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Copyright 2002 Gerri Gribi ||| Email ||| Updated 08/07/15
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Black Heritage Travel: Self-guided Tours and Historical Brochures


Civil Rights Trail - Alabama Bureau of Travel and Tourism

Tour sites include the Rosa Parks Museum, Edmund Pettus Bridge, National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. You can also connect to regional travel bureaus contact information, get dining and lodging information. Download the free brochure.


Heritage and Civil Rights Pathways - Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

The first clear record of African-Americans in Arkansas is from 1721, more than a hundred years before statehood. This site presents a brief historical overview, plus information about traveling to 17 historic sites and 6 African American oriented museums. You can also download a beautiful and comprehensive travel brochure which introduces the inductees to The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, a detailed timeline and travel intinerary covering the Civil Rights Movement plus places of cultural, political and artistic significance. The brochure also briefly highlights sites in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.


Beckwourth/Eastern Plumas County - Beckwourth Trail

Jim Beckwourth was an African American explorer and pioneer who discovered the lowest pass over the Sierra. The Beckwourth Trail (a wagon route from Marysville to Reno) was used heavily until about 1855, when the railroad supplanted the wagon train as the preferred method of travelling to California. At this rich website, you'll find biographical and historical information, educator resources, a map of the trail and more.

Elsewhere you can download a self guided ethnic diversity tour or a tour of Historic Plumas produced by the Plumas County/Northern California Visitor's Bureau.


Greater U Street Historic District Brochure (from the District of Columbia Office of Planning)

Once described as a "city within a city," Washington's preeminent historic African American historic district includes more than 1500 buildings.


Jacksonville - Jacksonville & the Beaches Multicultural Heritage Trail Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau

This travel itinerary includes contact and background information on Centennial Hall, the Masonic Temple, and the Fire Museum, housed in the station that was manned primarily by black. The website includes lodging, dining and attractions information, and you can download a free 24-page booklet called Passages: A Multicultural Guide and Planner which provides a historic timeline, information about festivals, shopping, dining lodging, meeting facilities


Athens African American Heritage Tour - Athens Convention & Visitor's Bureau

This self-guided tour includes some of Athens' most significant historic sites and offers insight into the lives of some of Athens' most prominent citizens. Sites along the tour include the building which housed the first black maternity hospital, Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, and the Morton Theatre. You can also download an 8-page pdf of the tour.

Columbus -Convention & Visitors Bureau

African-Americans have played a significant role in the growth and development of this city, a heritage you can explore through a self-guided tour which begins at the last home of Gertrude Pridget "Ma" Rainey and culminates with a tour of some of the historic black churches. You can download a pdf, or request a paper version by mail. And of course you'll find lots of information about lodging, dining, shopping and other attractions at the CVB website.

Savannah's Black Heritage Brochure - Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau

Savannah enjoys more than 250 years of African-American heritage and features a number of historic sites, museums and tours that focus on the African-American experience. The brochure highlights the locations around the city that have preserved African American heritage. It introduces visitors to five of the oldest, continuous black congregations in America and Savannah's many cultural attractions including the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, Beach Institute, King-Tisdell Cottage and Savannah State University. The SAVCVB website also provides lodging, dining and other tourist information such as a calendar of festivals and other special events. The CVB offers a group tour entitled African Influence.


Honolulu - African American Diversity Cultural Center

The goal of the Center is to preserve African American heritage in Hawaii dating back to the 1800s. Though the museum is not scheduled to open until 2010, educational programs and events are already available. At the website you can learn more, download a brochure, and watch a 15 minute Quicktime video, African Americans in the Hawaiian Isles.


Lexington - African American Heritage Trail in Downtown Lexington Lexington Convention and Visitor's Bureau

A walking tour of 10 sites. You can download the brochure as a pdf. The site also includes lodging, dining and event information.


African American Heritage Guide - Maryland Office of Tourism

"From Mathias de Sousa, the first black man to set foot on what became the colony of Maryland; to the brave, freedom fighting conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman; to the first African-American Supreme Court Justice,Thurgood Marshall; Maryland is intricately woven into the fabric of African-American cultural history as well as its future." This new county-by-county guide leads you to cultural attractions, historic sites, markers, museums and more. The website also provides extensive visitor information including current weather, lodging, dining, shopping, special events, festivals and attractions.

Cherish African American Culture- This itinerary takes you on a 3-day tour and introduces you to "legendary figures whose talent and courage embody the spirit of black America."

Publications - Order or download:
Maryland's African-American Heritage Guide (pdf)
Maryland's AFrican American Heritage Map (pdf)
The Underground RailRoad Network to Freedom Map Guide
, and more.

Annapolis - African American History: Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau

The area has many African American historic sites including City Dock where Alex Haley's ancestor, Kunta Kinte, arrived on a slave ship. At the Bureau's website you can order or download the African American Heritage Guide, with seven unique itineraries, and find further visitor information such as lodging, dining, shopping and attractions.

Baltimore - African American Heritage & Attractions Guide: Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association

This content rich site is an online guide to historical landmarks and markers, religious venues, colleges and universities, visual and performing arts, and cultural heritage attractions. A two-day African American Heritage Itinerary will help you plan your visit, as will links to heritage tours and local tour operators, an event calendar, and a free downloadable brochure called How to Plan a Family Reunion in Baltimore. Of course, you'll also find lots of resources for lodging, dining, shopping and just having fun.

Columbia/Howard County - African American Heritage: Howard County Tourism Council

From Benjamin Banneker, famous scientist to Decatur Dorsey, Civil War hero, Howard County is rich with African-American history. You can download their free tour guide at the website, and also find visitor information about lodging, dining, shopping and more.


