List of African-American historic places

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Breitmeyer-Tobin Building. Notable African American firms had offices in the building, including the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

The following are a list of African-American historic places:


The stories of the contributions, hardships, and aspirations of all American people can be seen in the experiences of African Americans.[1] The places listed below represent the achievements and struggles of African Americans. Visitors to these sites can gain a better understanding of the events and the people of that time. These places connected across time to create an understanding of what happened and why.[2] As historian David McCullough explains in Brave Companions, experiencing places "helps in making contact with those who were there before in other days. It's a way to find them as fellow human beings, as necessary as the digging you do in libraries."[3]

Outline of African-American History[edit]

This outline has been adapted from other related Wikipedia articles and The Negro Pilgrimage in America by C. Eric Lincoln and Before the Mayflower; A History of the Negro in America; 1619-1964 by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Origins [4]

The Negro Pilgrimage in America[4] or the African Past[5] The story of the African Americans begins in Africa. Early histories of Africa considered it the ‘Dark Continent’, both in the sense of the color of its people, but also for its lack of known civilizations. Studies beginning in the 1960s have found a rich history of civilization, including arts, architecture, public thought and major civilizations.[5] The story of African Americans builds from these roots and can be traced through historic sites associated with the slave trade in America:[1]

American Revolution [5]

While the term ‘American Revolution’ connotes only the war period (1776–1783), the entire colonial experience is included. Free Negros were present during early campaigns of the war and throughout the war. In March 1770, Crispus Attucks died during the protest that has become known as the Boston Massacre.[5] At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Peter Salem and Salem Poor, two free Negros valiantly served. Salem Poor was commended for his actions that day.[5]


For over 200 years, the American system of slavery held four million people of color in bondage.[5] The effect was felt by all the people of the nation, including black, white, yellow, and red. It was premised on a system of racial supremacy that affected the development of the American Negro and the relationships of all American’s with persons of other races.[5]
The first blacks in the new world did not arrive on the slave ship to Jamestown in 1619. Rather, it was Pedro Alonzo Niño, navigator on the Niña the smallest of Christopher Columbus's vessels.[4] From that day, Negros participated in nearly every major Spanish exploration in the new world. Neflo de Olaña and thirty other Negros were with Balboa when they discovered the Pacific Ocean.[4]

Slave Revolts and Insurrections [5]
In the summer of 1791, Haiti witnessed the first successful slave revolt. This was not the first; it was one in a long series of revolts.[5] Between 1663 and 1864, there were 109 revolts on land and another 55 at sea.[4] Notable early insurrections include the 1712 uprising in New York City and the 1800 attack on Richmond, Virginia. That same year, Denmark Vesey, a free black, planned to seize Charleston, South Carolina, but was foiled when betrayed.[4]

John Brown's Farmhouse, New York

Abolition[4] crisis.
With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States gained a huge western dominion. With it, two aspects of American life came into stark comparison. The first was the expansion of slavery across the southern half of the nation, creating a vast agricultural empire based on a large rural workforce. The second was ‘Manifest Destiny’, the expansion of a free society westward across the continent.[4] The economic realities in the south precluded the development of a strong abolitionist base, while the lack of slavery among the industrialized north, neither supported nor abhorred the abolitionist cause.[4] By 1835, William Lloyd Garrison had established ‘’The Liberator’’ as the nation’s most militant abolitionist newspaper. Over the next 30 years, the north and the south would try to find ways to coexist with two different economic systems and a growing abolitionist movement.[5]

Levi Coffin House, Indiana

Civil War and emancipation[4][5]

