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10 Inspiring Places Where You Can Honor Black History in the US

These sights, museums, and memorials amplify Black stories and voices.

A Congo Square statue in the US
Hi, I'm Yolanda!

Yolanda Evans is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience covering dining, cocktails, travel, and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in Afar, Here Magazine, Washington Post, Imbibe, Vine Pair, Shondaland, Zora, Food 52, Food & Wine, Punch, Travel + Leisure, Wine Enthusiast, Lonely Planet, Thrillist, Eater LA, and Architectural Digest to name but a few.

If you look hard enough, you can find the legacy of Black Americans in most places around the United States. But while the country was largely built on the blood, sweat, and tears of Black people, their legacy is usually whitewashed, and key facts and figures are often overlooked.

In recent years, there's finally been a movement to recognize this history by erecting new monuments and focusing on the stories of Black Americans at historic sites—and older sites are also finally getting their due. Here are 10 places to go to honor Black Americans during Black History Month.

1. Beale Street Historic District, Memphis, Tennessee

The Beale Street Historic District by night.
The Beale Street Historic District comes alive at night.Photo Credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

Explore the place that birthed the blues down in Tennessee.

Spanning a 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) stretch from the Mississippi River to East Street, Beale Street is known as the Birthplace of the Blues. It’s been an important place for African Americans since shortly after the end of the Civil War, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Legendary musicians such as W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Memphis Minnie, and Muddy Waters all performed on this famous strip at some point in their careers, shaping blues, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, and R&B into the forms we know today. Nowadays, you can explore Beale Street on a walking tour, or as part of a wider exploration of African American culture in the city.

2. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

The exterior of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
This informative center shares the experiences of enslaved peoples.Photo Credit: Rosamar / Shutterstock

Learn more about enslaved peoples' fight for freedom at this Midwest museum.

Located on the banks of the Ohio River (which acted as a natural barrier between slave-owning states and free territories), the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center focuses on both the experiences that enslaved people endured during the pursuit of freedom on the Underground Railroad, and the issue of modern-day slavery. Permanent and traveling exhibits use storytelling, film, and artwork to highlight the horrors of enslavement and human trafficking, from chattel to modern slavery—and what it means to be free.

3. Tom Bullock Mural, Louisville, Kentucky

The Urban Bourbon Trail in downtown Louisville.
The Tom Bullock mural appears on the windows of the restaurant Sway, which sits on the Urban Bourbon Trail.Photo Credit: Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock

See a different side to cocktail history in the home of the Mint Julep.

More than 100 years after he published his trailblazing cocktail book The Ideal Bartender, pioneering author and bartender Tom Bullock finally has a fitting memorial in the city of Louisville. The son of a former enslaved person, Bullock was known for the creative drinks he concocted during the Prohibition Era. He was also the first Black American to publish a cocktail book in the US. The mural, created by Kacy Jackson, appears on the front windows of the restaurant Sway, which sits on the famous Urban Bourbon Trail in downtown Louisville. And once you're done admiring the mural, you can take a full bourbon tour of the city.

4. Roots 101 African-American Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

The exterior of the Roots 101 African-American Museum.
This museum explores the African American story through art, music, artifacts, and education.Photo Credit: Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock

This expansive museum has lots to offer when it comes to learning about Black history.

Started as a passion project by Lamont Collins in 2019, the Roots 101 African American History Museum explores the African American story through art, music, artifacts, and education. This 5-level museum is full of works that depict different eras of African American history and culture, ranging from sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin to a Big Momma’s House exhibit. Once you've explored all this rising star museum has to offer, learn more about other elements of Kentucky culture, such as the Derby, or take a food and history tour of the NuLu neighborhood.

5. Greenwood Rising, Tulsa, Oklahoma

An exhibit at Greenwood Rising in Tulsa.
Greenwood Rising honors the legacy of Black Wall Street and all that was lost there.Photo Credit: Tara K / Tripadvisor

The underrated history of Black Wall Street can be explored here.