Upper Housatonic Valley African American Trail

The African American Heritage Trail tells the stories of Black luminaries who have lived in the area, including W.E.B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson. but it also details the life and times of ordinary/extraordinary African Americans. The area encompasses 29 communities in Western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut. You can download a free Trail Guide and other brochures at their website. AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE IN THE UPPER HOUSATONIC VALLEY, a book featuring 120 photos and illustrations, eight original maps, 67 articles, a timeline and more is also available at their website or at


Detroit - Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

The DMCVB offers a free, downloadable African American Brochure (dated 2004) filled with attractions, historical sites and monuments, dining, special events, shopping, lodging and more. You'll also find a sample tour itinerary online.

Detroit - Detroit Historical Museum

Explore Detroit's role in the Underground Railroad, walk the streets of Old Detroit, learn about how cars built Detroit and Detroit built cars, or view special exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. Visitor information, event and exhibit calendars, plus educational resources you can download free from the Learning Center are found at this rich website.

New Jersey

Burlington County - African American Historic Sites Tour

By 1790, the county had the largest free black population of any county in New Jersey. Burlington County's rich black history is reflected in these sixteen sites found in nine communities, an African American Historic Sites Self-guided Tour which you can view online or download as a pdf. The tour begins in Bordentown, home of the New Jersey Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth, and ends at the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cinnaminson.

They also offer an Underground Railroad tour, which can be downloaded as a pdf or Word document.

New York

Oswego - The Underground Railroad in Oswego County

Learn a bit about the Underground Railroad activity in this area, and download a driving tour map.

North Carolina

Visit NC - North Carolina Division of Tourism

A wide array of visitor information including dining, lodging, events and attractions, easily accessed using their Search Engine. Download The Rich Heritage of African Americans, a gorgeous free 56-page brochure with foreward by Professor John Hope Franklin. The brochure includes a brief history of African Americans in North Carolina, a reference map with historic and cultural sites, events, festivals, celebrations, artists, musicians and more!

New Bern - African American Heritage Walking Tour

In the 1700s, New Bern became known as a popular town for both slaves and free blacks in Colonial America. By1860, free blacks composed nearly 13% of New Bern's population ­ by far the greatest number of free blacks of any town in North Carolina.Over the course of many years, a large black population created institutions and had a political, economic, and cultural influence in the area. This self-guided walking tour exhibits New Bern's strong African American Heritage, rich in culture as well as historical fact. Brochures and maps are available at the Visitors Center or online. Download PDF of New Bern walking tour.


Ohio Department of Development, Division of Travel and Tourism

During the era of slavery, Ohio was a beacon of freedom. It fostered the development of world famous authors, amazing artists, brilliant inventors and architects and influential politicians. From station houses on the Underground Railroad to cultural arts centers, Ohio has an abundance of places to explore black history and culture. At this website you'll find an interactive map, attractions and events, itineraries and resources to learn more about Ohio's black history. Teachers should check the Resources page, and download a free brochure Ohio's Underground Railroad Freedom Stations: Traveling the State's Underground Railroad.

Been There! Batavia - Clermont County Underground Railroad Freedom Trail

This trail of thirty-three Underground Railroad and Abolitionist sites (along with maps and history) can be downloaded as a full-color brochure. Or call 800-796-4282 to request a copy. The tour included some locations which are simply "former site of" (that is, nothing extant) but such sites still provided interesting and important historical background. I'd recommend this tour because so much of the surrounding area is unchanged, and it's easy to imagine what it was like in the 1840s. The nearby Chilo Lock #34 Park is definitely worth a stop if you're in the area. Though the museum itself is not specific to black history, the Ohio River played a significant role in the story of slavery and freedom and there's much to learn about it here. Besides, there is a nice play area for little travelers who might need a stretch!

Zanesville-Muskingum County - Zanesville-Muskingum County Convention & Visitors Bureau

In addition to information about dining, lodging, history, shopping and attractions, the Bureau offers a Friends of Freedom tour you can download as a Word document.


Quest for Freedom - Freedom Journeys

Use an interactive map, or download the Quest for Freedom Trail Guide to explore the Underground Railroad and the history of African American Patriots in the region of Gettysburg, York, Lancaster, Valley Forge and Philadelphia.

South Carolina

Discover South Carolina's African American History and Culture - South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

This comprehensive and easy to navigate site is a goldmine of information for African American heritage travelers! Click on the direct link above, or visit via the Home Page » See & Do » History & Heritage » African American, and you'll discover detailed historical background information, travel information, and websites for nearly 100 historical landmarks, museums and interpretive centers, each with a map for quick location. The Black History Adventure is a sample 6-day itinerary.

Download these articles from their magazine Smiles:

African American Historical Monument
Cecil Williams: Portraits of Civil Rights
Dori Sanders
The Heritage of our African Art
Gullah Spirituals


African Americans in Texas - Texas Historical Commission

This 48-page brochure is free to download.


Arlington The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington

Currently a "museum-without-walls," (though a physical museum is in the works) the BHMA celebrates the African American journey to freedom in Arlington County. At the heart of the BHMA mission is the story of Freedmen's Village. To date, the museum board has commissioned a model of the village, which is now part of a cosponsored exhibit on slave life at Arlington House. The Board also sponsors a lecture series, an oral history program, and a walking tour brochure you can download. (pdf)

Canada - Ontario

ParkNet, National Park Service Cultural Resource Management (magazine)

In the late 1990's the National Park Service and Parks Canada worked together commemorate sites of historical importance along the Underground Railroad. These articles are available as pdf downloads from the archives of CRM:

Underground Railroad Parks: A shared history by Hilary Russell (2/20/1997)

Commemorating the Underground Railroad in Canada, by Shannon Ricketts ( 5/22/1999)