Locations the place you may study Black historical past in America

Editor’s notice: This put up has been up to date.

What started as Negro Historical past Week within the month of February — established by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 — advanced into Black Historical past Month many years later in 1976.

The annual observance commemorates the triumphs and hardships of Black individuals within the U.S. It’s reserved as a time to honor, rejoice and protect the reminiscence of the individuals who selflessly sacrificed to interrupt racial boundaries for freedom, fairness, inclusion, integration and equal rights.

Studying about Black historical past and tradition should not be restricted to Black Historical past Month, although. There are locations throughout the nation that function glorious locations to be taught extra about Black historical past and the legendary trailblazers who’ve formed Black tradition, life and historical past within the U.S. at any time of 12 months.


A working duplicate of a Nineteen Fifties-era Montgomery Metropolis bus stands parked outdoors the Rosa Park Museum on the 103rd anniversary of her delivery. KEVIN GLACKMEYER/ROSA PARKS MUSEUM AT TROY UNIVERSITY/FACEBOOK

Known as the birthplace of civil rights, Montgomery was certainly house to many activists and actions that propelled change on this county.

The Rosa Parks Museum at Troy College takes guests past textbooks to be taught concerning the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The exhibit begins with a characteristic movie of individuals of all races talking about what it was prefer to protest segregation and racial injustices of their metropolis. You might be then ushered right into a room for a digital reenactment of the night time Rosa Parks was arrested, projected from a reproduction of the Cleveland Avenue bus.

Simply two blocks away from the museum is a statue of Rosa Parks close to the situation the place she stood for the bus on Dec. 1, 1955 — the day that etched her identify into historical past.

The museum additionally speaks concerning the Freedom Riders, a heroic group of individuals (together with late congressman John Lewis) who got down to problem segregation at bus stations whereas using from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans.

A part of the previous Greyhound station in Montgomery, the place these riders had been met with violence from an indignant mob, has been transformed into the Freedom Rides Museum, the place items of the “For Coloreds Solely” ready space and boarding platform are nonetheless intact.

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One other noteworthy cease within the metropolis is the Dr. Richard Harris House, which was a protected home and a strategic planning location for the Freedom Riders and different civil rights actions all through Montgomery within the Centennial Hill space.

Cell is one other metropolis wealthy in Black tradition and historical past.

Just some miles from the downtown space is Africatown, fashioned by 32 West Africans who comprised the final recognized cargo of unlawful slaves to the U.S. This historic website is a part of Cell’s African American Heritage Path.

Cell can be the birthplace and residential of baseball legend Hank Aaron. Guests can tour his childhood house (which was moved to Hank Aaron Stadium) totally free. Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s house run document, did so whereas enduring hostility and blatant racism.



Although it might be greatest recognized for nation music, Nashville has a wealthy Black historical past, too.

Though different sit-ins had taken place within the years prior, 124 college students from traditionally Black schools and universities round Nashville staged sit-ins at Kress, Woolworth and McClellan lunch counters round city on Feb. 13, 1960.

The scholars continued their sit-ins and expanded to different areas however had been finally met with violence on Feb. 27, a day that additionally resulted in 81 arrests. After refusing to pay the related high-quality of $50, the scholars spent somewhat greater than 30 days in jail. Woolworth has been rebranded as Woolworth on 5th (a theater) and has a historic maker outdoors its doorways.

After all, music has at all times been an intrinsic a part of Black tradition, and it has impressed main genres and musical phenomenons. The National Museum of African American Music takes you thru the evolution of music from hymns and Negro spirituals to people music, bluegrass, jazz and present-day hip-hop.

Study concerning the pioneers in these genres whereas curating a private playlist of songs. There are even a dance room and a recording studio so that you can take pleasure in throughout your go to.

For excursions particular to Black historical past in Nashville, e book by United Street Tours.

Kansas Metropolis, Missouri


The epicenter of Black tradition in Kansas Metropolis is within the historic 18th and Vine neighborhood, often known as the jazz district. At a time when Black residents had been dealing with housing restrictions, the world was stuffed with profitable Black companies. Medical practices, church buildings, eating places and lodges constructed by individuals dwelling and dealing within the space created a sustainable and thriving group. That group nonetheless exists at this time and preserves the tales of perseverance and triumph by cultural leisure.

The Black Archives of Mid-America is devoted to highlighting the contributions of Black individuals within the area by reveals and artifacts. As an extension of the Equal Justice Initiative, there’s a memorial devoted to Black Individuals who had been lynched all through Missouri. The constructing is former Firehouse No. 11, which was Kansas Metropolis’s first Black hearth firm.

Mutual Musicians Foundation, now a Nationwide Register of Historic Locations website, was created in 1917 as a gathering place for Black musicians. It was right here these musicians discovered refuge and will safely rehearse. Artists and musicians nonetheless collect right here on weekends for late-night jam periods.

