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Black Heritage Travel: Mid-Atlantic United States - Maryland
"Been There!" = Personal notes about places I've visited.

 Delaware Maryland Virginia  Washington D.C.  Home

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.

Annapolis - African American Heritage: City of Annapolis Visitor Information

An online guide to monuments, historic homes and districts.

Annapolis - African American Heritage Self-paced Audio Tour: Historic Annapolis Foundation

African Americans, slave and free, have been part of the city's rich tapestry since pre-Revolutionary days. Explore historic Annapolis through their eyes. See how and where they lived and worked, and appreciate the contributions they made.

Annapolis - African American History Tour : Annapolis Tours

This 2 hour tour explores the African-American culture and history in Annapolis.

Annapolis - Banneker-Douglass Museum

The Banneker-Douglass Museum, named for Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, is dedicated to preserving Maryland's African American heritage, and serves as the state's official repository of African American material culture. The museum annually sponsors and hosts a variety of preservation, arts, and cultural lectures, workshops, performances, and other programs. Expanded in 2006, the entire second floor now houses the permanent exhibit, Deep Roots, Rising Waters: A History of African Americans in Maryland, an overview of African-American history in Maryland from 1633 to late in the Civil Rights Movement.

Annapolis - Frederick Douglas Museum and Cultural Center/ Highland Beach Historical Commission, 3200 Wayman Ave, Annapolis, MD 21403. (410) 268-2956 or (410) 267-6760

The museum is the restored summer home of Frederick Douglas. Originally planned as an exclusive vacation destination for African-American families, Highland Beach developed into the first incorporated African-American township in Maryland. Read more about it.

Annapolis - Maynard-Burgess House (2006 Closed for restoration)

Located directly across from City Hall at 162 Duke of Gloucester Street, the house was developed in 1847 by John Maynard, a free black born in Maryland in about 1811. The home interprets the lives of two African American families. As of 2006 it was closed for restoration, with no projected reopening date. For contact information, visit Four Rivers Heritage Partners.

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.

Baltimore - Afro-American Newspapers

Founded in 1892 by John H. Murphy, Sr., a former slave, the Afro is the longest running, family-owned, African American newspaper in the nation. It became a voice for civil rights in the 1950s and '60s. Today, it continues to provide the latest on news and current events from an African American perspective. Tours by appointment.

Baltimore - National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

Started in 1980 with four wax figures, according to the founders the motivation for this museum has always been to "use education, history, and example to help mainly culturally disadvantaged youth overcome feelings of alienation, defeatism, and despair" Over the years, it has grown to more than 100 wax figures and scenes, a full model slave ship exhibit telling the powerful 400 year history of the Atlantic Slave Trade, a compelling exhibit on the role of youth in making history, a Maryland room highlighting the contributions of outstanding Marylanders to African American history, a gift shop, and a mini auditorium for lectures, films, and dramatic presentations. The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million dollaar renovation which will create additional gallery space, a multimedia theater, and other amenties to accomodate its nearly 300,000 annual visitors.

Baltimore - Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture

In 1998, the state legislature provided $30 million toward the construction of the museum, as well as 50 percent of the museum's long-term operating budget. The museum held its grand opening in June of 2005. In addition, the museum has also been named a Smithsonian Affiliate, providing access to priceless collections, programs, membership and other benefits. The website provides information about permanent and temporary exhibitions, events and programs, membership and volunteer opportunities, visitor information and more.

Baltimore - African American Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch

The African American Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library offers a comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary materials relating to African Americans worldwide, with a special emphasis on Maryland. Researchers and readers can gain access to the treasures of the Eddie and Sylvia Brown African American Collection, in the Juanita C. Burns Reading Room of the Pratt Central Library Annex. Through the website, you can access knowledgeable staff members who provide reference service by telephone and by e-mail.

Baltimore - Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center

The Cultural Center promotes the unique history and continuing legacy of African-American art and culture in the city of Baltimore through exhibits, programming and educational activities. But its mission is also to supply low and moderate income residents the opportunity to participate in the arts and culture, and to extend to young people the possibility of participating in and learning the discipline of the arts. The website features a history of the Center, a calendar of events, information about personnel, faculty, and friends, a Baltimore Jazz "Hall of Fame," a music trivia game, current press releases and links for further research.

