The Old Slave Mart Museum in downtown Charleston opened in 2007 at the site of Ryan's Mart, a former slave auction gallery. The building first opened in 1859, 50 years after a constitutional amendment banning slave importation from Africa went into effect. Since slavery was still practiced throughout the South during this time, the domestic slave trade became highly profitable and widespread. In 1938, the building was converted into a private museum of African-American art and history; in 1988, the city of Charleston acquired it. Today, visitors experience an unflinching look at Charleston's involvement in the slave trade and its influence on the city's economy. On the second floor, the "Lest We Forget" exhibition includes a visual exploration of slave life and the abolitionist struggle. The museum is small and may be crowded on weekends and holidays, especially during Black History Month.
Address: 6 Chalmers St., Charleston, SC 29401
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.
Built in 1738, Drayton Hall is the oldest Southern plantation house accessible to the public. It's not a restored home -- it's a survivor of nearly 300 years, two wars, natural disasters and urban development. In addition to generations of the Drayton family, who owned the rice plantation and kept the Georgian Palladian house until 1974, Drayton Hall was home to hundreds of African-Americans over the years, including the Bowens family. The black population on the plantation was typically diverse, with a mixture of cultures, including Central West Africans, Angolan Catholics and African Muslims, as well as Native Americans and "mustees," or people with both African and Native blood. Even after slavery was abolished, African-Americans such as Richmond Bowens Sr. lived and worked at Drayton Hall, which was the site of a phosphate mine at the turn of the 20th century. Tours of the unfurnished home are offered hourly; in addition, a program titled "Connections: From Africa to America" is held three times a day. The Drayton Hall Museum Shop is located in a 19th-century wooden caretaker's house, similar to a typical home lived in by African-American families after the Civil War. The shop offers a variety of books, crafts, jewelry toys and other Lowcountry gifts.
-- Holly Quinn
Address: 3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (no entry after 3:30 p.m.).
Cost: $18 for adults, $8 for youth 12 to 18, $6 for children 6 to 11; children 5 and younger admitted free. Family packages for four are $39. Military personnel receive a $2 discount.
Located on the Charleston Peninsula in the heart of South Carolina's historic Lowcountry, the Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture originally opened in 1868, when it was established as a school for freed slaves. After sitting empty for more than 35 years, it was reopened as a historical center in 1990 by the state of South Carolina and the College of Charleston. The museum includes a renovated classroom, art galleries, an artifact exhibit area and a permanent exhibit honoring Philip Simmons, a master blacksmith renowned for his decorative iron work throughout Charleston. The center's archives include hundreds of manuscripts, including pre-Civil War family records and slavery documents; civil rights-era papers and transcripts; and funeral records, church records, photography and scholarly papers. The featured exhibition during Black History Month this year is "Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities Through Language," developed by the Smithsonian Institution. The museum and reading room are open to the public on weekdays in February and by appointment on Saturdays. The gift shop offers a variety of cultural and historical gifts, including books, music, crafts, T-shirts and games.
-- Holly Quinn
Address: 125 Bull St., Charleston, SC 29401
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (by appointment).
Cost: Free (donations accepted)
Located on Charleston's downtown waterfront, the Aiken-Rhett House offers a view of African-American history that is often overlooked -- that of slaves living in urban antebellum homes rather than on plantations. The complex was the home of former governor of South Carolina and prominent politician William Aiken Jr. and his family. The slave quarters, home to the Greggs and the Richardson families, among others, are some of the most well-intact in the country. The preserved home contains real artifacts belonging to the families and remains a true relic of the 19th century, with no electricity or major renovations. Visitors learn about the domestic side of slavery: While domestic slaves were often seen as having a higher social stature than plantation slaves, they were called on around the clock with little downtime. Their quarters were made to look relatively attractive in order to "put the best possible face on urban slavery," according to the Historic Charleston Foundation.
