In the first episode of this series, we explored the home of the civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta, Georgia; the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis Tennessee; the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC; the African Burial Ground National Monument, in Manhattan, New York; and Beale Street, in Memphis, Tennessee. To conclude the series, we highlight five more locations in the United States that promote the history, culture, and contributions of black people.
See 5 more locations in the US that promote black culture…
#1. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta, Georgia)
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a museum and human rights organization with a mission to inspire people to tap their own power to change their world. The Center opened in 2014 and hosts exhibitions, conversations, lectures, book talks, performances, and education/training programs. Its iconic exhibitions include the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the history of the civil rights movement in the US.
It has themed galleries with corresponding displays. For instance, the global human rights gallery, themed “Spark of Conviction,” features full-bodied portraits of human rights icons in lightboxes. In “Rolls Down Like Water,” a wall lists the US civil rights legislation passed since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Center also provides training on human rights for law enforcement officials, in addition to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) experiences for workplaces.
#2. Birthplace of Dr. Booker T. Washington (Virginia)
The Booker T. Washington National Monument serves as a place to visit to ponder and reflect on a time in American history when black people were under slavery, especially the period of the American civil war, which affected millions of people, both free and enslaved. It provides a context to the life of the eminent Booker T. Washington, who emerged from a life of slavery and poverty to become a noted educator, orator, author, advisor to US presidents, a force behind Tuskegee Institute, and one of the most influential African Americans of his era.
#3. The Lewis Latimer House Museum (Queens, New York)
The Lewis Latimer House Museum is a Queen Anne-style, wood-frame house built between 1887 and 1889 and in which the notable African-American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928) lived from 1903 until his death in 1928. Latimer, a son of former Virginian slaves, taught himself mechanical drawing while in the Union Navy and rose to become a chief draftsman and inventor. He worked with three eminent inventors of his time – Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Hiram S. Maxim.
Latimer played an important role in the development of the telephone and made contributions to carbon filament production and the commercialization of the incandescent light bulb. He also had an artistic side and produced work in creative writing, visual art, and music. The scientific and artistic legacies of this versatile African American inventor, and those of other innovators of color, are memorialized in the Lewis Latimer House Museum.
#4. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem, New York)
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is among the New York Public Library’s renowned research libraries and is devoted to research, preservation, and exhibition of materials on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. The center was founded by Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938), widely regarded as one of the key figures of the Harlem Renaissance of the early 20th century, and recognized for his vast collection of books, manuscripts, artworks, and more that document Black and Hispanic people in the African Diaspora.
Now the center has lots more to feed our imagination. It also runs an annual literary festival, the Annual Schomburg Literary Festival, which hosts black authors, writers, and leaders of thought, and promotes conversations around black culture. The center also hosts and promotes art exhibitions by black artists. The Schomburg Shop is stocked with books on black culture and mugs or souvenirs celebrating black culture and black icons.
#5. The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center (Chicago, Illinois)
No list of the locations that promote black culture is complete without this. The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center enjoys a special position as America’s oldest independent African American museum. It was established in 1960 by Margaret Taylor Burroughs, an artist, activist, writer, and educator, in collaboration with like-minded colleagues.
Named after the Haitian-born founder of Chicago, Jean-Baptise Pointe DuSable, the museum holds more than 15,000 pieces of paintings, sculptures, print works, and memorabilia of historical value. The DuSable is a place of connections; a place where tough conversations can lead to accountability and reconciliation; and a place to make good history. The DuSable should definitely be on your list to visit when in Chicago.
See 5 more locations on Part I Of 10 Locations In The US That Celebrate And Promote Black Culture
10 Locations In The US That Celebrate And Promote Black Culture – Part I
Featured image: @dusablemuseum/Instagram
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A writer fascinated by humanity and diversity. He is the author of Do Not Say It’s Not Your Country.