Baltimore - Frederick Douglass - Isaac Myers Maritime Park c/o National Historic Seaport of Baltimore (Scheduled to open in 2006)

"The Frederick Douglass - Isaac Myers Maritime Park is slated to open in late Spring 2006. The Park will be the Living Classrooms' newest laboratory of learning and will celebrate Maryland's African American maritime and shipbuilding history. The project, honoring the entrepreneurial spirit and lives of Frederick Douglass and Isaac Myers, represents the successful preservation of one of the city's most historic waterfront properties. The Park will also be a wonderful transformation of the gateway to Fell's Point into a center for learning and cultural tourism. When completed, the Park will serve as new and expanded space for the Crossroads Middle School, the Living Classrooms charter school, which is challenging and enriching East Baltimore youths through its unique and comprehensive hands-on learning curriculum."

Baltimore - Maryland Historical Society

The museum features paintings by Joshua Johnson, and hosts the definitive collection of jazz-pioneer Eubie Blake, most of which have been digitized and is available on the web, including sheet music, programs, correspondance, photos, audio clips and more. The website provides information about past, current and future exhibitions, events, visitor information and more.

Baltimore - NAACP National Headquarters

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its national headquarters, which moved to Baltimore in 1986, features national civil rights archives and a memorial garden named for writer Dorothy Parker. Tours are available by reservation.

Baltimore - Hampton National Historic Site

The site offers an exceptional look at a nineteenth century slave estate, and visitors can see the standing slave quarters. As of March 2006, the mansion is closed for renovation, but the park itself is still open to visitors. Learn more about Slavery at Hampton.

Baltimore County (Oella) - Banneker Historical Park and Museum

The 142-acre Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum of Oella dates back to the 17th century. park is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Benjamin Bannaker, who achieved national notoriety as the first African American Man of Science. He was a self-taught mathematician and astronomer. It was from this site that Banneker crafted one of the first all-American-made wooden clocks and wrote his almanacs and famous correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. In 1791, Banneker was assigned to the Pierre L'Enfant team to survey for the new federal city, Washington D.C.

The Banneker Historical Park and Museum preserves the cultural and natural history of the colonial era by offering special programs in colonial history and extensive environmental conservation, particularly for American native plants.

Within the site can be found many trails, including conservation paths and the historic No. 9 Trolley Line Trail. The museum presents changing exhibitions in history, art, culture, and science, and a constant one on the life of Benjamin Banneker. In addition to the museum, the park also features a newly restored 19th century farmhouse.

Brookeville - Oakley Cabin

Built in the early 1800's, it was likely home to slaves from the Oakley/Dorsey farm and later to free black families. Through special events, educational programs and tours, the site provides hands-on experiences for visitors and researchers. You can get more information for a visit at the website.

Cambridge/Dorchester County - Finding a Way to Freedom Tour : Tour Dorchester County

Cambridge is the birthplace of Harriet Tubman. There are commemorative markers and sites throughout the county. This 105-mile driving tour guides you to exhibits, homes, sites, meeting houses, mills and courthouses that illustrate the story of the Underground Railroad in Dorchester and Caroline counties during the 1850s. The guide is available upon request from the website, or you can pick one up at the Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park.

Columbia/Howard County - African American Heritage Tour Brochure: 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.

Columbia - Howard County Center of African-American Culture, 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, MD 21044-2624 (410) 715-1921

The Center features rotating exhibits that preserve the history of African-American culture in Maryland. Call for further information about hours and visiting.

Drayden - African American Schoolhouse

The Drayden African-American Schoolhouse is located on its original site on Cherryfield Road in Drayden, Maryland. Initial plans for this site have focused on immediate restoration and preservation of the building and clearing the environs of trees and brush that had become overgrown. The second phase of this project lies in the approach to interpretation of the site, the acquisition of pertinent collections, and accessibility to the public through pre-arranged tours by the Museum Division. This site is not open to the public at this time unless arrangement is made with the Education Curator of the Museum Division (Christina Clagett, 301-769-2222 X 304).

Glenn Dale - Dorsey Chapel

Dorsey Chapel was built in 1900 to serve the black farming community of Brookland, and was in continuous use until 1971. The Chapel is being interpreted as an historical and cultural landmark in the African American history of Prince George's County. Take an online photo tour or get visitor information and historical background at the website.

Hagerstown - Doleman Black History Museum 540 N. Locust St. Hagerstown 21740 (301) 739-8185 OPEN BY APPOINTMENT

Collection of black history artifacts and books; complete history of blacks in Washington County; dolls, souvenir buttons, WWII memorabilia.

Hagerstown - Miller House/Washington County Historical Society

This early nineteenth-century brick townhouse built in 1818 and 1825 features a Civil War room, C&O Canal room and an extensive local research library devoted to African-American experiences.

