LOS ANGELES -
The history of black Americans spans across the entire country. In almost every state there are historical monuments and cultural sites that represent black American struggles and successes.
In honor of Black History Month, here are spots in almost every state and the District of Columbia that are worth a visit:
Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station – It’s now the Freedom Rides Museum. The building used to be a Greyhound bus station until 1995. It was the site of a violent attack on Freedom Riders on May 20, 1961. A museum opened in 2011.
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site – This was built by Booker T. Washington and founded on July 4, 1881. It was a school for African Americans in the city of Tuskegee. Washington bought an abandoned farm, which was once a cotton plantation, and created the school.
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – A museum focused on George Washington Carver, a black scientist and educator most famously known for discovering different ways to use peanuts. Contrary to popular belief, he did not invent peanut butter, but did create more than 100 products derived from the peanut, including dyes, plastics and gasoline, according to Biography.com.
Fort Huachuca – This U.S. military fort housed black troops, or “Buffalo Soldiers,” from 1913 until 1933. Buffalo Soldiers were black service members in the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments who mainly served on the western frontier after the American Civil War, according to History.com.
Daisy Bates House – A National Historic Landmark, the Daisy Bates House was the de facto command post for Central High School during desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas. The home served as a safe space for nine black students who desegregated the school, according to the National Park Service. It was owned by Daisy Lee Gaston Bates and her husband Lucius Christopher Bates.
Bass Reeves Statue – Bass Reeves, who was born into slavery, is believed to be the first black U.S. deputy marshal west of the Mississippi, according to Fort Smith. A 25-foot statue honors the lawman at 200 Garrison Ave. in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park – This historic park in Earlimart, California, was created in August 1908. Col. Allen Allensworth and four other settlers founded the small town with the dream of developing a successful community for African Americans. The town reached that dream by 1910, but could not sustain it, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Park – On July 17, 1944, two ships being loaded with ammunition exploded, killing 320 men. Out of those men, 202 were African American, according to the National Park Service.
Austin F. Williams Carriagehouse and House – This location served as temporary living quarters for Africans on their way back to Africa as well as a waypoint on the Underground Railroad.Austin F. Williams and his wife Jennet Cowles Williams were abolitionists and offered to help a member of the Amistad Committee, a group founded in 1839 who raised funds for the legal defense and return voyages for liberated Africans. According to the National Park Service, Williams built the living quarters to help more people stay at the member’s home.
Howard High School – This was the only high school for black students in Delaware in the 1870s. The small school was built after the Civil War and Edwina B. Kruse became the first black principal, serving in the role until 1920.
District of Columbia
Frederick Douglass House – Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery, became a prominent abolitionist in the 1800s. The National Historic Site at Cedar Hill was his home from 1877 until he died in 1895.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial – This memorial is located in downtown Washington, D.C. and honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The site is outdoors and features the Stone of Hope, a giant granite statue of King with his quote, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
Howard Thurman House – Another National Park site, this was the childhood home of African American author and educator Howard Thurman. Thurman’s works inspired King and laid the groundwork for peaceful demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement.
Hurricane of 1928 African American Mass Grave – A hurricane struck South Florida in 1928, killing 674 people. Many of the people killed were African Americans, according to Blackpast.org, and they were primarily agricultural workers.
MLK Historic District – Visitors can travel back in time and see where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up. The district features his childhood home, a monument, world peace rose garden, fire station, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the tomb of King and his wife.
Behavior Cemetery – The cemetery is a post-Civil War African American burial ground, with the oldest tombstone dating back to 1890, according to Blackpast.org.
Robert S. Abbott House – This was the home of Robert S. Abott, one of the most successful black publishers and founder of the Chicago Defender Newspaper. The paper was primarily for black readers and gave African Americans a voice.
Chicago Bee building – This African-American newspaper was founded in 1926. This building housed the paper for a short time and remains mostly unaltered today. The city of Chicago bought the building in the 1980s and it’s now part of the Chicago Public Library service.
Burns United Methodist Church – Located in Des Moines, Iowa, it is one of the oldest historically black churches in the state. It still operates today. It was organized in 1866 as the Black Methodist Episcopal Church of Iowa and a name change happened later to honor Francis Burns, the first black bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, according to Blackpast.org.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site – This National Park site features two schools in Topeka, Kansas: Monroe Elementary School and Summer Elementary School. They were part of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The case led to the end of legal segregation in public schools.
Camp Nelson National Monument – Camp Nelson became a recruitment and training center for black soldiers during the Civil War and a refugee camp for their families, according to the National Park Service. Slaves in the area would escape and head to the camp with the hope of becoming free.
Lincoln Hall, Berea College – The college was founded in 1855 for black students. Lincoln Hall contained classrooms, a library, offices, labs, museum and meeting rooms, according to the National Park Service. It is also one of the oldest buildings on campus.
St. John Baptist Church – This historic church serves as one of the earliest spots for the black community in Dorseyville, Louisiana.