Until a particular episode of the HBO show The Watchmen aired in 2021, most Americans had never heard of “Black Wall Street,” the historic neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was home to over 600 Black-owned businesses in the 1920s. This thriving neighborhood, Greenwood District, was razed to the ground during the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, and it was subsequently omitted from history books.

Greenwood Rising, which opened in August of 2021, honors the legacy of Black Wall Street and all that was lost there. The history center brings the town’s story to life through projections that display the destruction and violence—and through stories from survivors, who recount the horror of that night to make sure that it may never be forgotten again.

6. The Hunterfly Road Houses, Brooklyn, New York

A view of Weeksville Heritage Center.
All that remains of Weeksville is the Hunterfly Road Houses.Photo Credit: Doug Nurnberger / Shutterstock

An overlooked attraction that pays homage to pre–Civil War Black communities.

Founded in Brooklyn by James Weeks in the 1830s, Weeksville was one of the largest free Black communities to exist before the Civil War. Sadly, all that remains of the community is the Hunterfly Road Houses: five small buildings that have been marked as a historic landmark. If you're in the area, take guided tours of this historic house and visit the nearby Weeksville Heritage Center, which hosts an array of exhibits, lectures, and community events focusing on social justice issues and the plight of Black Americans.

7. Tubman Museum, Macon, Georgia

The exterior of the Tubman Museum in Georgia.
Learn about the untold stories of Black excellence at the Tubman Museum, named after Harriet Tubman.Photo Credit: Doug Nurnberger / Shutterstock

Get to grips with the impressive stories of Black Americans throughout history.

Named after famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia is dedicated to celebrating Black Americans’ rich history and culture. Visitors can explore a variety of exhibitions on Black artists, folk art, and the decorative arts—and learn the untold stories of Black inventors such as Garrett Morgan, Lonnie Johnson, Sarah Boone, and Alice H. Parker. There’s also an illustrated 9-panel mural that explores the feats of African Americans throughout history.

8. Congo Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

People giving a lively performance at Congo Square in New Orleans.
Black social aid and pleasure clubs parade in Congo Square to this very day.Photo Credit: William A. Morgan / Shutterstock

Visit one of New Orleans' best-known public spaces.

Formally known as Place des Nègres, Congo Square was a sacred place for Black Americans living in New Orleans in the 19th century. Every Sunday, both enslaved and free people of color would gather here to sell goods, worship, sing, dance, and play drums. These Sunday gatherings played a substantial role in the development of jazz, second line, and Mardi Gras traditions and also nurtured the evolution and commercialization of Voodoo—a religion you can learn more about while in NOLA. The area is still culturally significant today; Black social aid and pleasure clubs, such as Zulu and the Mardi Gras Indians, still parade in this area during Mardi Gras.

Related: Where To Go to Experience Jazz History in New Orleans

9. National Museum of African American History, Washington, DC

Outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC.
Artifacts at this museum include the casket of Emmett Till and a shawl worn by Harriet Tubman.Photo Credit: Lee Hoagland / Viator

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is an 85,000-square-foot (7,900-square-meter) space spanning five floors with roughly 3,000 objects and 17 interactive stations, admission to which you can book in advance.

Each exhibit highlights some part of the Black experience in America, from the transatlantic slave trade to the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. Artifacts include from a plane flown by Tuskegee Airmen, a Bible carried by the freedom fighter Nat Turner, the casket of Emmett Till, and a shawl worn by Harriet Tubman. And once you're done at this museum, head out to explore the rest of Washington DC's cultural offerings, from the Smithsonian to the US Capitol.

10. Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri

Inside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
This museum is devoted to the talented Black players who were denied a spot in the Major Leagues.Photo Credit: burghughes / Tripadvisor

Because Major League baseball could have been much more diverse.

This 10,000-square-foot (930-square-meter) space is devoted to preserving the history of these trailblazing Black players who were denied a spot in the Major Leagues due to Jim Crow laws. Here, learn about Black baseball players including Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, and Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige—and see a vast collection of memorabilia. Make sure to check out Beauty of the Game, a display that celebrates the women of the Negro Leagues.

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