Although the spotlight on Black history is during one month, this list of places to visit to experience the amazing contributions Black people have made to America is something families can do throughout the year. The history of Blacks in America is massive – from art to music to medicine, and more. And it shouldn’t be confined to just one month. Our history should be taught and celebrated year-round. I’ve compiled this list of places around the New York Tri-state area that is filled with African American history. Get your cars and your families ready for a road trip into Black history.
Related: 10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth & Black Liberation
Places in Connecticut to Experience and Learn Black History
Connecticut Freedom Trail
This trail, consisting of 100 sites in 42 towns that embody the struggle toward freedom and human dignity, celebrates the accomplishments of Connecticut’s African American community. Included on the trail are sites associated with the Amistad case of 1839-1842, buildings reported to have been used on the Underground Railroad, gravesites, monuments, homes, and buildings that are associated with the heritage and movement towards freedom of Connecticut’s African American citizens.
Prudence Crandall Museum
The Prudence Crandall Museum is a National Historic Landmark and State Archaeological Preserve. It’s where Prudence Crandall, a white Quaker abolitionist provided private education for young African-American women
1 South Canterbury Road, Canterbury, CT 06331 | Website | Facebook
Places in New Jersey to Experience and Learn Black History
Peter Mott House
The Peter Mott House was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. It is now a small museum.
26 Kings Court, Lawnside, N.J | Website
Related: Children’s Books to Read During Black History Month
Mount Zion AME Church
This church was built in 1834 and was one of the important Underground Railroad stations. Today still remains a secret 3’x4’ trap door in the floor of the church’s vestibule which provided access to a hiding place in the crawlspace under the floor.
72 Garwin Rd. in Woolwich Township, New Jersey.
African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey
After collecting cultural treasures through his travels or on the curb – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – Ralph E. Hunter, Sr. founded the museum in 2002 after his retirement from retail. The museum is a showplace for local African American artists whose work deserves attention.
2200 Fairmount Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 | Website | Facebook
This stadium served as the home field for the New York Black Yankees between 1933 and 1937, and then again from 1939 to 1945. It is the first National Historic Landmark that honors baseball and the only sporting venue within the boundary of a National Park. Over 20 Hall of Famers graced Hinchliffe’s hallowed grounds, many of whom played in the Negro Leagues.
Patterson, NJ | Website
T. Thomas Fortune House
This National Historic Landmark was where former slave and leading Black civil rights activist and journalist T. Thomas Fortune lived from 1901-1915. The house was designated as a National Historic Landmark on Dec. 28, 1976. The house was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of only two NHL sites in New Jersey associated with African American History. There are only 57 “National Historic Landmarks” in New Jersey and only 2,500 in the entire USA.
94 Drs James Parker Blvd, Red Bank, NJ 0770 | Website
Places in New York to Experience and Learn Black History
The African American Museum of Nassau County
Since the museum, located in Hempstead, NY, opened in 1970, it continues to showcase African American art, culture, music, and traditions, with an emphasis on Long Island local and national African American artists.
110 North Franklin Street, Hempstead, New York 11550 | Website
Weeksville Heritage Center
Weeksville Heritage Center is not only a historic site but also a museum and cultural center dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville and the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. It was one of the largest free Black communities during pre-Civil War America.
158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn, NY | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
Harriet Tubman spent 54 (1859-1913) years in Auburn, NY life in Auburn, New York, where she not only lived but founded the Home for the Aged, a charitable organization for aged and indigent African Americans. During her time in Auburn, she worshipped at the Thompson AME Zion Church on Parker Street.
180 South Street Auburn, NY 13201 | Website
Louis Armstrong House
In 1943, the world’s most famous jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, and his wife moved into this modest house in Corona, Queens, which was their lifetime home. The house and its furnishings remain very much as they were during the couple’s lifetime. Fans of Lous Armstrong can visit his house for guided tours listening to audio clips from Louis’s homemade recordings and Louis practicing his trumpet, enjoying a meal, or talking with his friends. Visitors also get to enjoy an exhibit on Louis’s life and legacy, and the Armstrongs’ beautiful Japanese-inspired garden.
34-56 107th Street, Corona, NY 11368 | Website | Twitter | Instagram
Langston Hughes House
Author, poet and one of the biggest influences during the Harlem Renaissance called this three-story row house home for the last 20 years of his life.
20 East 127th Street, Harlem, NY
St. Philips Protestant Episcopal Church
Founded in 1809, the church is the oldest African American Episcopal parish in New York City. Many of its members – W. E. B. Du Bois; Thurgood Marshall, and Langston Hughes – have been influential leaders in the black community
204 W 134th St, New York, NY 10030 | Website | Facebook
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area
This heritage site commemorates and preserves the people, places, and stories connected to the Underground Railroad found within the City of Niagara Falls.
825 Depot Avenue West Niagara Falls, NY 14305 | Website | Facebook | Twitter
Underground Railroad Site at the Gerrit Smith Estate
Gerrit Smith was an abolitionist and wealthy enterpriser who offered his estate as a gathering place for abolitionists. It also served as a widely-recognized safe haven for refugees from enslavement en route to Canada on the Underground Railroad.
5304 Oxbow Rd. Peterboro, NY 13134 | Website | Facebook
Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District
This district is known for its association with numerous social reform movements, including abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, Native American rights, women’s rights, and education. Several of the properties within the district were owned by freed slaves.
2955 NY-34B, Aurora, NY 13026
John W. Jones Museum
John W. Jones became an active agent in the Underground Railroad in 1851. He’s responsible for the freeing of 800 runaway slaves, none of which were captured or returned to the South. The museum highlights the history of African Americans who settled in New York and the activity of local abolitionists, emphasizing Elmira’s role as the only regular agency and published station on the Underground Railroad between Philadelphia and St. Catharines, Canada
1250 Davis St, Elmira, NY 14901 | Website
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
515 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037 | Website
Plan Ahead for an Uninterrupted Black History Road Trip
Due to the pandemic, most attractions are operating with capacity restrictions and require advance ticketing or reservations, while some may be closed. It’s important to call ahead and plan before you go.