If you know your history, then you would know where you’re coming from.
– Bob Marley, Buffalo Soilder
Black History Month or African American History month is a celebration of African American’s role in the U.S. Though most of it was done involuntarily, our blood sweat, tears, and lives literally build this country. Of course, there is more to Blacks in America than slavery and Jim Crow; we’re inventors, writers, award winners, record breakers, politicians, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, musicians and so much more.
I love learning about the history and culture through my travels, but there is nothing like learning something new about my own. If you’re generally interested in history, want to know more about blacks in America or want to share more about black history with a child in your life, here are ten museums within the United States focused on African American History.
African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to showcase the life and work of African Americans. In addition to sharing stories on how African Americans contributed to America’s founding, it includes a hands-on exhibit for children to explore the daily lives of children in Philadelphia during the slavery and reconstruction era. Visit AAMPmuseum.org for more information
National Civil Rights Museum
Located at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN, the National Civil Rights Museum is built around the site of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Permanent exhibits include topics on slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow events during the Civil Rights movement that leads to change within America. Learn more at CivilRightsMuseum.org
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Located in Kansas City, MO, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum showcases the story of the founding of the Negro Leagues Baseball during the times of segregation and features more than Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron. Take a tour to see artifacts, photos, and statues of Negro League players from the late 1800s to the 1960s. Learn more at NLBM.com.
The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
The National Voting Rights Museum is located in Selma, AL, a pivotal site in Voting Rights Movement. Located at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the museum includes exhibits that remind visitors, old and young the struggle people went through to obtain voting rights almost 100 years after the 15th Amendment, granting African American men the right to vote. For current visiting hours and costs, visit NVRMI.com.
New Orleans African American Museum
I really wish I knew about this when I visited New Orleans, but I guess it’s an excuse to go back. The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture, and History focuses on the cultural history of blacks within New Orleans, particularly in Tremé community. The museum is currently under construction, but you can visit NOAAM.org or their Facebook Page for updates on re-opening.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located in Cincinnati, OH and focuses on accomplishments of the men, women and children involved in the assistance of freeing thousands of slaves. It also includes awareness of modern-day slavery and human trafficking within America. For more information about special and permanent exhibits, visit Freedomcenter.org
National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
Located in Baltimore, MD, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum was the first wax museum of African American history in the United States. It displays exhibits we all know and learn of in school, but also includes little-known facts, encouraging visitors to gain an interest in African American history. Learn more at Greatblacksinwax.org
Northwest African American Museum
The Northwest African American Museum’s mission is to “…spread knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the histories, arts and cultures of people of African descent for the enrichment of all.” Located in Seattle Washington, the museum features programs and exhibits of African Americans within the Northwest through the arts and writing. Learn more at NAAMNW.org
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Located in midtown Detroit, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. The museum was founded as a guide to educate visitors the achievements of African Americans throughout the years and overall celebration of black culture. For more information, visit TheWright.org
National Museum of African American History and Culture
I’ve been waiting for the National Museum of African American History and Culture to open its doors. The Smithsonian Museum plans to open in Fall 2016. The focus is to celebrate the diversity of African Americans and our contributions made to build the nation. The National Museum of American History is currently hosting an exhibit Through the African American Lens giving us insight from individuals from the Revolution to modern day. Visit NMAAHC.SI.edu to find out the exact opening date and future exhibits.
This post has done so well, I’ve added some more museums based on feedback from travel groups and it in Huffington Post. Read 10 MORE Museums in the U.S. Focused on African American History.