Address: 48 Elizabeth St., Charleston , SC 29403
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Photo via Flickr
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, holds the distinction of being the largest museum of African-American history on the East Coast. With a focus on black Marylanders, the museum -- opened in 2005 and named after the late Baltimore entrepreneur and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis -- offers more than 13,000 square feet of exhibition space filled with art, music, history and cultural artifacts. Permanent exhibitions include "Things Hold Lines Connect," an exploration of 200 years of slavery in Maryland; "Building Maryland, Building America," which focuses on the legacy of African slavery in Maryland and the ultimate enrichment of the culture; and "The Strength of the Mind," which eyes the creative spirit of black Marylanders through history, including Chick Webb and Cab Calloway. Just in time for Black History Month, the museum opens two special exhibitions: "The Annual High School Juried Art Show" and "Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity." See the Reginald F. Lewis Museum calendar for a listing of special events during the month. The state-of-the-art museum also offers a Learning Center, an Oral History Recording and Listening Studio, a 200-seat theater, a cafe and a gift shop offering books, music and souvenirs.
Address: 830 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m Thursdays June through August. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Cost: $8 general admission, $6 for youth 7 to 17 and seniors 65 and older. Children aged 6 and younger and Maryland public school teachers are admitted free.
The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum & Maritime Park is more than a picturesque waterfront park -- it's also a historical location, where famed human rights leader Frederick Douglass once lived, and where he worked at the first black-owned and -operated shipyard. Located near Fells Point, the museum showcases the lives of Douglass and Isaac Myers, a black entrepreneur and CEO of the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Co., America's largest black-owned company of the 1800s. The lives of everyday African-Americans in Baltimore are also explored, as well as the rich maritime history of the area, with hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Among the more unique educational programs offered at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum & Maritime Park is a shipbuilding and maritime course for at-risk youth, as part of Baltimore's Living Classrooms. Self-guided tours are offered daily, as well as guided group tours by appointment. A gift shop offers historical souvenirs and books. The location also offers event space for weddings, banquets and other special events.
Address: 1417 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231
Telephone: 410-685-0295, ext. 252
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; closed on Mondays.
Cost: $5 for adults 19 to 59, $4 for seniors 60 and older, $2 for students 6 to 18. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.
The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum near Catonsville is the site of the homestead that scientist, mathematician and colonist Benjamin Banneker's parents, Robert and Mary, established in 1734. Banneker himself is known as the "first black man of science." Born into a free black family in 1731, Banneker had a Quaker education, but was self-taught in astronomy and advanced mathematics; he built a working clock out of wood after studying a pocket watch as a young man. Banneker was also well-known for his widely published letters to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson about the hypocrisy of American slavery. The 142-acre park includes a restored Victorian farmhouse, a Colonial cabin, nature trails and archaeological sites, encompassing the largest original African-American historical site in the country. The museum features preserved artifacts from Banneker's life, living-history exhibits, cultural events, educational programs and nature-conservation programs. The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum offers guided tours, special-event rentals and a gift shop.
Address: 300 Oella Ave., Baltimore, MD 21228
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.
Cost: $3 donation suggested
Located inside a former fire station in the East Baltimore Midway neighborhood, The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum has provided a truly unique experience in black American history since 1983. The most iconic black leaders, thinkers and cultural icons are all here, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, W.E.B DuBois and Colin Powell. Less well-known historical figures are also featured, such as pilot Bessie Coleman, American Revolution patriot Crispus Attucks and Henry "Box" Brown, a slave who literally mailed himself to freedom in 1849. While many of the exhibits focus on the positive achievements of black Americans, two central exhibits are not for the faint of heart: "The Middle Passage" graphically focuses on the horrors of the U.S. slave trade, and "Lynching: A Legacy of Terror," a room the RoadsideAmerica.com team says "drips with gore and mayhem." There is no glossing over the most brutal elements of black history, but it all makes for a moving, educational experience. Guided tours are offered daily. The gift shop sells books and other items; the museum does not offer a restaurant on the premises. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is open seven days a week during Black History Month.
Address: 1601-03 E. North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21213
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Mondays in January, March through June and September through December.
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for children 3 to 11 and $11 for seniors, college students and youth 12 to 17. Memberships and group rates are available.
