Where to go (in the Americas) to learn about Black History?
It is possible to learn about Black history in a variety of fascinating locations all over the world. From inspiring museums to cultural hot spots and historical sites, there is no shortage of incredible destinations to visit and gain a deeper insight into the stories of our ancestors.
Where do I start to learn about Black history?
Visiting these 15 incredible destinations can help you explore, learn, and appreciate the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to Black history. Here are several places across North and South America that are an exciting way to explore and appreciate African American heritage.
Black history in Canada is long and varied. During the 1800s, the war caused the establishment of multiple African American communities. Further, around 30,000 African Americans escaped enslavement through the underground railroad to freedom in Canada with the help of abolitionists.
In 1996, the government of Canada initiated an annual Black History Month celebration to promote knowledge about this history.
Chatham, Ontario (Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, Buxton National Historic Site)
Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site and Buxton National Historic Site in Chatham, Ontario, offer a unique experience by providing insight into the history of the Underground Railroad and Dawn Settlements. These places are an important reminder of the struggles and triumphs of those who fought for freedom from slavery.
Nova Scotia (Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, Africville Museum)
The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Nova Scotia offers a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about Black history and explore Mi'kmaw heritage on Unama'ki in Cape Breton Island. The Parks Canada Guided Tours app provides visitors with valuable information and enhanced experiences to further their understanding of the 18th century period.
Take a journey to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, where you can explore the history of the world's largest free African population outside of Africa in the late 18th century. Visit historic buildings and the National Monument commemorating their arrival at Birchtown. Embrace a sense of peace and belonging as you visit this two-acre property overlooking Shelburne Harbour — walking in the footsteps of our ancestors.
Then there's the Africville Museum, where you will learn about "the story of a community that met the indignities of racism with grace and faith."
Ontario (St. Lawrence Hall)
St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto is the site of a historic event, the North American Convention of Coloured Freemen, which was a pivotal meeting discussing how to end slavery worldwide.
Abolitionist leaders from Canada, the US, and Britain gathered here in 1851 to make it a significant historical moment and set Canada as a safe refuge for those fleeing slavery.
From the homesteads of Frederick Douglass to the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, there are many ways to learn about African American history in the United States.
Explore Black history by visiting these inspiring historical locations and learning more about influential figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Louisiana (Congo Square, Le Museé de f.p.c)
Louisiana is a special place to learn about Black history. Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park represents a sacred place of traditional music, dance, spiritual rituals, and resistance against oppression.
Similarly, Le Museé de f.p.c. showcases the stories of free people of colour who have been part of New Orleans' life since 1722 and have helped honour their contributions to activism, art, education, and business.
Mississippi (Delta Blues Museum, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Mississippi History)
Mississippi has a long history of Black oppression and is an important place to learn about African American history and culture. Places like the Delta Blues Museum has memorabilia and artifacts from blues legend Muddy Waters.
Witness the impact of Black Mississippians' struggles for equality at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the interactive galleries of the Museum of Mississippi History, which encircle "This Little Light of Mine" — a dramatic sculpture that glows brightly with the music of the movement.
Virginia (First Landing State Park, Fort Monroe, The Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Black History Museum and Cultural Center, African American Heritage Park, Booker T. Washington National Monument)
Virginia has long been home to the United States' oldest and richest experience of Black life and culture. From First Landing State Park, where English colonists first landed in 1607, to Booker T. Washington National Monument, there are many inspiring places in Virginia to learn about Black history.
Uncover the long arc of freedom for generations of African Americans at Fort Monroe. You can explore the Casemate Museum and Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center, dubbed "Freedom's Fortress" for protecting runaway Black people during the Civil War, to learn more about the origins and endpoints of slavery.
The Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will teach you about an African family who lived in Jamestown. At the same time, the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar reveals perspectives from Union, Confederate, and African American participants.
The Black History Museum and Cultural Center celebrates the various cultures that have been a part of Black life in Virginia. In addition, Alexandria-based African American Heritage Park pays tribute to those who contributed to its growth through a bronze sculpture group titled "Truths that Rise from the Roots Remembered."
Booker T. Washington National Monument is emblematic of a slave child's emancipation story and his many accomplishments. By exploring these sites across Virginia, one can learn more about Black history and take away invaluable lessons from them.
Yanga, Veracruz is a significant historical place in Mexico for learning more about Black history. Led by the Cimarrón leader Gaspar Yanga in 1570, a palenque was built where formerly enslaved Africans could find freedom. In 1631, this community was declared San Lorenzo de los Negros by viceroy Rodrigo Pacheco. It is a place of resistance and liberation with deep cultural significance.
Mariona Cultural Center
Jamaica's culture and identity have a long history, tracing back to the early 20th century through the Rastafari-Reggae nexus. The Mariona Cultural Center is an excellent place to explore this proud African heritage and understand the nation's status as a "conscious" Black nation. The story of Jamaica's Maroons is one of courage and struggle against oppression and injustice during the First Maroon War. They fought relentlessly and won against British forces to protect their villages and freedom.
Livingston is a primarily Black Carib (Garifuna) maritime community in Guatemala that is home to descendants of escaped or shipwrecked Black Africans. In 1797, approximately 2,000 Black Caribs were forcibly deported by the British and spread into Guatemala, Honduras, and British Honduras (Belize), creating small horticultural and fishing villages.
The region of Colombia known as Choco offers a unique and fascinating exploration. Here, centuries-old African heritage is evident in the Afro-descendant communities that have taken root in a tropical forest fraught with danger. You will also find detailed records that provide a glimpse into the story of enslaved Africans and their descendants throughout the Americas — a story that is largely overlooked but is critical to understanding collective Black history.
Museu Afro Brasil, Valongo Wharf, Salvador
Museu Afro Brasil, Valongo Wharf in Brazil is a pivotal destination to learn about Black history as the area hosted more enslaved Africans than any other port on earth between 1500 and 1856. Salvador, the capital of Bahia province, is also renowned for its Afro-Heritage tourism, where visitors can explore and discover African influences throughout the region.
Kura Hulanda Museum, Tula Monument
Curacao offers a glimpse into its African roots and the history of the slave trade through landmarks such as the Kura Hulanda Museum and Tula Monument.
The Samaná Americans of the Dominican Republic are descendants of African American freed people who began immigrating in 1824. Over 80 percent of the population is of African American descent, and 8,000 speak the English of their ancestors. This community offers a unique opportunity to learn about Black history and its global influence.
We all need to become more proficient in Black history — and world history for that matter — and learn about people and places you have never heard about before. These stories have been intentionally left out of educational curriculum and it is our job to seek them out.
Visit one of our Tough Convos sessions or connect with us to set up an educational experience for your team. Learn more about past work and current efforts by attending one of our events and getting started on the path to true understanding.