You may be taught extra concerning the historical past and affect of jazz in Kansas Metropolis on the American Jazz Museum, which takes you thru a hands-on visible and sonic expertise when you study native and worldwide legendary jazz musicians like Charlie Parker, Jay McShann and Pearl Bailey. Interactive mixing rooms permit you to strive your hand at creating your personal jazz sound, and there are reside performances on the Blue Room all through the week.

Baseball, America’s favourite pastime, was not at all times the various sport it’s now. The truth is, it wasn’t till April 1947 that Main League Baseball had a Black participant, Jackie Robinson, who began at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas Metropolis pays homage to gamers akin to Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, and it’s just some blocks from the YMCA, the place the Negro League was fashioned in 1920. Immerse your self within the tales of the unsung heroes and legends of baseball by interactive pc stations, artifacts and the Corridor of Fame locker room.

New Orleans


From jazz music to Creole delicacies, Black individuals have a wealthy tapestry within the bayou — and there’s no higher place to start out than The George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art. The museum homes a personal assortment of paperwork, artifacts and artwork that immerses viewers in Black excellence from the 18th century to the current day.

Subsequent up is Le Musée de f.p.c., a historic home museum. It’s one of many few points of interest devoted completely to telling the story and preserving the fabric tradition of free individuals of colour.

Additionally owned by the McKenna household, Le Musée de f.p.c contains a group of paperwork, work and ornamental arts that concurrently interpret and protect the historical past and tradition shared by so many free individuals of African descent in New Orleans and all through the nation.

One other historic landmark so as to add to your listing is Congo Sq., previously generally known as Place de Nègres. This space is thought for being a gathering space of slaves, who on Sundays would spend their time without work promoting items, singing and enjoying music.

And who can come to New Orleans and never expertise the delicacies that evokes recipes all over the world? After opening in 1941 as a sandwich store, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant shortly turned the assembly place for civil rights, music, leisure and tradition.

Leah Chase, generally known as the Queen of Creole Delicacies, turned the store into one of many first African American high-quality eating eating places within the U.S. Additionally, by including the work of Black artists to the partitions of the restaurant, Dooky Chase’s was the primary artwork gallery for Black artists in New Orleans.

Greensboro, North Carolina


Established in 1891, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University — the highest traditionally Black school within the U.S. — is positioned in Greensboro. This illustrious college has a long-standing historical past and a major function in civil rights for African Individuals.

On Feb. 1, 1960, Jibreel Khazan (then generally known as Ezell Blair Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond — 4 freshman college students at A&T — helped provoke sit-in demonstrations. The sit-in occurred at Woolworth when the 4 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter. They turned generally known as the A&T 4, and their nonviolent protest propelled a wave of comparable sit-ins that finally performed a key function in ending segregation in North Carolina and throughout the South, together with the aforementioned Feb. 13 sit-in in Nashville.

The location is now a historic landmark that gave delivery to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, which refers to itself as “an modern social justice academic group dedicated to the understanding and development of civil and human rights at house and all over the world.”

In a wooded space of the Guilford School campus is a path traveled by many looking for freedom, often known as the Greensboro Underground Railroad. Right here, you may stroll the trail to the Underground Railroad Tree in a self-guided tour that simulates how fugitives navigated the world with the assistance of abolitionists and native African Individuals, each free and enslaved.

In 1949, The Historic Magnolia House, previously generally known as the Daniel D. DeButts Home, opened its doorways to supply a spot for Black vacationers. It’s believed that it was one of many solely lodges that offered lodging for African American vacationers between Richmond, Virginia, and Atlanta throughout Jim Crow. The resort, which is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, went on to be featured in six editions of Victor Hugo Inexperienced’s “Green Book” and can be believed to be the one Inexperienced Guide resort nonetheless in operation inside North Carolina.

Celebrities akin to Duke Ellington, James Baldwin, Tina Turner and Ray Charles all resided on the resort throughout their performances and travels within the space. At the moment, the resort is open for stays, brunch and particular occasions.

Associated: A conversation with Candacy Taylor, curator of the Smithsonian’s new traveling ‘Green Book’ exhibition

Los Angeles


Once we discuss Black historical past, it’s essential to recollect how multifaceted this historical past is, and we’d be remiss to go away out the heroic actions of Black individuals who formed the development of LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms.

One such hero is Jewel Thais-Williams, a nightclub pioneer who opened Jewel’s Catch One bar in Los Angeles in 1973. Her institution was hailed as an “epicenter for homosexual Black life,” serving as a protected area the place individuals might let unfastened and be themselves at a time when police had been arresting individuals for his or her sexual preferences. Whereas the institution has modified to suit the instances, it’s nonetheless open.

Additionally in Los Angeles, The African American Firefighter Museum pays homage to Black firefighters, together with Sam Haskins, who was listed as the primary Los Angeles fireman of African lineage when he was employed in 1892. With an array of paperwork, tools, artifacts, photographs and tales, the AAFFM is the primary and the nation’s solely freestanding African American firefighter museum.

