10 Historic Places To Visit During Black History Month

Natural Museum of African American History and Culture (Aki Carpenter)

1. African Burial Ground National Monument

(New York)

The discovery of an African burial ground in lower Manhattan was a surprise to the workers who unearthed it in 1991 as they prepared to construct a federal office building. More shocking still was its scope: Hundreds of remains were found dating from the 1690s through 1794. It is estimated that at one time, as many as 15,000 African Americans — many of them slaves — were buried at this site.

 

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

(Washington, D.C.)

Completed in August 2011, this solid granite sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrating King’s dedication to civil rights and racial equality, can be found in West Potomac Park near the National Mall.

 

3. Underground Railroad Heritage Trail

(New York)

New York was a major destination for African Americans seeking freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War. This Heritage Trail follows the routes through western New York of thousands of enslaved people who made the journey to freedom. There are many interpretive centers, museums and historic sites along the trail.

 

4. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument

(Maryland)

President Obama established this site as a national monument in March, 2013. It comprises several places of significance to Tubman’s life, including the James Cook home site (where Tubman was hired out as a child) and the Jacobs Jackson home site (one of the first safe houses on the Underground Railroad).

 

5. Little Rock Central High School

(Arkansas)

This National Historic Site is recognized as where the first major confrontation over the implementation of the Brown v. Board of Education 1954 Supreme Court ruling occurred, in 1957. Nine African-American students were determined to attending the formerly all-white Central High School and made history with their persistence.

 

6. Evergreen Plantation

(Louisiana)

With 37 buildings on the National Historic Register, including 22 slave cabins, Evergreen Plantation is the most intact plantation complex in the south and exemplifies major slave plantations of the Antebellum South. Parts of the movie Django Unchained were filmed at this plantation.

 

7. Carver National Monument

(Missouri)

Located at the birthplace and childhood home of the famous black scientist George Washington Carver, the monument is the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated to an African American. The park emphasized Carver’s role as a scientist and educator and offers a number of opportunities for children.

 

8. Kingsley Plantation

(Florida)

Kingsley Plantation was established in 1763, making it the oldest known plantation in Florida. Today, the plantation is a house museum, displaying exhibits and furnishings that depict life on the plantation in its earliest years.

 

9. African American Museum

(Philadelphia)

The museum was founded in 1974, originally a part of the Special Collections at Bishop College, a historically black college that closed in 1988. Now operating independently, the museum houses collections of fine and folk art by some of the foremost African-American artists and offers many exhibits and educational events aimed at families.

 

10. Lincoln Park

(Washington, DC)

This park features the Mary McLeod Bethune memorial (the first monument to honor a black woman in a public park) and the Abraham Lincoln memorial. Frederick Douglass delivered a keynote address here before President Ulysses S. Grant, his cabinet and members of Congress, discussing both his approval and disapproval of the monument. Funds for the monument were collected solely from freed slaves, primarily African-American Union veterans.

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