Housed in the same building as the American Jazz Museum, the privately funded, nonprofit Negro Leagues Baseball Museum pays tribute to the history of African-American baseball. Rather than focusing simply on stars of the Negro Leagues, the museum tells the story of both superstars and average players and is not intended to be a Negro Leagues Hall of Fame. With film exhibits, computer stations and hundreds of vintage photographs, the self-guided tour typically takes visitors one to two hours to complete. To help tell the story of the Negro Leagues, the museum has developed a guide specifically for teachers and a series of traveling exhibits for visitors and institutions that cannot visit the museum firsthand. A museum shop offers memorabilia such as vintage hats, jerseys and keepsake ornaments, in addition to multimedia such as DVDs and CDs. Ample street parking and public lots are near the museum. Photography is restricted in certain areas to help preserve museum artifacts.
Address: 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday.
Cost: $8; $3 for children 11 and younger; free for children younger than 5; group tickets available.
Through the use of interactive exhibits and films, the American Jazz Museum presents the story of American jazz. Located at the center of the Kansas City jazz scene in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, the museum has hosted more than 200 live performances since its inception in 1997. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of jazz as an art form, the museum also presents educational programs, special exhibitions and community events. Listening stations allow visitors to sample music from such celebrated jazz artists as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. To bring the spirit of live jazz home, the 10,000-square-foot museum contains a nightclub, the Blue Room, which features musicians five nights a week. Permanent exhibits at the museum include the Jazz Discovery area, where youngsters can try to build their own instruments, and Jazz Central, a listening room designed with the jazz aficionado in mind.
Address: 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday.
Cost: $8; $3 for children 11 and younger; group tickets available.
The Black Archives of Mid-America, a learning center and a house of safe-keeping for historical items, focuses on the African-American experience in the American Midwest. Located in the historic district that also houses the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum, the center consists of firsthand material reflecting the social, political, economic and cultural histories of African descendants in the central United States. Source material includes photographs, rare books, oral histories and personal correspondence. Founded in 1974 by African-American historian Horace M. Peterson III, the museum now hosts more than 31,000 individual artifacts. Featured collections are sorted by categories such as education, arts and culture, military and religion. Highlights of the museum include a reconstruction of a 19th-century slave cabin and permanent exhibits on Buffalo Soldiers and other black Army units. In addition to the in-house exhibits and collections, the center also provides interpretive and educational programs for the surrounding community. Currently open to scholars by appointment only, the public exhibitions will reopen in June 2012.
Address: 1722 E. 17th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64108
Hours Of Operation: By appointment only (reopening to general public June 16, 2012).
Photo via Flickr
Hammonds House Museum is the former home of Otis Thrash Hammonds, a black physician who collected works by artists of African descent. Built around 1872, the ornate Victorian house made its debut as a public museum in 1988, two years after Hammonds' death. Some of the earlier pieces date to the mid-1800s, including paintings from Haiti and ceremonial masks from Africa. In addition to the permanent collection of about 250 works, the museum features rotating exhibits by contemporary black artists from all over the world. To foster the museum's educational mission, each exhibit kicks off with a talk given by a knowledgeable curator or the artist. Artists also often participate in panel discussions and workshops. The museum hosts a number of other events as well, including concerts, readings, educational seminars, summer camps and even wine tastings.
Address: 503 Peeples St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: The self-guided tour is $4 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. See website for group tour and special event admission prices.
Established in 1968 -- the same year of King's assassination -- the King Center was just one of many ambitious projects that Coretta Scott King spearheaded in an effort to continue her husband's important work. The center is part of a complex of buildings and outdoor spaces devoted to the memory of the civil rights leader. Offering historical exhibits as well as ongoing educational programs, the nonprofit organization seeks to develop young leaders to carry on King's mission of bringing about social change through nonviolence. Freedom Hall is the hub of the campus, featuring a large auditorium, bookstore and a permanent exhibition honoring King, Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks. King's birthplace, operated by the National Park Service, and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was co-pastor, are both within walking distance. There's also an outdoor area for quiet reflection around the marble crypt containing the remains of King and his wife. The recently completed King Center Imaging Project involved digitizing and preserving more than a million of King's letters, speeches, essays and other documents. The archive can be accessed in the King Library or through the King Center website.
