Black History Month is a ways away, but like McDonald’s says #BlackHistory365! Plus, with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History & Culture, there’s every excuse in the world to celebrate the amazing contributions black people have made to the United States.
As exciting as traveling abroad is for personal development (and your IG feed), I’m all for exploring this lil ragtag country of ours. There are so many wonders at home and I wanted to shout out some other black history museums that you should totally visit across the US!
Weeksville Heritage Center
So you know how pro-gentrification folks be like “well these black neighborhoods used to be Irish, so get over it” and all that jazz? #WellActually in 1838, a free black man named James Weeks established an all-black community called Weeksville, that later became Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy. A few of the homes were “rediscovered” in 1968 and the Weeksville Heritage Center was born. The homes have since been restored and are open for tours. There is also a brand spanking new facility that houses cultural events from book readings to plays. Weeksville has an art gallery space as well, that is currently housing a show called “Home/Belonging”. Make sure to stop by every second Saturday of the month for ‘Weeksville Weekends’, a day of free activities and neighborly fellowship.
African American Museum in Philadelphia
The whole world knows I’m from Philly, right? I grew up in a super black nationalist/Pan-African household, so I spent a good chunk of my life at AAMP. Like NMAAHC, AAMP is connected to the Smithsonian and was opened in 1976 for the bicentennial. I’m currently jumping for allll the joy because the museum will be honoring my favorite writer and mother in my mind, Ntzokake Shange, for the 40th anniversary of “For Colored Girls”. The exhibition opens on Saturday and will feature artists like one of my young BK faves, Rafia Santana, Renee Cox, and Carrie Mae Weems. Faves on faves on faves!!!!
The Great Blacks in Wax Museum
When I wasn’t at AAMP, I was down in Baltimore, Philly’s twin, at the Greats Blacks in Wax. My friend Morgan and I joked on her podcast about not being able to get riled up in the current black power movement because this museum had us angry and militant in third grade. I’m still not over the trauma of walking through the slave ship and don’t get me started on the lynching exhibit in the basement. The museum is currently transitioning to become a larger space to include classrooms and a theater.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
From the age of 13 to 15, I was in this Pan-African, slightly cultish organization that sent kids to Africa. On the two year process, there were smaller trips they took us on to prep us for the big shebang. Because of the elementary/middle school I had gone to, most of the trips were repeats for me. I couldn’t wait to get to Detroit and see the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for the first time and to be honest, I’m still not over it. At the time, it was the largest black history museum and easily one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever been inside of. Looking for some other black + excellent spots to visit after CHWAAH? Check out my girl Roslyn’s boutique Detroit is the New Black!
California African American Museum
Los Angeles, CA
Whenever I visit a city, my goal is to always stop by some type of black historical space. I was just in LA for three weeks and the California African American Museum was at the top of my bucket list. There are four massive gallery spaces inside, but my favorite exhibit was “The African American Journey West”, the permanent collection. Did ya’ll know that black people (technically Afro-Mexicans) founded the city of Los Angeles in 1781??? Any visit to the left coast will surely be incomplete without running through these halls.
Welp…there you have it folks. Happy black history museum’ng!
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