This February, to celebrate Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen destinations for Black history and culture to bookmark for future travel. From Memphis to Birmingham, we’ve rounded up important monuments, museums, and significant sites of memory and perseverance across the country.
In spite of a painful past, Black America is filled with a rich culture, marked by monumental achievements, and boasts a remarkable history. Educating ourselves about this, having meaningful conversations with family and friends, and intentionally interacting with diverse groups are just a few ways one can continue the lifelong journey of being an ally. Find Yelp’s guide to cultural and educational resources for allyship here.
Birmingham Civil Rights Museum (Birmingham, AL)
Birmingham Civil Rights Museum (BRCI) looks at the history of the Civil Rights movement in the south including the a rendition of a segregated city in the 1950s, as well as examine a replica of a Freedom Riders bus and even the actual jail cell door from behind which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” BRCI serves as a connection to the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, a collection of sites important to the Civil Rights Movement.
Backstreet Cultural Museum (New Orleans, LA)
“If you have any curiosity about Mardi Gras Indians, Jazz funerals, second lines or Krewe of Zulu, this is the place to go. The setting is a humble house, which used to be a funeral home, in the Treme. Sylvester is the curator of many fine Indian costumes, photos and ephemera, all of which have been donated to him by friends and locals.” – Yelp Elite, Miriam B.
Motown Historical Museum (Detroit, MI)
“When visitors are in town this is my #1 recommendation for a must see in the D! It is small and it won’t take you long to go through … but it is such an amazing piece of history, Detroit history. The tour guides are fabulous – their knowledge and enthusiasm really add to the overall experience. Be ready to sing, clap and dance your way through this little house on the boulevard.” -Yelper Kristin C.
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (Houston, TX)
Part of the museum’s mission is to create fun and educational programs that engage the entire family and teach the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, educate the public on contributions of African American military personnel, and better the community.
The African American Museum (Philadelphia, PA)
The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans.
National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN)
The National Civil Rights Museum exhibits show the history of the civil rights movement in the United States from the 17th century to today; the museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel, which was the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
National Museum of African American History and Culture (Washington DC)
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans.
California African American Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
California African American Museum offers five spacious galleries and a permanent collection of 4,000 objects that span landscape painting and portraiture, modern and contemporary art, historical objects and print materials, and mixed-media artworks.
Madam Walker Legacy Center (Indianapolis, IN)
This preserved building/theater was once the headquarters and manufacturing plant of Madam CJ Walker Hair Care and Beauty Products, a business started by Black woman who became the nation’s first self-made woman millionaire. (Netflix just made a series called “Self Made” about her!)
The Rolling Rooster – Victory Grill (Austin, TX)
Home of the old Victory Grill: Established in 1945 to accommodate African Americans and especially servicemen who couldn’t go to other segregated clubs, it became a stop on the “Chitlin Circuit,” a network of Southern clubs
that gave Black performers access to venues during segregation.
International Civil Rights Center & Museum (Greensboro, NC)
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC is the site of the first sit-in at F. W. Woolworth’s on February 1, 1960, this sit-in inspired the non-violent sit-in movement across the country.
It’s All Good Bakery (Oakland, CA)
The building was the first headquarters for the Black Panther Party. This current owner of It’s All Good Bakery recalls when he was a child the Black Panther Party sponsored the “Free Breakfast Program” which he and his brothers and sisters participated. The Black Panther Party was known in Oakland to always give back to the community.
Mother Emanuel AME Church (Charleston, SC)
Mother Emanuel is one of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Churches in the nation carrying a history back to 1816. More recently it has been known as the site of the terrible tragedy in 2015 where the AME 9 shooting took place.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, OH)
At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, visitors can take a deep dive into rock’s important connections to many legendary Black artists, explore the city’s music history, and learn about the lives and careers of Cleveland born-and-bred musicians.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park (Church Creek, MD)
Opened in 2017, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center serves as an orientation center and gateway to the larger Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway. The visitor center offers exhibits, a film and staff to offer further information and guidance to visit other sites along the byway.
Supporting local businesses has always been core to the mission of Yelp and of the millions of amazing businesses, there are also so many that are Black-owned. To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of highly rated and popular Black-owned businesses on our platform: Black-owned Businesses to Watch in 2021. Our hope is that you’ll discover new local favorites to support.