Carter Plantation House – The property dates back to 1804 and it was later sold to Thomas Freeman, a free black man. He was the first black person to own property in the area and between 1817 and 1820 built the Carter Plantation House. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House – Activist Harriet Beecher Stowe is known best for writing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Her home is located in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati.
Abyssinian Meeting House – Located in Portland, Maine, this historic home was built in the late 1820s and early 1830s by African Americans. It’s the state’s oldest black church and third oldest in the country. It also served as a segregated public school and meeting hall. Members included former slaves and leaders of the Underground Railroad as well as abolitionists.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument – This historic site takes visitors on a trip through Harriet Tubman’s life. Tubman is one of the most well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. The site features several locations significant to Tubman’s life and journey to the Underground Railroad.
The Hosanna School – The schoolhouse is located on a property that was owned by a free black man named Cupid Paca. He bought 50 acres of land in 1822 and after his death, it was divided among his children. One of his children sold a portion of the land to be used for a school.
Bunker Hill Monument – This statue commemorates those during the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, which included many black soldiers who fought alongside colonists.
W.E.B. DuBois Boyhood Homesite – W.E.B. Dubois, who founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), grew up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The property had been in his family for more than 200 years, according to the National Park Service. His home was later demolished, but the area is considered a historic site.
Second Baptist Church – A designated Michigan State Historic Site, the Second Baptist Church is the oldest black church in the Midwest.
Ossian Sweet House – The historic site is a home once owned by a black doctor named Ossian Sweet. A murder happened in the home, which was the result of members in the predominantly white neighborhood protesting Sweet and his family moving into the area. Sweet received a police escort into the home in 1925 and the following night, his white neighbors attacked the family, resulting in the death of one man. Sweet and his friends in the house were charged with first-degree murder. The NAACP provided the group representation. The trial ended in a mistrial and subsequent trials upheld the right for Sweet and his friends to protect his home and property in a dangerous situation.
St. Pilgrim Baptist Church – The church is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. This church was founded in 1863 and is the oldest black church in the state.
Tougaloo College – This historic site was a black college during the 1950s and 1960s. It was also the center of activity for the Civil Rights Movement in the state. Students on the campus led a “multi-year effort to end racial discrimination in the state’s capital city,” according to the National Park Service.
WROX building – The building was home to WROX, a radio station that served the black community in Clarksdale, Mississippi, from 1946 to 1954.
George Washington Carver National Monument – The monument honors George Washington Carver and is located in Diamond, Missouri.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Old Courthouse – This courthouse is where Dred Scott, one of the most famous slaves, filed a lawsuit to gain his freedom in 1847, according to History.com. The legal battle lasted a decade and ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Scott eventually won the case and was freed in 1857.
Malcom X House Site – A historic board marks the spot where civil rights activist Malcom X’s childhood home once stood. Malcom X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925.
T. Thomas Fortune House – The home, located in Red Bank, New Jersey, became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It served as the home for T. Thomas Fortune, a civil rights advocate and journalist. He lived in the residence with his family from 1901 to 1911.
Langston Hughes House – The African-American poet lived on the top floor of a brownstone row house in Harlem. He spent the last 20 years of his life in that home, according to NYCGO.com. The site offers poetry salons, workshops and a workspace for aspiring writers.
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center – The center features real-life stories of the abolitionists and people who fled slavery through the Underground Railroad.
F.W. Woolworth Building – The building, which is known as the Woolworth’s Five & Dime, is located in Greensboro, North Carolina. It served as the site for a famous sit-in on Feb. 1, 1960. That day four college freshmen took vacant seats in the store’s “white’s only” section of the lunch counter. The next day, the men returned with 19 supporters. By the end of the week, they had grown to about 400 people, which included black and white students from nearby colleges. Their sit-in led to many other similar demonstrations.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument – Col. Charles Young, a Buffalo Soldier, rose through the military ranks to become a respected leader. The monument chronicles his life and provides interactive maps that show prominent spots in Ohio that are part of Young’s history.OklahomaCalvary Baptist Church – This church is located in Oklahoma City and was built in 1921. It served as a religious center for the city’s black residents.
John Coltrane House – Renowned jazz musician John Coltrane moved to Philadelphia in 1943. Then in 1952, he bought a home on North 33 Street at the age of 26. He eventually left Philadelphia, but his mother stayed there until her death. It then went into the custody of his first cousin Mary in 1977. She sold it in 2004 with a request to preserve it as a historical site for Coltrane, according to the John Coltrane House organization.
Beale Street Historic District – The street is the birthplace of blues music and features historic restaurants, shops and nightclubs in Memphis.TexasFort Davis National Historic Landmark – According to Blackpast.org, Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at this location during the Indian Wars.
James River Plantations – There are five plantations along the James and Chickahominy Rivers in Charles City County, Virginia. Many of the slave quarters were restored.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site – Maggie Lena Walker was a civil rights advocate who pushed for better education and economic opportunities for African Americans and women. Her home is a preserved historic site.
African Zion Baptist Church – It is the oldest black church in West Virginia. It was founded in 1852.