Americans celebrate black history every February while in the UK, the month of October has been set aside for that purpose.
Essentially, both periods commemorate the achievements, history and contributions of black people with various activities, including talk shows, food festivals, among others.
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But you will agree with me that a month is not long enough to highlight the tremendous achievements and struggles of black people, especially when black people were hitherto seen as objects of shame and were given poor treatment.
At the moment, scholars and historians in America continue to research, teach and preserve the history and culture of black people but it wouldn’t be bad to have a first-hand experience of these moments in history.
So, if you want to learn more about African-American life and history, from its museums to powerful figures to historical sites, then these destinations should be your best bet.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture
Established by Act of Congress in 2003, it is the “only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.” The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
It has so far collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. “It provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions,” the museum says on its website.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
Opened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2014, the centre focuses on both permanent and temporary exhibitions which tell the history of the civil rights movement in the United States.
With a permanent collection that contains the personal artifacts and papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., the centre says: “Our purpose is to create a safe space for visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings so that they leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities.”
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Established in 1965 in Detroit, this museum holds the world’s largest permanent collection of African-American culture.
Apart from the cultural and historic sites to see, this museum has more than 35,000 artifacts, including permanent collections about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Established in 1990, the Museum, located in Kansas City, Missouri preserves and celebrates the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.
It particularly looks at the struggles and achievements of African-American baseball players from the late 1800s to the 1960s.
Harriet Tubman Historical Park
The Park, located in Auburn, New York, preserves scores of important sites associated with the Underground Railroad conductor. At a visit to the site, you can take a tour of her former home and the church she attended, as well as, her gravesite.
National Civil Rights Museum
It is located in Memphis and housed in part in the Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. It also includes the boarding house from which his assassin, James Earl Ray, fired the shot.
At a visit to the site, you will find the room where King spent his final hours after his assassination. There are also audio recordings giving firsthand accounts of slavery and the periods of Jim Crow.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum
Serving at a time when the American Army was segregated, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American aviators in America.
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan, highlights the achievements of the airmen, particularly, the role they played in desegregating the military.