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Frontier Trails Museum, Independence MO
Black Heritage Travel
Museums, Cultural Centers, Tours
and More!

Created 7/10/06
Updated 2/02/12


Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City MO
Regional Listings

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Additional Resources

Free Self-guided Tours, Historical Brochures you can download right now!
The North Carolina Division of Tourism offers a gorgeous free 56-page brochure with a foreward by Professor John Hope Franklin. The Columbus, GA Convention & Visitors Bureau provides an 8-page historical walking tour. Many of the tourism and museum websites offer free resources you can download, but sometimes you really have to dig deep to find them. So for your convenience I've compiled them all into one easy-to-find list.

Books & Guides (Regional and National)

Nationwide Web Resources - A National Underground Railroad bike route, Historically Black Colleges, and more!

Been There! - My ever growing list of personal reviews for places I've visited, collected together in one spot. (These are also listed under the appropriate states.)

 

Books and Guides: You will find books of local interest in the Regional Listings

iHeritage Guide (iPhone App)

The iHeritage Guide, now available on Apple’s Appstore, is an iPhone heritage tourism application that puts history into your hands. Once installed, one can launch the application to see a listing of the nearest museum, event, or building of historic or cultural significance. You may also browse sites by State or Topic. The current guide features content related to African-American heritage. The application is free to download and is currently in soft launch/beta Version 1.0.

On The Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. Charles E. Cobb Jr. Algonquin Books, NC. 2008 Order at Amazon.com

I became interested in this book when I heard the author, Charles Cobb Jr. interviewed on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin. Cobb is a veteran of the civil rights movement and a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists. He spoke about sitting on the steps of a middle school in Medgar Evers’ old neighborhood, across from the Fannie Lou Hamer Library, trying to engage some kids in conversation about the movement in Mississippi. When he told them he’d known Mrs. Hamer, a little boy said in amazement “YOU were alive back then?!”

That’s when he realized the era was fading into ancient history, viewed as a mass movement led by a few charismatic and long dead leaders. This book - part memoir, part travel guide, part history book - is intended to capture the deeper meaning of the fight for civil rights, community grassroots organizing and thousands of independent acts of courage reaching further back than the 1960’s...in fact, he said, the movement probably began as soon as the first African stepped off the ship in chains and began thinking of how to escape.

With Cobb as our personal guide we travel through Washington D.C. and eight Southern states. But this is so much more than just a visitor’s guide to historic sites, museums and plaques. Nearly every page is graced with photos, quotes from interviews, songs, letters, or key documents. We get to know the men and women not mentioned in the “Civil Rights Canon,” the everyday yet heroic people fighting for justice and equality in their own back yards.

Academicians will be happy with the careful citing of sources in end notes; general readers will be delighted with the compelling narrative flow. It’s the sort of book I find myself reading twice: first skimming through to read all the fascinating sidebars, then reading through state by state. If I had a “favorite book of the year” this would be it for 2008. It belongs on the shelf of every school and community library.

Black Heritage Sites: The North. Nancy C. Curtis. New Press 1998 Order at Amazon.com

This volume includes descriptions and detailed visitor information for hundreds of places of national and local significance, from churches and schools to battlefields and cemeteries, from stops on the Underground Railroad to landmarks of the 1950s civil rights movement. Black Heritage Sites is perfect for travelers and historians of all kinds--from the family planning a cross-country trip to the armchair traveler interested in gaining a unique perspective on African American history.

Black Heritage Sites: The South. Nancy C. Curtis. New Press 1998 Order at Amazon.com

This volume includes descriptions and detailed visitor information for hundreds of places of national and local significance, from churches and schools to battlefields and cemeteries, from stops on the Underground Railroad to landmarks of the 1950s civil rights movement. Black Heritage Sites is perfect for travelers and historians of all kinds--from the family planning a cross-country trip to the armchair traveler interested in gaining a unique perspective on African American history.

African American Historic Places. Savage, Beth L. Wiley, 2005 Order at Amazon.com

Features 800 sites on the National Historic Register which relate to African American History. Organized by 41 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Because it is designed as an identification tool rather than as a trip planner, the book lists only addresses and does not note telephone numbers, access policies, or admission charges. The introduction, however, notes that approximately three-fourths of the properties are privately owned and not open to the public. Black-and-white photographs are provided for some of the sites, and eight introductory essays provide context for understanding the historical significance of the sites.

