From restaurants and retail to museums and murals, commemorate Black women who've made an impact on history, the nation and the District.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and Vice President Kamala Harris are among great company as fellow influential Black women in the nation's capital. And as locals know, DC is about more than politics. We’ve highlighted a variety of ways to support and experience the contributions of a wide range of inspirational Black women throughout the District at shops, restaurants, attractions and street murals.
Retail: A purchase with purpose
The Spice Suite
DC-native Angel Gregorio is anything but bland, and has channeled her many hats as an activist, home cook, educator, mother and fashionista into The Spice Suite, offering kitchen essentials and flavorful spice blends. The shop's new location is a part of Gregorio's larger vision as the new commercial block is home to Black and Forth, a community of five Black, female-owned small businesses that will also offer classes and pop-ups.
After seeing an opportunity to add more uniqueness and variety in fashion than she could find, Anika Hobbs launched boutique brand Nubian Hueman. Hobbs started her creative journey by crafting and selling 13 pairs of feather earrings and now has two stores featuring over 600 brands and an online platform with a global presence, featuring artists from 35 countries spanning six continents.
Kimberly Smith founded Eighth+Kin, a beauty and cosmetics company featuring products by women of color for women of color. Between her passion for travel and beauty, Smith noticed the lack of representation in society’s beauty standards. Eighth+Kin emphasizes 'Real Brown Girl Beauty' through curated products to empower women of color across nationalities.
Fresh Food Factory
Anacostia was considered a food desert when Amanda Stephenson moved to the area, and with inspiration from her father’s health transformation through diet and lifestyle changes, Stephenson opened a health food prep space and urban farm programming. Now, Stephenson’s Fresh Food Factory serves as a catalyst for food equity and economic development in Ward 8 of Washington, DC. The market offers affordable and healthy products as well as nutrition, culinary and food safety training.
Restaurants: Nourish yourself with these feel-good foods
Jerri Evans continued her mother Annette Turner’s legacy of Turning Natural, a health and juice bar. The mission goes beyond the nutrition at Turning Natural by providing healthy choices to underserved communities, enhancing the health movement with cool and affordable options and working from the core values of community and integrity.
Nina Gilchrist dreamt of opening a restaurant that offers healthy and sustainable options in the Northeast DC neighborhood she grew up in. Provost features American dishes with soul food roots, from mac 'n' cheese balls to Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta. Aside from the menu, Provost provides a comforting community that stems from family, hospitality and creativity.
The Sweet Lobby
Based in Barracks Row, the Sweet Lobby is owned by Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, a self-taught pastry chef who concocts internationally inspired sweet treats. Winnette won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars within months of opening the confectionary, turning her into a star and turning the store into a must-stop shop for those craving macarons, shortbread and éclairs that are to die for.
Here's The Scoop
Although a Maryland-native, Karin Sellers knows DC well as she went to school in the area, her siblings attended Howard and her family owned property across from the university – now home to Sellers' own small business, Here’s The Scoop. Aside from offering a variety of ice creams and desserts, the Georgia Avenue sweet shop serves as a community space for events and a source for the latest ‘scoop.’
Donna Faye's Bakery
Jamila Jenkins’ mother founded D’s Gourmet Butter Cookies to share their family’s famous butter cookies. Now, Donna Faye’s Bakery honors her legacy with those same butter cookies, along with pound cakes and granola, in assorted flavors. The Chicago-style treats can be ordered online for local delivery or pickup at pop-up locations, including the Flea at Eastern Market, which can be found on the website.
Cake-Wich Craft Bake Shop
From decant and extravagant cupcakes and cakes to custom cookies, Aleatra Dimitrijevski’s Cake-Wich Craft Bake Shop hits a sweet spot. The former local high school culinary arts teacher and Food Network competitor continues to give back to the community by hosting fundraisers for her Cupcake Dreams DC Scholarship and serving as a role model for success. Donations and orders can be made online.
Museums/Memorials: Walk among the greats
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Housed in an old masonic temple famed for its Renaissance Revival style, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the world’s only museum solely dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing and literary arts. Featured works include abstract pieces by Alma Thomas, sculptures exploring race and gender by Chakaia Booker and Sonya Clark, and paintings by Baltimore-based Amy Sherald, whose strong portrayals of African American women led to her painting the first individual portrait of Michelle Obama (purchased by the National Portrait Gallery). The National Museum of Women in the Arts is closed for renovations through the fall of 2023. However, you can still explore a wealth of virtual resources from the museum.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
Mary McLeod Bethune was a prominent civil rights activist and organizer who stood up against racial and gender discrimination. The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, situated near Logan Circle, is where the national political leader founded the National Council of Negro Women. Her home is now a National Historic Site where interpreters share stories of her life and legacy. Across town in Capitol Hill, you can also visit a statue dedicated in her honor.
Mary Church Terrell House
Mary Church Terrell was a teacher, principal, civil rights and women’s movement champion and began working with the women’s movement after moving to DC. After initially being shut out due to her race, Terrell went on to help form the National Association of Colored Women. She later became the president of NACW and continued to fight for the women’s movement and complete work with the NAACP. You can still see her house, a National Historic Landmark, in LeDroit Park.
Murals: Brighten your day with these larger-than-life ladies
Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African American sorority in the nation, was founded right here in DC at Howard University. “Sisterhood” honors the founders and members through photo-like paintings, and represents the sisterhood and community brought forth by the sisters of AKA.
Artists: Kate Deciccio & Rose Jaffe
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc - Xi Omega Chapter, 4411 14th Street, NW
'Nourishing and Flourishing with Delight'
The infectious smile of Maya Angelou shines brighter than the vibrant colors surrounding her on the wall of the Maya Angelou Charter School. The “Nourishing and Flourishing with Delight” work of art conveys Angelou’s empowering spirit through a geometric pattern that is broken up with symbols including a glowing halo and feeding bird, and is of course accompanied by Angelou’s own poetic words.
Artist: Eric Ricks
Maya Angelou Charter School, 5600 East Capitol Street NE
'The Hill We Climb'
Amanda Gorman inspired the masses when she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration. That special moment is now honored by a vivid depiction of Gorman, the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, in Dupont Circle.
Artist: Kaliq Crosby
1608 17th Street NW
‘Voices for Change – Representation, Progress & Hope’
Vice President Kamala Harris can always be found outside of the White House, painted alongside Martin Luther King Jr. The mural features the word “progress” in between the two leaders, whose legacies are celebrated and reflected in this bold and bright work of art.
Artist: Shawn Perkins
Intersection of 5th and K Streets Northwest