It’s time to celebrate Black History Month, and what better way to do that than by learning more about African American heritage and culture? Whether you want to know more about the automotive heroes of Black History Month or you’d like to know which incredible inventions can be credited to African American innovators, there are countless opportunities to soak up an extra dose of history. Honor Black History Month with more than a hashtag or a school report; pay your respects in person at one of these road-trip worthy destinations for exploring African American history.
- Birmingham, Alabama: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
This site documents the height of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a comprehensive walk through that historical period on the inside, but this museum is also surrounded by other noteworthy sites like the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park.
- Little Rock, Arkansas: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Since opening its doors in the early 2000s, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s mission has been to tell the stories of African Americans, specifically in the state of Arkansas. Through both exhibits and education, this museum preserves and celebrates the stories of African Americans right in their home state.
- St. Petersburg, Florida: Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum
This Florida landmark focuses on the history of African Americans in the surrounding St. Petersburg community. It’s named after Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an accomplished author who launched the first annual observance of Black History Week in 1926. Dr. Woodson’s celebration week became what we now know as Black History Month in 1976.
- Atlanta, Georgia: APEX Museum
Located in the heart of Georgia’s capital city, the APEX Museum boasts that it is the only museum in the area devoted to educating the public about the people of the African Diaspora. The museum offers an in-depth view of history, and the building itself was constructed more than 100 years ago by African American masons.
- Chicago, Illinois: DuSable Museum of African American History
The DuSable Museum has both permanent and temporary exhibits, and is located in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park. The museum focuses not only on exhibiting written history of African American culture, but also on showcasing works of art by African Americans and unique memorabilia that documents significant moments in history.
- Wallace, Louisiana: Whitney Plantation
As the name suggests, Whitney Plantation is more than just a museum—it’s the site of a plantation founded in 1752. The property is now devoted to telling the story of slaves in the area and offers visitors a walking tour of the many original and historically replicated buildings that were part of the plantation.
- Natchez, Mississippi: Museum of African American History and Culture
Located in the heart of the South, the Museum of African American History and Culture gives visitors a taste of history, from the beginnings of slavery all the way through the Civil Rights era. The museum is in Natchez, which is the same city where the Rhythm Nightclub fire took more than 200 African American lives in 1940.
- Kansas City, Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
When it first opened in the early 1990s, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was housed inside a single room in Kansas City, Missouri. Now, it shares a beautiful (and much larger) building with the American Jazz Museum, and has 10,000 square feet filled to the brim with stories and artifacts from African American baseball players.
- Greensboro, North Carolina: International Civil Rights Center & Museum
The nonviolent sit-in movement was an integral moment in the Civil Rights era, and this museum seeks to provide historical context and education around that monumental event. The museum celebrates the young men who began the movement and pushed for desegregation in the South, as well as others who helped maintain its momentum.
- Charleston, South Carolina: International African American Museum
During the era of slavery, Charleston served as a port where most slaves were brought to North America. The museum transports visitors back in time and presents the largely “under told” experiences and contributions of Americans of African descent through film, documents, and digital archives.
- Memphis, Tennessee: National Civil Rights Museum
This museum chose one of the most significant places in African American history to build its current facility. The National Civil Rights Museum is at the former Lorraine Motel—the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The approximate location on the hotel balcony where Dr. King was shot is now marked with a wreath, and visitors can pay their respects during a visit to the museum complex.
- Dallas, Texas: African American Museum, Dallas
This museum began as a part of the Special Collections at Bishop College, but now operates independently. It boasts one of the largest collections of African American Folk Art in the United States, as well as several other expansive collections and rotating temporary exhibits that focus on the Dallas community and national issues in African American history.
- Richmond, Virginia: Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
Housed in the historic Leigh Street Armory, this museum aims to preserve Black History through written records as much as possible—a difficult task because much of African American history has been passed down verbally and through visual media. The museum’s exhibits feature artifacts, stories, and accomplishments of African Americans specifically in the state of Virginia.
At Direct Auto & Life Insurance, we’re more than a car insurance company. We’re part of the communities where we serve, work, and live. We know that the world wouldn’t be the same without the contributions of brave and innovative people throughout history, and we applaud the accomplishments of black Americans of the past, present, and future. We’re proud to celebrate Black History Month alongside you and your community.