Hollywood - Sotterley Plantation

The Plantation was site of one of the largest communities of enslaved African-Americans in the Southern Maryland region. The plantation retains an 1830s slave cabin that exemplifies typical slave housing in the Tidewater region. The history of slavery at Sotterley is told through the cabin and related artifacts, as well as through the story of the Kane family that lived on the plantation. You'll find visitor information, educational programs, and a photo tour at the website.

La Plata - African American Heritage Society Museum

Depicts the life and history of African-American who lived in Charles County, and the contributions of African-American citizens of Southern Maryland from 1658 to the present. Collections include objects and artifacts used by local residents, as well as some documents related to enslaved persons and their life in Charles County during the period of slavery.

Lake Arbor - Northampton Slave Quarters

For nearly three centuries Northampton was a tobacco plantation which also produced other crops. Today the physical remains of the plantation include the ruins of the manor house, its outbuildings and roads, and the remains of two slave quarters. The latter are the focus of current archaeological excavations and historical research. You'll find a photo tour, history and visitor information at the website.

Pocomoke City - Sturgis One Room School House Museum

The only African American One Room School in Worcester County retaining its original integrity . It is a small structure built about 100 years ago on Brantley Road on land that was purchased by William Sturgis in 1888. It operated as a school for 37 years, closing its doors in 1937. It currently serves as a museum.

Roanoke - The Virginia Museum of Transportation

Located in Roanoke's historic freight station, the Museum is the official transportation museum for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Celebrating Roanoke's rich rail heritage, the Museum exhibits diesel, electric and steam locomotives including the 611 steam locomotive, a National Mechanical Engineering landmark, and the A-1218, known as "The Mercedes of Steam." The Museum houses antique automobiles, trucks, carriages, model train exhibits. Ongoing exhibit: African American Heritage on the Norfolk & Western Railroad, 1930-1970

St Leonard - Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum

A state history and archaeology museum exploring the changing cultures and environment of the Chesapeake Bay region of the past 12,000 years. Exhibits include Sukeek's Cabin Site, representing a previously enslaved family's first home as free people after the Civil War. Nature trails. Site of annual African-American Family Community Day in July. Maryland Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.

St Mary's City - Historic St Mary's

A monument to Mathias de Sousa, the first Marylander of African descent, stands at Historic St. Mary's City, the state's Colonial capital that now serves as an outdoor living history museum. Museum exhibits provide information on de Sousa and Africans in 17th-century Maryland. The website provides information about events, tours, history and more.

Sandy Spring - Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery

Among the exhibits on this 1 acre site are an actual slave cabin, and a cross-section of a full-size slaving clipper ship. Tours are available by appointment.

Upper Marlboro - Darnall's Chance

Darnall's Chance House Museum is dedicated to the interpretation and study of the history and culture of 18th century Prince George's County, and strives to accurately reflect the African-American community on the site. The website provides historical information, maps, visitor resources and more.

Scotland - Point Lookout State Park Museum

After the Battle of Gettysburg, Union authorities started sending Confederate prisoners to Point Lookout for incarceration. Among the Federal Army units to rotate from the front to serve as guards at Point Lookout were African-American soldiers of the U.S.C.T. Regiments (United States Colored Troops). In addition to the museum and special events, the park ranger offers a first person portrayal of Civil War Medal of Honor Winner Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood of the 4th U.S. Colored Troops.

 

Additional Resources

Virginia Landmarks of Black History: Sites on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places . Calder Loth, Editor. University Press of Virginia, 1995. Order at Amazon.com

The sixty-four sites described in this book are a testament to the contribution African Americans have made to Virginia history over the last four centuries. They include Virginia's three most important surviving slave quarter complexes, the site of Nat Turner's rebellion, and the birthplace of Booker T. Washington, as well as Monticello and Mount Vernon, both largely built by African-American hands.

African American Heritage Trail Cultural Tourism DC

Free guide to information about over 200 important African American history sites in D.C. The sites are divided according to 19 neighborhoods. You can pick up the guide free at the various locations listed, or order one ($5 included shipping and handling) from the website.

Guide to Black Washington: Places and Events of Historic and Cultural Significance in the Nation's Capital. (Revised Edition) Sandra Fitzpatrick, Maria R. Goodwin. Hippocrene Books, 2001. Order at Amazon.com

This revised and updated edition of the popular guide includes new maps, entries and places of interest, with details about over 150 sites and institutions that have shaped black history and traditions, both in the nation's capital and throughout the country. Paperback 240 pages 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 W. 16 pages b/w photos.

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 (and out of date) but still useful and available cheap 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. This book is out of print (and out of date) but still useful and available through used booksellers at Amazon.com.

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.

 

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