and equality.

Take this trail to unravel the mystery of why DC is the hub of African American history and culture and will redefine America as a beacon of freedom, justice, equality and democracy.

WHY WE NEED THIS

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"Our young people need
to know their history"

                         ~ Mayor Muriel Bowser

As Our Nation’s Capital, DC has always been the place for people to come together and exercise our first amendment rights in peaceful and meaningful ways. From the Women’s Suffrage Procession on March 3, 1913 to the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963 to The Million Man March October 16, 1995 — to today — our city's streets have paved the way for change, understanding, and healing.  

 

Now more than ever our country and our city needs to be reunited as one.  This unique trail — with stories from all 8 wards — will provide an immersive experience for our citizens and visitors to gain a better understanding of our history and each other. 

  • Drives much needed revenue to the city

  • Supports our hard hit hospitality and tourism sectors and capitalizes on the current trend toward authentic local outdoor experiences
     

  • Offers a new, exciting, interactive way to experience DC’s rich and little known history and culture outside the confines of a traditional museum  
     

  • Capitalizes on the social movement for equality bringing visitors back to our Nation's Capital
     

  • Galvanizes DC's reputation as the epicenter of change for The Nation

 

 

  • Ties our rich history and culture together in a meaningful way for DC students, residents and visitors 
     

  • Garners local and national media attention 
     

  • Recognition of DC's roots will boost morale & pride among its citizens
     

  • Gets people off the mall — drives foot traffic &
    revenue to less traveled neighborhoods in the city

     

  • Economic empowerment for local artists to have their voices heard in a unique impactful way 

National Impact & Local Benefits 

"I believe there is only one race — the human race." ~ Mrs. Rosa Parks

OUR MISSION

We honor our past.
We aim to transform our future by promoting, educating, and inspiring understanding. 

We believe in equality and freedom for all.

OUR VISION

We share stories of the people and events that shape our Nation’s struggle for equality. 
Appreciating the full spectrum of American history provides the path for tomorrow.

OUR GOAL

We see a world where history and storytelling come together to
inspire unity, build national pride, and embrace diversity.  

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Then

On August 28, 1963, about a quarter-million people participated in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom gathering near the Lincoln Memorial.

 

Photo Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

Now

On August 28, 2020, thousands participated in the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. to support the Black Lives Matter movement

 

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Black Lives Matter Plaza has become a beacon of hope.

It is critical to build on that momentum with this new public trail.

EVERY STEP TELLS A STORY®

WHY NOW

1

2

3

Striver's Section/Dupont Circle East

 

The Striver's Section was historically an enclave of upper-middle-class African Americans, often community leaders, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Striver's Section takes its name from a turn-of-the-20th-century writer who described the district as "the Striver's section, a community of Negro aristocracy." 

Sites Include: 

  • The Charles Hamilton Houston Home 

  • Delta Sigma Theta & Kappa Alpha Psi Headquarters

  • Mary Church Terrell Home

  • Charles and Lewis Douglass Homes

  • The Langston Hughes Home

  • General Benjamin O. Davis Home

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Did You Know?

There were slave quarters on the grounds of The White House and The Decatur House.

5

U St. Corridor, Shaw & LaDroit Park

Known as "The Black Mecca", these contiguous communities are known as one of America’s most historic Black locations, This area boasts more historic churches, homes, venues, events, and personalities per capita than any Black community in the Nation. 

Sites Include: 

  • Georgia Douglas Johnson Home

  • Dr. Alain Locke Home, Duke Ellington Home

  • Jean Toomer Home

  • Franklin Reeves Center, Club Bali, Dr. MLK’s Poor Peoples Campaign Office

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl, Jelly Roll Morton, The Jungle Inn

  • Lincoln Theater, The Colonnade

  • New Negro Alliances Sanitary Grocery Store Protest Site

  • Lee’s Florist, Bohemian Caverns

  • Industrial Bank of Washington

  • The African American Civil War Museum, The Grimke School

  • The Addison Scurlock Studio

  • The Howard Theatre, Florida Avenue Baptist Church

  • Congressman Oscar DePriest Home

  • Dr. Anna Julia Cooper Home

  • Mayor Walter Washington Home, Jesse Jackson, Sr. Home

  • Dr. Carter G. Woodson Home, Shiloh Baptist Church

  • The A. Philip Randolph Home

  • DC historic murals walk

  • True Reformer Hall/Washington Conservatory of Music/Harriet Gibbs Marshall/Mary Burrill 

  • Howard University

Did You Know?

