• Teelesia Martin

10 Historic Black Destinations: Black History Month Edition

Looking forward to visiting some historical destinations in the US before Black History Month ends? Wanna learn about the history and culture of African Americans in the United States? There is life and legacy to be found within the African American culture and community. I recommend you visit some of these destinations. If you don’t make it this month, make it this year! Bear witness to the great rise, progression, advancement and evolution of African Americans in American History. We Are Here!

Little Rock Central High School- Little Rock, AR

In 1957, 9 students (The Little Rock Nine) were denied entrance to this school during the integration project. They had to be escorted by a military task force every day of attendance, to avoid cruel criticism and violence. In 2007, a museum was opened honoring the Little Rock Nine. Today, this high school is primarily minority.

Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District- Atlanta, GA

This district is dedicated to representing the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You can visit his childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was baptized and later became a pastor, his grave site, the King Center and a Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Today Martin Luther King Jr. is honored as one of the most visible and revolutionary leaders and activists in the Civil Rights Movement and African American Culture.

Dr. King’s legacy is also memorialized and commemorated at the National Mall in Washington, DC with a sculpture and landmark honoring the March on Washington and MLK’s dedication to civil rights and equality for all.

Tuskegee University Institute

First school for African Americans in Macon County, Alabama. Started in a small space at the Butler Chapel AME Zion Church until it was later built on vacant land purchased by Booker T Washington, a former slave. Tuskegee was the first major educational institution in the South to retain an all-black faculty, to develop Black leadership and maintain the historical stance in history. Today, Tuskegee University is a privately run Historically Black University, offering more than 64 degree programs to all races. Tuskegee is the only HBCU designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

Be sure to also stop by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site while visiting! It’s about 5-10 minutes away and FREE!! Learn about the first-ever African American military personnel.

Provident Hospital- Chicago, IL

In 1891, Providence Hospital and Training School opened as the first black owned and operated, non-segregated hospital in America, founded by African American surgeon, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. He dedicated his operation to the health and development of the African American community and nurses. In 1915, Provident graduated 100+ women from 24 states through its nursing program. Today, Provident Hospital is no longer Black operated but continues to serve the people on Chicago’s South Side.

Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site- Topeka, KS

Topeka’s African American educational community suffered from racial segregation, bad construction, lack of textbooks and lack of equality with quality of education, in comparison to the schools for white children. May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court ended racial segregation in schools and ruled unanimously “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”. Today, black and white children can attend the same schools. This is a landmark case in American history.

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park- Auburn, NY

Harriet Tubman was a former slave and leader of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used to smuggle slaves to safety. Harriet took it upon herself to bring African Americans to freedom, as best as she knew how. If you didn’t make the first crew out, she was coming back to get you. She dedicated her life and mission to freeing slaves and helping others. Harriet Tubman was the homie! Today her life is commemorated in Auburn, NY. Her mission is also commemorated at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad on 480 acres of National Park in Dorchester County Maryland.

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum- Baltimore, MD

The first wax display of African American history in the nation. Here, you will see great leaders and neglected facts about the African American culture, in wax form. Exhibits reveal “the presentation of life-size, life-like wax figures highlighting historical and contemporary personalities of African ancestry defines its uniqueness” per the NGBWM. $15 Admission.

Jim Crow Museum- Big Rapids, MI

Located on the campus of Ferris State University, this museum displays and exhibits the racial stereotypes and portrayals of African Americans in American history. Here you will find many disturbing, provocative and hateful artifacts, videos, essays and memorabilia that demonstrate how racism dominated American culture for decades. Bring a strong mind and an open heart, maybe some Kleenex too! Admission is FREE!

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum- Kansas City, MO

This is the only museum dedicated to echoing and celebrating the voice of many athletes of color in American baseball. It offers a chronological timeline of the progress of Negro leagues and social advancement for African Americans in America. You’ll find pictures and placards of players, winning hits, owners, lockers, uniforms and other historical artifacts associated with the history of African Americans in the Negro League.

National Museum of African American History and Culture- Washington, DC

Last But Not Least, “the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history, and culture”, per NMAAHC. I’ve been and I love the storytelling aspect from segregation and slavery to Oprah and Barack Obama. This is my favorite destination and definitely a Must Visit. Note: it’s FREE!!

There are many more African American museums and historical sites to visit within the United States. This list should jumpstart you into a deeper desire to learn more about the African American culture. Take this time to reflect and celebrate how far we’ve come, as Americans. Black people are not Black for only one month, we are Black all year!

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