Address: 449 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, established in 1996, focuses on presenting artwork by women of African descent. The 4,500-square-foot exhibition space is part of the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center, which is named after the wife of comedian Bill Cosby. Much of the work, ranging from paintings to video presentations, explores the struggles of black women in the U.S., but some of the exhibits also touch on broader global and historical topics. As part of its effort to collect the most culturally significant pieces from around the world, the museum recently acquired "Hot-en-Tot," a gelatin silver print featuring an African-American woman wearing nothing but extra-large prosthetic breasts and buttocks. The work was inspired by Saartjie Baartman, an African woman who was exhibited at freak shows in Europe in the 1800s due to her large breasts and other physical characteristics. The photo is part of the 15 X 15 initiative, an ongoing effort to acquire 15 important pieces to commemorate the museum's 15th anniversary. An exhibit titled "American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold's Paintings of the 1960s," featuring the artist's painted quilts, opens in February 2012 and runs through May. Souvenirs and trinkets inspired by the collections can be purchased at the museum's gift shop.
Address: 350 Spelman Lane SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: Free, but the museum suggests a $3 donation.
Since 1978, the APEX Museum has celebrated past and present black achievers, including inventors, businesspeople, politicians, musicians and sports stars. Many of the exhibits focus on Atlanta and the thriving black-owned businesses along Auburn Avenue, which came to be known as "Sweet Auburn" because of the area's commercial success. "The Yates & Milton Drug Store" exhibit is a historically accurate reproduction of the shop that served as a kind of black community center during the 1920s. In the museum's trolley-shaped theater, visitors can watch "Sweet Auburn: Street of Pride," narrated by actress Cicely Tyson and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond. A companion book by the same name is available in the gift shop. The museum offers tours for groups of 10 or more at discounted rates. While the tour is designed primarily for elementary school kids, it also presents a wealth of interesting information for adult history buffs. Opening in February 2012, "Great Minds: Defying the Odds" features black scholars and scientists who overcame huge obstacles along the path to higher education.
Address: 135 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.
Cost: $4 for adults; $3 for students; $3 for seniors 55 and older; children 4 and younger are admitted for free.
In 1921, a small group of Atlanta librarians and volunteers started collecting books and historical records relevant to African-American culture. Over the years, the collection outgrew several earlier sites, until arriving at its current home, the four-story, 50,000-square-foot Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Now the facility has nine collections, ranging from slave records to movies. The library appeals to historians researching slavery and the civil rights movement in particular, but it also has plenty to offer amateur history buffs. In March 2011, former Atlanta mayor and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young donated a large cache of his personal papers to the library. The collection includes personal letters, speeches, campaign materials and ephemera from Young's five decades of public service. As part of its Black History Month celebration, the library presents a discussion titled "Introduction to the Black Age of Comics: Past, Present, and Future" on Feb. 9. Moderator Joseph R. Wheeler III is the founder of Onyx Con, an annual convention for fans and authors of African-American comic books and graphic novels.
Address: 101 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
The Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia, officially founded in 1793, is the country's oldest African-American church of any denomination. Symbolically, the church stands as a testament to the independent spirit of African-Americans during the era of U.S. slavery. Constructively, the church marks the origination of the Georgia Republican Party and the founding location of Morehouse College, an institution noted for producing numerous black leaders. In addition to traditional prayer services, the church hosts religious events, such as Sunday school and PHAT (Preaching, Healing, Anointed Teaching) Tuesday. In 1982, the United States Department of the Interior listed the church on the National Register of Historic Places.
Address: 114 12th St., Augusta, GA 30901
Hours Of Operation: 11 a.m. for worship services on Sunday; 9:30 a.m. for Sunday school.
The James Brown Statue & Plaza, which pays tribute to the "Godfather of Soul," is in Augusta, from where Brown originally hailed. The bronze statue, which was unveiled in 2005, stands tall in the heart of downtown Augusta, right across the street from the popular Augusta Commons. Per specific request of James Brown himself, the statue sits at street level so passers-by have the opportunity to take photos with it. Visitors without a camera can even call a number posted on a nearby sign to have a photo taken that can be downloaded from the Internet, courtesy of the Greater Augusta Arts Council. The statue complements the James Brown exhibit at the nearby Augusta Museum of History.