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Pearl Bailey was brought up in D.C. and got her start on U Street, often called Washington's "Black Broadway". She returned to DC in her late 60's to study theology at Georgetown University earning her BA in 1985. Grammy  and Tony award Winner Pearl Bailey Bailey was appointed as a special ambassador to the United Nations by President Ford  in 1975. In 1988 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

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Did You Know?

Bo Diddley — The legendary singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock and roll had a recording studio in Dupont Circle. He discovered Marvin Gaye (a DC resident) and introduced him to Barry Gordy. The rest is history. 

4

Anacostia

Before the Civil War this area was named  "Uniontown" to promote unity between the North and South. Frederick Douglass made his home here and in 1868 the largest Black Freedmen’s Village in America was founded at Barry Farm.

Sites Include: 

  • The Frederick Douglass Home on Cedar Hill

  • The Big Chair

  • Anacostia Busboys & Poets, The Marion Barry Room

  • Barry Farm & The Goodman League

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Did You Know?

Frederick Douglass and Mrs. Rosa Parks' funerals were held 90 years apart at the Metropolitan AME Church off of Dupont Circle.

6

Downtown & The Mall

 

The center of our Nation's Capital, The Mall is "America's Front Yard". It is home to some of our Nation's most iconic sites representing significant Black history and cultural events, monuments and people that helped define who America is today.

Sites Include: 

  • The 1848 Slave Escape on The Pearl

  • The National Era Newspaper, Beecher’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852

  • The 1835 Snow Riot

  • The Decatur House Slave Quarters

  • DAR Hall/Marion Anderson

  • The Metropolitan AME Church

  • Charles Sumner School

  • The Ford’s Theater

  • The Willard Hotel

  • The National Museum of African American History & Culture

  • The Lincoln Memorial

  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

  • Black Lives Matter Plaza

Spanning over eight miles, this one-of-a-kind loop through the city will explore DC’s extraordinary Black history, culture, and struggle for freedom and equality for ALL. 

51 Steps To Freedom™ is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burial grounds, slave quarters, parks, homes, gardens, and 51 historic stops (steps) that tell the story of America's quest for justice and democracy.

1

Georgetown

 

Georgetown was 50% Black in the 1770s to the 1960s (today it is 6%). Georgetown was also a major slave and tobacco trading port. Much of DC’s early great Black leadership came out of Georgetown where the church and education were early components of free persons of color in DC. Here you'll find the oldest Black church in DC, its historic cemetery and many hidden gems and stories not covered in traditional school books.

Steps Include: 

  1. Emma V. Brown Home

  2. Alfred Pope, Hannah Cole Pope Home

  3. Holy Rood Cemetery 

  4. Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Female Union Band Society Cemetery & Mt. Zion Heritage Center, Jerusalem Baptist ChurchFirst Baptist Church, Herring Hill

  5. John H. Fleet Home

  6. Yarrow Mamout Residence 

  7. Patrick Francis Healy Hall, Georgetown University

  8. Rose Park, The Peters sisters, Margaret & Roumania

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Did You Know?

Howard University was founded by Union General Oliver Otis Howard — he was White. Father Patrick Healey, who was born into slavery, is considered the Co-Founder of modern day Georgetown University.  He was  also the first Black Jesuit priest in the US.

General Oliver Otis Howard 

Reverend Patrick Francis Healy

3

Striver's Section/Dupont Circle East

 

The Striver's Section was historically an enclave of upper-middle-class African Americans, often community leaders, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Striver's Section takes its name from a turn-of-the-20th-century writer who described the district as "the Striver's section, a community of Black aristocracy" focused on striving for freedom and equality.  

Steps Include: 

17. The Charles Hamilton Houston Home
       & The Langston Hughes Hom

18. Delta Sigma Theta & Kappa Alpha Psi DC
      Headquarters, and Zeta Phi Beta DC headquarters

19. Mary Church Terrell Home

20. The Josephine Butler Center at Malcolm X Park 

21. Charles and Lewis Douglass Homes

22. General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. and Sr. Homes

23. St. Augustine Catholic Church

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Did You Know?