A Traveler's Guide to the Civil Rights Movement. Jim Carrier. Harcourt Books, 2004. Order at Amazon.com

This book is fascinating even if you never leave home. It's both a travel guide and a reference for anyone wanting to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement. But it's not limited to modern times; like many historians, the author takes the view that the struggle for civil rights began the moment the first enslaved African set foot on these shores and tried to break free. And it continued anywhere that people fought for dignity and equality. Consequently, the sites described here include sites of slave rebellions, legal battles, Underground Railroad safe houses, historically black colleges, churches, museums...even the minor league stadium in Florida where Jackie Robinson broke through the color line.

Historic Landmarks of Black America. Canter, George. Gale Group, 1991. Order at Amazon.com

Describes over 300 sites across the US and Canada, with entries ranging from a paragraph to several pages, with lots of illustrations. Each includes a historical sketch detailing the site's significance and practical information such as directions, hours, fees, and related sites....which of course you'd want to doublecheck before traveling! This book is out of print but still available through used booksellers at Amazon.com.

In Their Footsteps: The American Visions Guide to African-American Historical Sites. Chase, Henry. Owlet, 1994. Order at Amazon.com

Similar to Canter's Historic Landmarks, but more comprehensive covering 46 states, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Each region has an introductory essay by authors such as Amiri Baraka and Gloria Naylor. This book is out of print but still available through used booksellers at Amazon.com.

Hippocrene U.S.A. Guide to Black America: A Directory of Historic and Cultural Sites Relating to Black America. Marcella Thum. Hippocrene Books 1991. Order at Amazon.com

More than 700 historic public attractions significant to African American history, many of which are not included in standard travel guides. Arranged geographically, entries briefly describe each site, noting admission fees and addresses.

Hippocrene U.S.A. Guide to Historic Black South: Historical Sites, Cultural Centers, and Musical Happenings of the African-American South . James Haskins & Joann Biondi. Hippocrene Books 1993. Order at Amazon.com

Covers a region of nine Southern states and the District of Columbia, pointing out churches, gravesites, historic locations, nightclubs, museums, art galleries, schools, markets, and jazz and blues landmarks. We venture to Jackie Robinson Baseball Park in Daytona Beach, Florida, for example, where Robinson played his first major league game, and to the Alex Haley Home and Museum in Henning, Tennessee. Each chapter includes a brief section on the history of that state and then lists sites in the various cities.

Nationwide Web Resources

Historical Markers - HistoryQuest.com

Founded by John Brady, the mission of HistoryQuest is to increase public access and awareness of thousands of little known, yet significant historic places throughout the United States. To that end, they have now surveyed over 85,000 historical markers in 46 states! By using their Advanced Search you can select a state and use the Keyword search to find information about markers related to black history. (Try "African" "Black" "slavery" etc) It includes the text and location of the marker.

Aboard the Underground Railroad - National Park Service

Provides a map and historical information about documented sites (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) associated with the Underground Railroad in 21 states. Most are not open to the public.

African American National Park Sites - National Park Service

"There has been a profound growth in the study and interpretation of African American history and culture within the National Park Service over recent years. Many park units are telling their parts of this story to the American people. NPS historians in both parks and program offices are using new scholarship to convey the great breadth and depth of this shared history, as well as its relationship to the overall fabric of American history. NPS archeologists are finding new clues of past African American lifeways, while NPS museum curators and other preservation specialists are telling real-life stories through exhibits and public programs."

You'll find travel guides, links to African American National Park sites, information on the Underground Railroad, and online exhibitions such as Clues to African-American Life at Manassas National Battlefield Park., There are also resources for finding African American ancestors who fought in the Civil War.

We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement - National Park Service

This travel itinerary covers 21 states and forty-one houses, schools, churches, and buildings, now in the National Register of Historic Places. You'll also find a reading list, Web resources, and more information on key events and people.

Underground Railroad Bike Route - Adventure Cycling Association

In association with the Center for Minority Health, the Adventure Cycling Association is developing this route. At their website you can learn more about the plans, and even take part in the discussion through their forums.

Time Travelers

Are you a member of your local museum or historical society? Check to see if they participate in the Time Travelers program, which can provide discounts and free admissions at other facilities in 46 states across the country.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines an HBCU as: "...any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation." This site provides links to 105 two and four-year private and public institutions, plus links to related commissions, boards and conferences.

National Underground Network to Freedom - Coordinated by the National Park Service

"The National Park Service is implementing a national Underground Railroad program to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories.

"The NPS project builds upon and is supported by community initiatives around the country as well as legislation passed in 1990 and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998. Historic places and educational or interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad will become part of a network, eligible to use or display a uniform network logo, receive technical assistance and participate in program work shops.

"The Network will also serve to facilitate communication and networking between researchers and interested parties, and aid in the development of statewide organizations for preserving and researching Underground Railroad sites."

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