Address: 854 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901
Telephone: 706-796-5025 (Augusta Recreation & Parks Department)
Hours Of Operation: Always open
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is dedicated to preserving the memory of its namesake through exhibits and programs in the arts. Laney learned to read at a time when black Americans were prohibited from reading, and she was determined to help educate her fellow African-Americans over the course of her life. Among other accomplishments, Laney founded the Lamar School of Nursing for black women and started the first kindergarten for black children in Augusta. The museum, which opened in 1991, is actually housed in Laney's own homestead. In addition to rotating exhibits, the museum hosts a black-tie Heritage Gala with live music and dancing every February to raise funds for the preservation of the museum exhibits. A gift store offers a range of historical memorabilia for purchase.
Address: 1116 Phillips St., Augusta, GA 30901
Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; open for special events and by request Sunday.
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children.
Set in beautiful Fairmount Park, the Belmont Mansion has the feel of a country estate, despite its location in the middle of a major city. The mansion's original owners, the Peters family, were abolitionists from the mid-18th century. The family had many ties to well-known historical figures, including William Penn, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, many of whom stayed at the mansion during the time Richard Peters, secretary of the Board of the Revolutionary Army and a member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, made it his home. After extensive renovations, the mansion was opened to the public as the Underground Railroad Museum in 2007.
The museum honors the Peters family's fight to abolish slavery, with exhibits on the men and women who escaped slavery through the famed Underground Railroad, as well as the people who helped them. Photographs and artifacts help tell the story, and guided tours are available.
Address: 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Hours Of Operation: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Monday.
Cost: $7 for adults; $5 for children 6 to 18, students and seniors; children younger than 6 admitted free.
Founded in 1974, the African American Museum of Dallas displays a variety of black history collections, such as African art featuring masks and textiles and African-American fine art, with works from the 1800s to the present. The museum is housed in a 38,000-square-foot structure in the form of a cross made of ivory stone. In 1996, the Texas Black Hall of Fame, which is located in the museum, was created to honor local coaches and athletes for their achievements. Visitors can also research extensive information on African-American history in the research library. The educational plaza in the museum includes a theater for local programs and classrooms used to teach students about African-American history.
On the first floor of the museum, visitors will find the largest collection of African-American folk art in the United States, including works of renowned folk artists like Clementine Hunter and Mose Tolliver. During Black History Month through early summer, a special exhibit called "Mahalia: 'Queen of Gospel Music'" will display 51 pieces of art, including sculptures of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. Every spring, the museum's Southwest Black Fine Arts Show brings together thousands of collectors and educators for a weekend full of workshops and exhibits celebrating black fine art.
Address: 3536 Grand Ave., Dallas, TX
Hours Of Operation: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Monday.
Founded in 2001, the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, recognizes diverse ethnic groups who played a pertinent role in settling the early American West. In 2008, the organization was officially renamed the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame. The museum has a vast collection of journals, photographs and other historical items displaying how African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and European Americans made significant contributions to the American West. The museum also features exhibits on the Tuskegee Airmen, known as America's first black military airmen, and the Buffalo Soldiers, the first all-black regiment in the United States Army. Through the museum's Hall of Fame, an annual ceremony honors the lives of both men and women trailblazers for their contributions to the American West. The museum partnered with actress Pam Grier to create the Pam Grier Community Garden, which provides a variety of gardening classes. During Black History Month, community gardening classes will include a session on growing vegetables.
Address: 3400 Mount Vernon Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76103
Hours Of Operation: noon to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; open Wednesday by appointment only; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children 5 and younger; $5 per adult and $2 per student for the group rate.
The Dallas Black Dance Theatre in Dallas, Texas, was founded in 1976 to encourage young black children to appreciate the world of dance. This renowned dance group, known as the oldest professional dance company in Dallas, has performed all over the world, including 13 countries and five continents. In 1996, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre performed at the Atlanta Olympic Festival. The group made history for being the first and only Texas arts organization to be invited to a Cultural Olympiad event.
