Located in the historic Parker-Gray neighborhood, at 902 Wythe St., the Alexandria Black Museum documents the contribution of African Americans to Alexandria’s history and culture from 1749 to the present.
Alexandria Black History Museum was originally constructed in 1940 as the Robinson Library, following a sit-in in 1939 at the segregated Alexandria Library. The sit-in was staged by five young African-American men who were then arrested for Civil Disobedience. This action, however, caused the City to respond to the demands of the African American citizen for more access to educational opportunities.
The museum is only a short walk from the Old Town Commons and for only a suggested donation of $3 you will get to see exhibits, lecturers, and special events that focus on issues of African American history and culture. The exhibitions begin with origins in Africa before delving into slavery in the colonies and Alexandria. They then showcase blacks and Alexandria in the larger context of the Civil War, where the city saw an influx of refugees to Union held Virginia. Then, the museum finishes up with segregation specifically in Alexandria and recent archeological work on Freedman’s Cemetery as a result of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. There are also some interesting exhibits of handmade dollhouses called “Our Alexandria” that reflect periods pieces in exquisite detail but chronicle Alexandria’s African American growth in business, services, and education.
Alexandria Black History Museum is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. There’s also a gift store in the museum where you can get some books for further reading and some postcards.