The United States wouldn’t be what it is today without the vast contributions of African Americans. Our history and culture is woven into the very fabric of this country. While our legacy has over been overlooked in many ways, there are countless sites across the United States that honor the lives and accomplishments of Black Americans. From New York to Oklahoma, there are vast opportunities to explore the rich culture – both the  struggles and the achievements –  of African Americans. It’s not just Black History; it’s American history. Here are 5 historical trips everyone should take to honor the contributions of Black Americans.

The African Burial Ground National Monument

The African Burial Ground National Monument, located in Manhattan, New York honors African Americans and offers education and insight into the hardships enslaved Africans faced in the United States. 

The small plot of land in lower Manhattan served as the final resting place for both free and enslaved Africans throughout the 17th and 18th century for an estimated 15,000 people. It was forgotten and disregarded among urban development until 1991 when workers discovered the burial site during excavation for a federal office building. Over 400 bodies were discovered, along with countless artifacts. Now a National Historic Landmark, the African Burial Ground National Monument has both outdoor and indoor activities, including exhibits, replica artifacts and a 25-minute video about the history of the site. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture 

Located in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. Established in 2003 as an act of Congress and housing over 40,000 artifacts, the museum provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions. Sitting in the National Mall of the United States, visitors can also see views of the White House, as well as monuments and memorials to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln from the museum. 

The National Blues Museum

The musical history of African Americans is rich and so much of it started with the blues. The National Blues Museum, located in St. Louis, Missouri, celebrates the blues and explores it as the foundation of all modern American music –  including jazz, R&B, rock, and hip hop – the music we all know and love. Through artifact-driven exhibits, a state of the art theater, and robust public programming, the museum educates guests on the history and impact of African Americans across different musical genres. 

Black Wall Street

Over 100 years ago, one of the most destructive racial attacks on Black Americans occurred in the area of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as the Greenwood District. Nationally recognized for its affluent African American community, it was referred to as “Black Wall Street” as it was home to Black owned businesses such as banks, schools, and churches. On May 31, 1921, a white mob destroyed the district, setting it on fire, destroying over 1200 homes and dozens of businesses, and killing an estimated 300 people.  

The Greenwood and Black Wall Street Tour takes place in the historic district of Tuls and offers you history about the neighborhood, the massacre, and the aftermath of the massacre. 

The National Civil Rights Museum

Established in 1991, The National Civil Rights Museum, is considered one of the nation’s premium cultural museums. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, at the former Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King, Jr's asassination, the museum’s mission is to honor and preserve the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., chronicling the American Civil Rights Movement, tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights, and serve as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social action. Through interactive exhibits, historic collections, and events, the museum offers visitors a chance to walk through history and learn more about a tumultuous and inspiring period of change.