Through the Dallas Black Dance Academy, students of all levels and ages can take a variety of dance classes, including hip-hop, jazz, African and ballet. Each February, as part of Black History Month, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre presents performances with a mix of European and African choreography through its Cultural Awareness Series. The series includes a choreographed piece called "The Nina Simone Project," which honors the legacy of singer and pianist Nina Simone.
Address: 2700 Flora St., Dallas, TX 75201
Hours Of Operation: It depends on individual performances. For more information, please check the website.
Cost: Prices vary depending on the performance. For more information, please check the website.
The South Side on Lamar is a National Historical Landmark located in Dallas, Texas. When the South Side on Lamar first opened in 1910, it was known as the "Sears Building." Sears built its first catalog merchandise center outside of Chicago in this downtown area. When Sears left the building in 1993, the space was changed into contemporary loft apartments and studios for artists, photographers and designers. This popular Dallas neighborhood is also known for having a variety of restaurants and retail shops serving diverse groups working and residing in the area. Each February, as part of Black History Month, South Side on Lamar has a special tribute program honoring black people. The Ebony Emeralds Classic Theater will perform three unique stories of ordinary black people.
Address: 1409 S. Lamar St., Dallas, TX 75215
Hours Of Operation: The South Side on Lamar is open every day, depending on the hours of individual restaurants, events and retail shops in the area.
Cost: There is no admission fee for the annual Black History Month event. There are fees for individual restaurants, events and retail shops in the area.
Located just a few blocks from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia's Center City East neighborhood, the African American Museum was established in 1976 as part of the city's bicentennial celebrations. It bears the distinction of being the first African-American heritage institution to be funded by a major city. The museum covers three main narratives: The African Diaspora, African-Americans in Philadelphia from 1776 to 1876 and contemporary African-American history and culture. The museum boasts thousands of historical objects, including photographs, furniture, clothing, art and documents, and high-tech interactive galleries that bring history to life. All ages are encouraged to visit, with a children's gallery geared toward 3 to 8-year-olds, youth education programs and plenty of offerings for adult visitors. The museum store features a selection of books, gifts and souvenirs.
During Black History Month in February 2012, the African American Museum partners with the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront for "James Forten on Display," a special exhibition devoted to the African-American businessman who ran a sail-making company in Philadelphia after the revolution; there will be a display at each museum.
-- Holly Quinn
Address: 701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors and children 4 to 12.
Preserving the memory of the darkest period of African-American history, the Lest We Forget" Black Holocaust Museum in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia focuses on the U.S. slave trade and Jim Crow and their impact on the black community. The private collection of slave-era artifacts, including chains, manacles, branding irons, photographs and documentation, helps shine a light on horrors of the past, as well as triumphs of African Americans throughout history.
Historic and contemporary artwork are also on display. J. Justin Ragsdale, the museum's founder, gives tours of the collection by appointment. "Lest We Forget" also has a traveling museum, which brings artifacts to schools, universities and churches. The award-winning film "My Slave Sister Myself" by Gwen Ragsdale is available for private screenings.
Address: 3650 Richmond St., Philadelphia, PA 19134
Hours Of Operation: By appointment only, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The Philadelphia Doll Museum, located along the Avenue of the Arts on North Broad Street, is the only museum in North America dedicated entirely to the preservation of black dolls. The museum's founder, Barbara Whiteman, established the museum in 1988 as a place to display her large collection and to share her knowledge of the long cultural history of black dolls through programs and seminars.
Dolls in the collection include African figures, Colonial American folk art dolls, pre-World War I German dolls, Kewpie dolls, character dolls and the Roberta Bell Doll Collection. Each doll in the museum tells a story about its time period and the perception of blacks in the U.S. and abroad. For example, some early 20th-century dolls were considered stereotypical and offensive even in their own time, leading many black parents to make their own handmade dolls for their children. The museum is geared toward history buffs and doll collectors alike, with regular two-hour tours exploring the 300-plus dolls on display and an extensive research library.
Address: 2253 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19132
Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cost: $4 for adults; $3 for children, students and seniors.