There were slave quarters on the grounds of The White House and The Decatur House.

5

U St. Corridor, Shaw & LeDroit Park

Known as "The Black Mecca", these contiguous communities are known as one of America’s most historic Black locations. This area boasts more historic churches, homes, venues, events, and personalities per capita than any Black community in the Nation. 

Steps Include: 

  29. Georgia Douglas Johnson Home

  30. Dr. Alain Locke Home

  31. Jean Toomer Home

  32. Franklin Reeves Center, Club Bali, Dr. MLK’s Poor
         Peoples Campaign Office

  33. Ben’s Chili Bowl, Jelly Roll Morton, The Jungle
          Inn, 
Lincoln Theater, The Colonnade

  34. New Negro Alliances Sanitary Grocery Store
         Protest Site
Lee’s Florist, Bohemian
         Caverns
Industrial Bank of Washington, DC historic
          murals walk

  35. The African American Civil War Museum, The
         Grimke School

  36. The Addison Scurlock Studio

  37. The Howard Theatre & Chuck Brown Way

  38. Congressman Oscar DePriest HomePaul
         Lawrence and Alice Dunbar Home & 
Howard
         University

  39. Dr. Anna Julia Cooper HomeMayor Walter
         Washington Home, Jesse Jackson, Sr. Home

  40. Dr. Carter G. Woodson Home, Woodson
         Monument & Park & Shiloh Baptist Church

  41. The A. Philip Randolph Home

  42. Blanche Kelso Bruce & Josephine Bruce Home 

Did You Know?

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Pearl Bailey was brought up in D.C. and got her start on U Street. She coined the phrase  "America's Black Broadway" for the area. She returned to DC in her late 60's to study theology at Georgetown University earning her BA in 1985. Grammy and Tony award winner Pearl Bailey was appointed as a special ambassador to the United Nations by President Ford  in 1975. In 1988 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan. 

"Without a struggle,
there can be no progress." 

~ Frederick Douglass

2

Foggy Bottom/Dupont Circle West

 

Original tobacco slave quarters were located here starting in the 1770s when the British tall ships moved slave and tobacco from Africa and England to America. From 1840 - 1970, this area was majority Black (today Foggy Bottom is 9.6% and Dupont Circle is 6%). The community boasts of the homes of Dr. Charles Drew, Duke Ellington, Dr. Rayford Logan, Mrs. Rosa Parks' home-away-from-home as well as an underground railroad site and more.

Steps Include:

9.  O Museum in The Mansion

10. The Stevens School

11. Lisner Auditorium, Ingrid Bergman Call Box & The      
      Toni Morrison Bench, The Nelson Ma
ndela Garden

12. The Dr. Dorothy I. Height Bench

13. St. Mary's Episcopal Church

14. The Leonard Grimes Underground Railroad
      Site & 
The Alexander Pushkin Statue

15. Dr. Charles Drew & Dr. Rayford Logan Homes

16. Duke Ellington Birth-site and Mural, Bo Diddley's
      Home & Recording Studio

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Did You Know?

Bo Diddley — The legendary singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock and roll lived in Foggy Bottom and had a recording studio On Rhode Island Avenue, N.E. from 1956-1966.  He discovered Marvin Gaye (a DC resident) and introduced him to Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. The rest is history.

4

Anacostia

In the 1850s, America was heading toward a deadly confrontation between free and slave states. To promote unity between the North and the South, this area in Southeast DC was initially named Uniontown.  It was a White suburban community at the time.  After the "Uncivil War", new towns called Uniontown started cropping up all over, creating confusion for services like mail delivery. To ease the confusion, Congress enacted legislation to change the name to Anacostia on April 22, 1886, making Anacostia the only community whose name was affixed by Congress.  The name Anacostia was derived from a Native American word meaning “village trading center.”  

Steps Include: 

  24. The Frederick Douglass Home on Cedar Hill

  25.  Anacostia’s Home Grown Black Business Corridor

  26.  United States Colored Cemetery & St. Elizabeths Hospital

  27. The John Moss House​The Solomon Brown
         House,
 
Mayor Marion Barry Home 

  28. Barry Farm/ Hillsdale (Freedmen's Village) & The 
          Goodman League, The
Hillsdale School​, Macedonia 
          Baptist
Campbell AME​

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Did You Know?

