Whether you’re planning a road trip or a flight to visit your kin in the North, South, East or West, we’re sure there are some interesting locales worth a stop along the way. Check out our list and visit us on Facebook and post pictures of your trips! national Museum of african american history & Culture (Washington, dC) www.nmaahc.si.edu/ Since its doors opened last fall, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture’s admission has been at a premium. You can order advance tickets online, but considering they sell out virtually as soon as they’re released, months in advance, you’d more than likely be planning a fall trip (in May, the tickets were already being released for August). Still, there’s hope! The museum offers a same-day ticketing option online and walk-up passes on weekdays. It’s a challenge, but entry into the nation’s first “official” national museum of black culture, featuring more than 36,000 artifacts, is well worth the wait. Admission: Free great Blacks in Wax Museum (Baltimore) www.greatblacksinwax.org Museums usually feature actual artifacts and pieces of culture and history so that visitors connect with a certain time or event.
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The School’s out for summer. Yeah! We all know that the warmer months are for sunshine, relaxing, and vacations, but as lifelong learners, we never truly stop growing and developing. Add something more to your seasonal getaway with visits to some famous, new and little-known locations that will bring history to life with fun and fact-finding experiences that will make memories of a lifetime for your crew. BY E. MoniquE JohnSon Great Blacks in Wax Museum recreates scenes and likenesses of notable African Americans for a unique experience that will put you up close and personal with history. The organization boasts more than 30 years of experience and the pleasure of being not only the first wax museum in Baltimore but also the first wax museum of black history and culture in the nation. Admission: $15 Gullah Geechee Tours (Charleston) www.charlestoncvb.com Any visit to the gorgeous city of Charleston is worth it on its own, but add the bonus of experiencing one of the most interesting cultural perspectives in the country, and it becomes much more. Many companies offer a glimpse of Gullah culture (just search for “African-American tours” on their website), but one thing’s for sure: you’ll be intrigued by the colorful, vibrant and utterly unique exposure to this slice of American life. Admission: Varies Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (Atlanta) www.nps.gov/malu/index.htm He was one of the most prolific figures in U.S. history and beloved by many around the world.
That’s why a visit to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Martin Luther King National Historic site and the King Center in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District. The historic site consists of several elements, including the King Center (www.thekingcenter.com), where Dr. King is buried, his birth home, the National Park Services’ visitors’ center and more. Admission: Free Freedom Rides Museum (Montgomery, Ala.) www.freedomridesmuseum.org A former Greyhound station is now home to the museum that commemorates the work of the Freedom Riders—nonviolent, racially diverse bus riders who protested segregation by riding through the southern United States in integrated groups. Visitors can listen to the stories of Freedom Riders or record their own. Admission: $5 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham) www.bcri.org This museum was one of the first in the nation to preserve and commemorate the history of the modern civil rights movement and is housed across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four girls were killed in the infamous church bombing of the 1960s. Admission: $15 Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site (Tuskegee, Ala.) Learners will love exploring the lasting legacy of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver at the Tuskegee Institute Historical Site. Home to one of the nation’s most established historically black colleges and university, the site includes Washington’s home and a museum of Carver’s inventions. Admission: Free National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis) www.civilrightsmuseum.org This museum is built around the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, and also includes the boarding house from which his assassin, James Earl Ray, fired the shot.
Talk about stepping into history. And when you’re done experiencing the intense energy visitors described at the hotel, visit the legendary Beale St. to enjoy the birthplace of the blues. Admission: $15 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, Mo.) http://www.nlbm.com/ and www.americanjazzmuseum.org Sports and music lovers can indulge in the collections at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum. Explore the role the Negro League played in communities and discover the roots and legends of jazz. Admission: $10 Motown Historical Museum (Detroit) www.motownmuseum.org In 1959, Berry Gordy changed the landscape of the American music scene, and his contributions, as well as those of his legendary artists, are all detailed in the Motown Museum in Detroit. Stand in the actual studio where many classics were recorded or take a walk down memory lane with the extensive collection of Motown artifacts and pictures. Admission: $15 Idlewild (Idlewild, Mich.) www.iaacc.com About 200 miles northwest of Detroit is a tiny resort town called Idlewild, which was one of the nation’s most famous black resort communities. Dubbed the “Black Eden,” it attracted thousands of sun lovers for summertime rest and relaxation. The area, in the heart of the Manistee National Forest and a half hour from the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches of Ludington, is revitalized and offers sun, sand and cultural potency. Admission: n/a Hinchliffe Stadium (Paterson, N.J.) www.hinchliffestadium.org Home of the New York Black Yankees, this stadium is one of the last surviving stadiums from baseball’s segregated period.
Though it is not currently open to the public, this standing monument to a bygone era is a reminder of some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game. What true sports lover could resist seeing history come alive? The stadium was owned/operated by Paterson Public School until 1996, when it closed. There is a preservation and restabilization campaign in the works that recently secured more than $500k in funding toward the goal. Admission: n/a The Apollo Theater www.apollotheater.org Whether you’re old enough to actually have attended an original Showtime at the Apollo show or just a fan of the rebooted televised version that introduced a whole new generation to the swift—and sometimes brutal—“sink or swim” verdicts of the live audience, you still know what the iconic theatre represents. The Apollo was the crown jewel of performance venues for artists of color back in the day, and anyone who was anyone has graced its stage. The historic music hall has an overflow of memories to share in the way of stories, images and the very materials it’s built with. Scheduled tours are available on the weekdays and weekends. Admission: $16-18 African American Firefighter Museum (Los Angeles) http://www.aaffmuseum.org/ The first and possibly only African American firefighter museum in the United States, this west-coast gem features pictures, artifacts and memorabilia of African American firefighters from LA and around the country. Plus, there is a memorial tribute to the firefighters that perished during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Admission: Free (10 or fewer).
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