No journey to the Metropolis of Angels is full with out visiting Watts Coffee House, a venue that sought to revive the historic Watts Occurring Espresso Home.

Watts Occurring turned a gathering place for artists and activists following the Watts Rebel in 1965, when the neighborhood was burned to the bottom in response to the arrest of a Black man by white regulation enforcement. Simply throughout the road from the unique location, the present espresso store preserves the legacy of Watts Occurring.

New York Metropolis


Beginning as a small luncheonette with solely six cubicles and 15 stools in 1962, the legendary Harlem restaurant Sylvia’s is helmed by namesake Sylvia Woods, who is named the Queen of Soul Meals. Garnering the eye of foodies, politicians, celebrities and TV exhibits, this institution has lengthy been a staple within the Black group.

Well-known African American poet and writer Langston Hughes is likely one of the most well-known creatives credited with being part of the Harlem Renaissance. His house, the place he spent the final 20 years of his life creating a few of his hottest literary works, is a registered historic landmark in Harlem.

Whereas open to the general public for excursions and viewings, Hughes’ residence can be house to the I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit group dedicated to nurturing creativity inside underrepresented communities.

One other website to see is the well-known Apollo Theater, which opened its doorways to Black individuals in 1934. It hosted weekly expertise exhibits and birthed the careers of a number of the world’s most well-known entertainers, together with Marvin Gaye and James Brown. Guests can nonetheless attend reside performances and occasions on the music corridor.

Associated: An introduction to New York City’s neighborhoods

New Jersey


New Jersey’s relevance in Black historical past dates again to the 1600s when the primary captive Africans had been delivered to the mid-Atlantic space by Colonial settlers.

Now, the Black Heritage Trail spreads throughout the state of New Jersey, figuring out historic landmarks in addition to commemorating the contributions of previous and current residents.

Noteworthy spots alongside the path embrace the Scotch Hills Nation Membership (renamed to Shady Relaxation), the primary Black-owned golf and nation membership within the U.S. Within the northern a part of the state, you could find the primary Black church in Morristown, the Bethel Church of Morristown, which was established in 1843. The path additionally identifies museums and Black-owned eating places and companies all through the state.

The story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman is one with many layers, however Cape May performs an integral half. Well-known for its seashores, boardwalks and Victorian-style houses, it’s right here that Tubman lived and labored to assist carry enslaved individuals to freedom.

The Harriet Tubman Museum outlines her life, her work in Cape Might and her journeys. You too can make a journey round Cape Might on an Underground Railroad Trolley Tour to be taught extra concerning the historical past of the world and the passage enslaved individuals took utilizing the Cape Might lighthouse as a information by treacherous waters.



You might not consider Rhode Island as a spot to study Black historical past, however there are numerous tales to be advised within the state’s capital, Windfall. The self-guided Providence Walks Early Black History Tour pinpoints these websites.

On the Windfall Gazette, you may see the adverts of yesteryear positioned to promote enslaved individuals, in addition to adverts looking for help to seize runaway slaves. The location actually magnifies Windfall’s function in upholding slavery by the ability of media.

Alongside the tour is a cease at Mount Hope Sharing Garden, which acknowledges the enslaved and free Black farmers of Rhode Island. Right here, you may be taught extra about how the crops aided of their survival lengthy after enslavement.

One other essential a part of the tour is the Snowtown Riot Plaque, which honors the 5 individuals who misplaced their lives in 1831 when a white mob terrorized Black neighborhoods in Windfall for 4 days.



Black historical past in Washington state dates back to approximately 1845 when a person from Missouri, George W. Bush, his spouse, Isabella, and their 5 youngsters (together with a number of different households) settled into the southern Puget Sound space now generally known as Bush Prairie. African Individuals continued to flock to the state, and plenty of had been recruited for work in coal mines.

In later years, the prevalence of Black individuals within the space was additionally the results of immigration from African nations akin to Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.

With a mission to share the “evolution of its Black group” within the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest African American Museum tells the story of the world’s Black historical past, current and future by artwork, artifacts and reveals.

Because the inhabitants grew by the centuries, so, too, did the African American affect on music.

From the early to mid-1900s, town had a bustling jazz scene. It’s the place legends like Ernestine Anderson and Ray Charles acquired their begin. Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley and The Royal Room rejoice the contributions of native artists, capturing the soulful essence of golf equipment throughout that point.

In Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery, the Jimi Hendrix Memorial celebrates the lifetime of the worldwide musician and guitarist who known as Seattle house.

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There isn’t a American historical past with out unveiling the secrets and techniques and truths of Black historical past. From settlement after enslavement to constructing bustling communities throughout the cities throughout this nation, we are able to discover the intricate tales of triumph and perseverance woven into the tapestry of the U.S.

In February and past, these tales needs to be advised and magnified. To be taught extra, you may go to one of many stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail or The Black Experience web site.

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