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51 Steps To Freedom®

Tracing America's Struggle For Freedom & Equality

CONNECTING US ALL

51 Steps To Freedom Trail® — Unites DC from Anacostia to Georgetown — combining history, art, and culture to connect prominent Civil Rights sites from The African American Heritage Trail (and other historical, religious and cultural places) to inspire, educate, and tell the story of  America’s  journey for freedom, equality, and representation. 

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 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 "protest tourism"
     

  • Offers a new, exciting, interactive way to experience DC's 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 city visitors 
     

  • Garners local and national media attention 
     

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

  • Drives foot traffic and revenue to less traveled neighborhoods in the city — from Anacostia to Georgetown
     

  • 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

1

Georgetown

 

Georgetown was 50% Black in the 1770s to the 1960s. 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 is the oldest Black church in DC, its historic cemetery and birthplaces of famous Black people.

Sites Include: 

  • Alfred Pope, Hannah Cole Home

  • Emma Brown Home

  • First Baptist Church

  • Herring Hill

  • Holy Rood Cemetery 

  • Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Female Union Band Cemetery & Mt. Zion Heritage Center

  • John Fleet Home

  • Rose Park, The Peters sisters, Margaret & Roumania

  • Patrick Francis Healy Hall, Georgetown University

  • Yarrow Mamout Residence 

2

Foggy Bottom/Dupont Circle West

 

Original tobacco slave quarters were located here starting in the 1770s when British tall ships moved enslaved Africans and tobacco from this area from Africa and to England. From 1840 - 1970, this area was majority Black and is vernacularly known as DC’s Black Aristocracy community.

Sites Include: 

  • The Dr. Dorothy I. Height Bench

  • The Ulysses S. Grant School

  • The Nelson Mandela Garden

  • Lisner Auditorium & Ingrid Bergmann Call Box

  • The Toni Morrison Bench

  • St. Mary's Episcopal Church

  • The Leonard Grimes Underground Railroad Site

  • The Alexander Pushkin Statue

  • The Stevens School

  • Drs. Charles Drew & Rayford Logan Homes

  • Duke Ellington Birth-site, Mural Alley,  & Bo Diddley's Home & Recording Studio

  • Metropolitan AME Church

  • O Museum in The Mansion

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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

  • The Josephine Butler Center at Malcolm X & Meridian Hill

  • Charles and Lewis Douglass Homes

  • The Langston Hughes Home

  • General Benjamin O. Davis Home

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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 Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. The rest is history. 

1d2bd612062b15971064a81f9000f2976d341db7

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. 

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

  • Paul Lawrence and Alice Dunbar 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

  • 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. 

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’s Home Grown Black Business Corridor:

    • We Act Radio

    • Check-it Enterprises & Go-Go Cultural Center

    • Anacostia Busboys & Poets, The Marion Barry Room

    • Anacostia Playhouse

  • Barry Farm/ Hillsdale (Freedmen's Village) & The Goodman League

  • Churches

    • Campbell AME​

    • Macedonia Baptist

    • St. Teresa Avila Catholic Church

  • Schools​

    • The Hillsdale School​

    • The Birney School

  • Residences​

    • The John Moss House​

    • The Solomon Brown House

    • Mayor Marion Barry Home 

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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

 

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

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

  • DAR Hall/Marion Anderson

  • 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

    • The White House & Lafayette Park

    • The Decatur House Slave Quarters

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

~ Frederick Douglass

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.

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

  • 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.