Frederick Douglass and Mrs. Rosa Parks' funerals were held 90 years apart at the Metropolitan AME Church off of Dupont Circle.

6

Downtown & The National Mall

 

This is center of our Nation's Capital and is "America's Front Yard." It is home to some of our Nation's most iconic sites.  But many of the stories on the National Mall and downtown are not taught in our history books because they highlight the horror of what happens when economics and personal beliefs allow for the oppression of one group over another. 

 

In American history, each major episode against oppression is a step toward freedom. This section of the city is a paradox — full of contradictory words and actions. It is where our federal government made the rules — and at the same time owned those they were ruling.  

 

ALL groups who fought and won their freedom have some connection with this part of DC — Blacks, women, Native Americans, Muslims, Asians, hispanics, LGBTQA+, and those with disabilities —  it is here that they coalesce to have their voices heard and enact change.  It is where we help define who America is going to become. What history and this part of DC teaches us is that by speaking up —  we CAN make a difference.


“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”              — Jimi Hendrix

Steps Include: 

  43. The 1848 Slave Escape on The Pearl, The National
          Era Newspaper, Beecher’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The 1835
          Snow Riot, 
7th Street and The Red Summer of 1919​

  44. DC's Slave Market and Slave Pens, Central Market at The
         National Archives, The National Council of Negro Women,

  45. DAR Hall/Marion Anderson

  46. Charles Sumner School

  47. The Ford’s Theater

  48. The Willard Hotel, & The John A. Wilson Bldg. and Mayor
         Marion Barry

  49. The Lincoln Memorial  & The Martin Luther King,
          Jr. Memorial, 
The National Museum of African
          American History & Culture

  50. Metropolitan AME Church

  51.   Black Lives Matter Plaza, The White House, St. Johns
          Church, 
The Decatu
House Slave
         
 Quarters, Lafayette Square

NOTE: Bold text denotes African American Heritage Trail Site

PROOF OF CONCEPT

The Boston Model (started in 1951)

The Boston Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations showcasing Boston’s pivotal role in the birth of America’s independence. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Each neighborhood has a different red line marking the trail to highlight the personality of each neighborhood: 

The Boston Freedom Trail has become a world-renowned, signature tourist experience attracting over

four million people annually to visit Boston’s precious 17th-, 18th- , and 19th-century sites.

Drives Tourism

  • Routinely listed as “Top Ten Things To Do In Boston”.

  • 22 million people visit Boston each year, more than four million people take “the walk” each year

  • Red line through the city markets the tour & generates interest

 

Drives Revenue

  • Generates over $1 billion in annual spending 

  • Creates jobs in hospitality, tourism, and education fields

 

GETTING IT DONE

Phase 1  |  FUNDED

  • Develop messaging

  • Create the trail, stories, and scripts 

  • Map illustration

  • Level 1 interactive map

  • Community engagement

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  • Mobile App Downloads

  • In-App Geo Location Ads​

  • Audio Tour Downloads

  • Website Ads

  • Licensing

  • Freedom Trail On-Line Store

  • Book 

  • Corporate Sponsorships

  • Virtual &  Distant Learning Programs

  • Donations

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Digital Passports & Audio Tour

Will be available for a fee to generate revenue

Phase 2  |  $4.2 Million (estimate)

  • Develop mobile app

  • Create augmented reality & music integration

  • Develop & produce audio tour

  • Level 2 interactive map

  • Develop public facing website

  • License digital assets

  • Digital art program

  • Art installations

Phase 3  |  $3.1 Million (estimate)

  • Create & Launch Local & National Marketing Campaigns

  • Level 3 interactive map

  • "Yellow Brick Road" Paint or Bricks

Phase 4  |  TBD

  • Virtual & Distant Learning Programs

  • Educational In-School Programs

Sustainability Revenue Streams

© 2021 - 2022  PIR Marketing.  All rights reserved. 51 Steps To Freedom™ concept, design, layout, route, stories, etc. belong exclusively to 51 Steps To Freedom™ and O Museum in The Mansion. No part of this trail or website, may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of O Museum in The Mansion.