all photos courtesy GDED
Like a call-and-response spiritual sung by a choir, African American history in Georgia tells a story of triumph over tears, of hope despite hardship. Many sites honor achievements that would be remarkable under any circumstances, but prove even more impressive given the obstacles of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.
Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta
Expect your consciousness to be raised, along with some goose bumps, as you explore the highly interactive, empathy-enhancing exhibits. Take a seat at a simulation of the Montgomery Ward lunch counter sit-ins and see what those brave pioneers for social justice endured.
African American Athens Driving Tour, Athens
The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation has plotted a driving tour with 21 storied stops, including the Morton Theatre, which was founded by Monroe Bowers “Pink” Morton, who was born a slave but by 1914, owned 30 buildings in Athens. It was the first vaudeville theater in the country built, owned and operated by an African American businessman.
Tubman Museum, Macon
The largest collection of African Americana in the Southeast recently moved into new quarters in Macon, with 49,000 square feet of space dedicated to black achievement in every field—including Little Richard’s well-throttled piano. The Tubman Museum has great variety in its permanent collection and rotating exhibits, from quilts to tribal drumming.
Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour, Savannah
As a meticulously preserved port city, Savannah is uniquely positioned to offer illuminating lessons about slavery and the antebellum past. The Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour takes you through the city’s historic center and on to a building that was transformed from a slave market to Freedmen’s School.
Augusta Black Heritage Trolley Tour, Augusta
This two-hour expedition welcomes conventions, family reunions and student groups. The trolley, enclosed to be weatherproof, visits more than 25 locations associated with the city’s rich black heritage. Sites include the Silas X. Floyd House, the James Brown statue and the Springfield Baptist Church. Also included is an hour-long guided tour of the Lucy Craft Laney Museum.
Albany Civil Rights Institute, Albany
The Albany Civil Rights Institute in southwest Georgia captures the history of this area’s people who brought about change through their courage and deeds. For a truly unique live-music experience, plan a stop to see The Freedom Singers on the second Saturday of the month. The eight performers present an oral history and perform emotionally-charged songs related to the civil rights movement.
Hear the Freedom Singers at Albany’s Old Mount Zion Baptist Church
Groups will enjoy a visit to the Tubman Museum.
See the James Brown statue and more on the Augusta Black Heritage Trolley Tour.