History rarely follows a straight path, and Mobile’s history is no different. Our 300-year-story winds and turns like the Tombigbee River. And like that river, we have embraced the currents that have made us who we are today.
In Mobile, Alabama, we embrace cultural heritage tourism throughout our diverse community. From museums such asGulfQuest National Maritime Museum, Mobile Museum of Art, Alabama Contemporary Art Center, History Museum of Mobile, and others featuring thoughtful exhibitions. We host a variety of festivals both celebrating and commemorating historic milestones and embrace experience-givers who share personal perspectives on generational stories as they tour you through familial Africatown or dig deep into the ecological history that carves out Mobile’s history into existence along the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. In Mobile, you will surely learn as much about yourself as you do about the city’s history.
The Clotilda mural in Africatown
While many different cultures have impacted Mobile’s history, the influences of the African American community have been captured and remembered through the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail. The trail stretches across the city and highlights important events and locations, with the primary intention of sharing Mobile’s multicultural legacy by introducing visitors to over forty historic sites and venues which include:
– Africatown, where African survivors from the Clotilda, the last slave ship to enter the US in 1860, landed.
– Historic and significant schools, churches, storefronts, and home sites, such as Hank Aaron.
– Home of the entrepreneur Dave Patton, who helped construct the Saenger Theatre, Mobile High School (now Murphy High School), and many roads in Mobile.
– The Civil Rights advocates that were integral to the desegregation of the city’s schools, workforce, and public offices.
– The Emerson Institute, a school that created a diverse arts curriculum for the African-American community despite repression during the Jim Crow era.
A tour guide speaks to a group on the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail.
Since the spring of 2020, the History Museum of Mobile has been curating, constructing, and preparing to operate an exhibition at the newly constructed Africatown Heritage House. The Heritage House details the stories of the 110 men, women, and children brought to Mobile aboard the Clotilda. Called “The Landing” by the descendants of Clotilda’s survivors, July 8th marks 163 years since their ancestors arrived on American soil, against their will. On this day in 2023, the Africatown Heritage House featuring Clotilda: The Exhibition will open to the public.
A rendering of the Tank Room at the newly constructed Africatown Heritage House.
Mobile has long been a favored stop on my tour groups’ Gulf Coast itineraries. Just two hours east of New Orleans and one hour north of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches, Mobile’s historic appeal, wonderful attractions, local restaurants, and special events are sure to please groups of all sizes.
Here in Mobile, our traditions span centuries, but they’re far from over. Come visit Mobile’s living history and help us write the next chapter.