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park01.jpg

The ‘’American Civil War’’ is often seen as a war between white men over the fate of the black man. From the beginning, the African-American peoples played a significant role in the war.[5] As early as July 1861, three months after Fort Sumter, the United States Congress passed the first Confiscation Act, granting freedom to any slave who had been used to support the Confederate war efforts, once they were behind Union Lines.[4] Quickly General Sherman employed this new manpower in the construction of Union facilities from which to prosecute the war.[4] With the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, the First Regiment Louisiana Heavy Artillery and ‘’All Negro’’ unit was founded by General B.F. Butler. The War Department quickly authorized the enlistment of Negro soldier with the founding of the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth and Fifty-Fifth Infantry Regiments. By the end of the war, there were over 150 ‘all-Negro’ regiments.[4] On September 29, 1864, the Third Division of the Eighteenth Corp of the Army of the James, moved forward to take the New Market Heights outside Richmond, Virginia. The key role in this advance was given to the ‘all-Negro’ division. By the end of the day, the Union Army would stand on the heights overlooking the city of Richmond with a loss of 584 men and 10 Congressional Medal honorees now in their ranks. This action marked the beginning of the dissolution of the Confederate Government and the end of the war the following April.

Reconstruction [4] and ‘’’Black Power in Dixie’’’[5]

Storer College Campus, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Segregation [4] and the ‘’’rise of Jim Crow’’’[5]

Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Atlanta, Georgia)

Northern Migration [4]

Expanding Opportunities [4]

Front of the Madame C.J., Indianapolis, Indiana

Civil Rights Movement [4][5]

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Boyhood home


Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor here.



Bill Clinton leading celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, AR, September 25, 1997.




When the Africans who had participated in the slave revolt on La Amistad were released in 1841, they came to Farmington and stayed with Austin Williams before their return to Africa and attended this church.


District of Columbia[edit]





Residence of civil rights advocate Ida B. Wells


Levi Coffin's home in Fountain City, Indiana, formerly Newport. Used to hide slaves in the Underground Railroad, known as Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.
St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Gary, Indiana.


Bethel AME Church Davenport, Iowa


Nicodemus National Historic Site Visitor Center



Engraving by E. W. Kemble, to illustrate article “The Dance in Place Congo” by George Washington Cable, published in Century Magazine, February 1886



Stanley Institute


Wiliam C. Nell House



Highland Park Water Tower, designed by Clarence W. Wigington, the nation's first African-American municipal architect





American Bell donated the Webster Telephone Exchange Building to the Urban League in 1933. After serving as a home to Omaha's Urban League and its leader Whitney Young, it became the Great Plains Black History Museum


New Jersey[edit]

New Mexico[edit]

New York[edit]

Jackie Robinson's House

North Carolina[edit]


Mount Zion Baptist Church



People's Hall in Ercildoun, an abolitionist center
John Brown house in Chambersburg

Puerto Rico[edit]

Rhode Island[edit]

Smithville Seminary

South Carolina[edit]






Virgin Islands[edit]


West Virginia[edit]

Harpers Ferry


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Register of Historic Places: African American Historic Places; National Park Service & National Trust for Historic Preservation; The Preservation Press; Washington D.C.; 1994
  2. ^ Teaching with Historic Places Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ McCullogh, David (1992). Brave Companions. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. x. ISBN 978-0-671-79276-3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s The Negro Pilgrimage in America: C. Eric Lincoln; Bantam Books, New York; 1967
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in American 1619-1964; Lerone Bennett, Jr.; Pelican Books; Baltimore, Maryland; 1964

Further reading[edit]

  • Ballard, Allan; One More Day’s Journey: The Story of a Family and a People; New York; McGraw-Hill, 1984
  • Durham, Philip, and Everettt L. Jones; The Adventures of the Negro Cowboys; New York: Bantam Books, 1969
  • Ferguson, Leland G.; Uncommon Ground: Archeology and Colonial African America; Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992
  • Harley, Sharon, and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn; The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images; Port Washington; Kennikat Press; 1978
  • Higgans, Nathan I.; Harlem Renaissance; New York; Oxford University Press; 1971
  • Lyon, Elizabeth A.; Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Historic Preservation. Information Series, no. 65; Washington D.C.; National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1992.
  • McFeely, William S.; Frederick Douglass; New York; Norton, 1990.
  • National Register of Historic Places: African American Historic Places; National Park Service & National Trust for Historic Preservation; The Preservation Press; Washington D.C.; 1994
  • Painter, Nell Irvin; Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction; New York; Norton; 1976
  • Reynolds, Gary A. and beryl Wright; Against the Odds: African American Artists and the Harmon Foundation. Newark, New Jersey; The Newark Museum, 1989