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U Street: Shaped by History, Musical Legends, and Relative Newcomers

In-Person Program

Evening Tour

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CSB08
Tour meets by the African American Civil
War Memorial (Spirit of Freedom) at the
eastern entrance of U Street Metro at
U St and Vermont Ave, Washington, DC
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U Street, NW

The U Street N.W. neighborhood has long been a vibrant corridor for the rich social, civic, and cultural life of Washington's African American community. Join local guide Lynn O’Connell on a walking tour that focuses on the history of the U Street neighborhood.

The tour begins at the African American Civil War Memorial, which honors the more than 200,000 African American soldiers and sailors who served during the Civil War, and continues to a number of the sites for which U Street was dubbed the Black Broadway—clubs and performance venues like the legendary Howard Theatre and the Lincoln Theatre, which drew audiences to hear headliners such as Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and D.C.-born Duke Ellington.

Along the way, learn about the riots that started on April 4, 1968, following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Traverse the area known as Little Ethiopia, named for the large Ethiopian population (including many restaurant entrepreneurs) who settled here in the 1990s. Discover one-of-a-kind murals throughout the area, featuring such history makers as Ellington and go-go legend Chuck Brown.

Know Before You Go

  • Tour participants meet by the African American Civil War Memorial (Spirit of Freedom) at the eastern entrance of the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro station at U Street and Vermont Avenue, at 6 p.m.
  • The tour involves just over a mile of walking and is 2 hours in length.

Additional Date Options for this Tour

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Monday, July 10, 2023.
  • Smithsonian is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are strongly recommended to be worn on buses at all times and may also be required at various indoor sites.
  • For additional tour information: