Over a year ago, I went to Washington DC with other students from UMass Dartmouth. We boarded a shuttle bus and drove down to see the African American Culture and History museum, Howard University, the Frederick Douglass house, and have dinner at Bus Boys and Poets.
It was an incredible experience being surrounded by history, art, and culture. Ever since then, I've had a craving to return to DC and explore other aspects of the country's capitol.
***As a preface, I wanted to note that I've decided not to go heavy on the photos for this blog post. I photographed a lot at the Holocaust Memorial Museum but decided to include minimal photos. I believe that it's best to experience what I had experienced in DC for yourself, first-hand.
The Most Important Meal of the Day!
Before I left my Baltimore Airbnb, I decided to do a quick Yelp search of breakfast places in the area. One in particular caught my eye. "Lost in the 50's diner". Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the style of the 50's (the clothes, the furniture, the music, the cars!) so I had to have breakfast before I explored DC for the day.
The diner was absolutely precious. It seemed like it was locked in time. Everything from the decor, to the furniture, even the prices were seemingly from the 50's. I started my day with chocolate milk, grits, toast, and a poached egg. I was full and energized for less than $10 and I was ready to explore DC!
After parking my car for the day, I decided to hit the gift shop first. Every state I explore, I pick up a pin or button for my collection. The last time I was in DC, President Obama was still in office.
So...I was a little surprised to see the gift shop looking like...well...this.
I really don't know what else to say besides I can't believe this is real life...still. I don't like to get political but...geez.
Engulfed in History
The first time I've truly traveled alone was during this road trip. I had never been to a museum alone or really spent significant time in my own company.
Walking around DC, reading and observing monuments, taking my time and allowing new knowledge to find me was such a beautiful and powerful experience. I spent hours walking around DC, reading and taking in whatever I could.
I thought about the history and the footsteps that were here before me. The fights for equality. The battles for the US. The elections, the movements, the justices and injustices.
I thought about the people who died for this country. The people who died for women's rights and for African American rights. I thought about all the wrongs in today's country and thought about how I could participate in helping to create a better tomorrow.
I want to help participate in a better tomorrow.
Little (Monumental) Moments
Although it was a cloudy day exploring DC, it was beautiful. Those who were also out seemed so thrilled to be in the capitol. It was beautiful to see people of all ages and backgrounds being captivated by the history and culture among us.
History and politics can push us so far away, but can also bring us together. It can be so painful and devastating to see...but also so beautiful and powerful.
I felt so emotionally moved. I wanted these moments to last forever.
Monuments Up Close (Aka, Meeting Celebrities)
When I went to DC the first time, we didn't have enough time to visit any of the monuments outside of the agenda. The travel time and time waiting for seats at restaurants led to us having no extra time to explore.
To me, seeing parts of history is like meeting a celebrity. When I traveled to the Jersey Shore and walked the boardwalk, it was like meeting a celebrity. It sounds cheesy but it feels so monumental to me. It feels so powerful and beautiful to step into parts of history and out of the places you know so well and to explore what you've heard about but have never seen before.
Therefore, FINALLY seeing the monuments up close was MONUMENTAL to me! Spending 20 years seeing images in books, clips on tv, hearing stories from friends...I was so ready to see history in person. I felt like a kid in a candy store or Disney World. It was so thrilling to see the monuments in real life.
But, it also made me think deeply. Monuments are supposed to honor aspects of history that led to positive change and sacrifices. Then why are there still monuments of historic figures that should NOT be honored? Historic figures that led to minorities experiences suffering and mistreatment?
The Holocaust Museum
This day. This day was about learning. About opening up my mind and heart and allowing myself to be emotionally moved.
So I did. I allowed my mind and heart to be open.
When I visited the African American Culture and History museum, I allowed my mind and heart to open. I allowed tears to flow, and questions to be raised. I learned that seeing and experiencing a museum in person triumphs what is learned in the classroom.
With that being said, I've included some images from the Holocaust museum. I've decided to not include all images or my thoughts. I believe museums like this and the African American Culture and History Museum should be experienced in person individually.
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