We all know our history — a part of American history — shouldn’t be limited to just one month of school assemblies and projects. This year, take things into your own hands, revamp those #squadgoals, and make a plan to really explore your roots. Hit up every spot on this list, or choose a few that are closest to you, and #seesomeblackhistory.
1. The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina
Explore the actual Woolworth store, where the Greensboro sit-ins began back on February 1, 1960. On that day, four North Carolina A&T students sat at the whites-only lunch counter, kicking off a sit-in movement.
2. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio
Experience the stories of those who repped the side of freedom during the days of the Underground Railroad. Go on the Solomon Northrup Tour, hear tales of ESCAPE!, and step inside an actual slave pen, which was used a holding cell for slaves getting ready to be sold at auction, among many other exhibits.
3. Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia
Broken up into two areas — civil rights and human rights — this 43,000-square-foot museum, situated between the new World of Coca-Cola building and the Georgia Aquarium, gives you a window to the past, as well as a look at the present, with exhibits and galleries honoring the Four Little Girls; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ebeneezer Baptist Church; and the Freedom Riders, just to name a few. There’s even a section of the Greensboro Woolworth counter, where you can sit, put on headphones, and experience a simulation of what it might be like to hear and feel (the counter and seats shake to simulate pushing and shoving) what the protesters went through.
4. Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis, Maryland
Visit the exact dock where Kunta Kinte (also memorialized in Alex Haley’s Roots) first arrived as a slave on American soil. You’ll get to see the Alex Haley sculpture group, the Story Wall, and the Compass Rose.
5. National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee
Stopping through the very place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated is only the beginning. After walking through the motel room where MLK, Jr. spent his final hours, you’ll then be directed toward the Legacy exhibits, which include A Culture of Resistance, The Rise of Jim Crow, We Are Prepared to Die, How Long? Not Long., and The Year They Walked.
6. Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana
The only plantation museum in Louisiana that with a focus on slavery, this historic site just an hour outside of NOLA, aims to honor not only all slaves who ever lived at Whitney, but also slaves throughout the American South. Get a glimpse into the lives of plantation slaves, as you walk through the original Big House, slave quarters, blacksmith shop, and other significant landmarks.
7. Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Opening in the fall of 2016 on the National Mall, this museum will house five acres of exhibits detailing the story of the African-American experience. Besides exhibits, this museum will also be a venue for performances and ceremonies.
Obviously, there are way more places to visit for your #BlackHistoryBucketList than we can include in our short list. What places have you been to/want to go to/like the most? Tell us in the comments below!