February is Black History Month, which makes it a great time to explore the Black history sites in your area. I’m a firm believer that one of the best ways to understand history is to literally walk in the footsteps of those who came before. It creates empathy and gives you a deeper understanding of history, and these sites allow us to do this.
Many sites are hosting special events this month or have virtual tours available so even if you can’t go in person, check them out. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but I did try to include a wide variety of sites and locations. Please add your recommendations in the comments!
**Be sure to check out the National Park Service’s 28 days of Black History this month for a fun way to explore some of these sites!
I used many different resources to compile this list, including:
- National Park Service’s African American Heritage list, We Shall Overcome Travel Itinerary, African American Civil Rights Network Story Map, and Underground Railroad Itinerary
- Civil Rights Trail
- These articles from Travel and Leisure and USA Today list even more sites to visit.
- Whitney Plantation: Only museum in Louisiana focused exclusively on the lives of the enslaved population. I’ve heard amazing things about the exhibits and their impact.
- Eastern Shore:
- Boston African American National Historic Site: I’ve been to the centerpiece of this site, the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial on Boston Common
- Underground Railroad Trail
- New York City:
- International Civil Rights Center and Museum: Site of the original Woolworth’s sit-in from 1960 that’s now a museum
- Reconstruction Era National Historical Park: Includes a Civil War camp for black soldiers
- National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel: Reviewed on The History Mom in 2020. It includes the location of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, which is one of the most moving places I have visited.
- Robert Russa Moton Museum: Review coming this month to The History Mom!
- Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia: Reviewed on The History Mom in 2020
- Hidden in Plain Sight: virtual tours of important sites in Richmond’s Black history
- Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site: The home of America’s first African American woman to found a bank. As soon as this reopens, I’m visiting! Don’t miss the statue of Walker a few streets away (intersection of Brook Road and Broad Street)
- Slave Trail: Richmond is currently in talks to expand this trail to include a national slavery museum in Shockoe Bottom
- Virginia Civil Rights Memorial at Capitol Square: Such an inspiring statue of Barbara Johns and other Civil Rights leaders
- Fort Monroe: Freedom’s Fortress – Includes the site where the first enslaved Africans disembarked in 1619 – reviewed on The History Mom in 2020
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture: Reviewed on The History Mom in 2020 – a must-see experience!
- Smithsonian National Museum of American History: Has the actual Woolworth’s counter from the Greensboro sit-in – reviewed on The History Mom in 2020
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: A moving monument on the National Mall
- Lincoln Memorial: Your children can stand exactly where Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- African American Civil War Memorial Museum and Monument
- Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site: Father of Black History Month
- Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
- President Lincoln’s Cottage: Where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation – reviewed on The History Mom in 2020
- The White House: Check out the White House Historical Assocation’s project, Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood – reviewed on The History Mom in 2020
Be sure to check out my favorite recommendations for Black history books for kids and teens at my Bookshop.org shop here (this is an affiliate link).
What site are you visiting, either in person or virtually, this month?