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10 Great African American Historic Sites

Looking to immerse yourself in black history and learn how past generations of African Americans helped shape life in the United States today? These landmarks provide a good starting point

  • Alabama Tuskegee Black History Museum, 10 Great African-American Historic Site

    Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Tuskegee, Ala.

    The story of America’s first black military pilots and ground support is the centerpiece of the site, set on Moton Field, where the Army Air Corps began training the men in July 1941. Known as the Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen became one of the most respected fighter groups of World War II.

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  • Kingsley Plantation, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    Kingsley Plantation, Jacksonville, Fla.

    The plantation estate of shipping magnate Zephaniah Kingsley and his Senegalese wife, Anna, one of his former slaves, is home of the first archaeological dig dedicated to unearthing African American artifacts. Located on Fort George Island, it includes the plantation house, a kitchen house, a barn and the ruins of 25 of the original slave cabins.

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  • Madame C.J. Walker Building, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
    Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

    Madame C. J. Walker Building, Indianapolis, Ind.

    Sarah Breedlove, known as Madame C. J. Walker, was one of America’s first women to become a self-made millionaire, thanks to her creation of a successful line of beauty products for black women. The building, once the headquarters and manufacturing plant of Walker’s cosmetics and hair products, is now home to a thriving theater arts center.

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    MCT/Getty Images

    Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

    In 1866, Congress authorized the formation of several black military regiments. One of them, the 10th Cavalry Regiment, became known as the Buffalo Soldiers, based in Fort Leavenworth. These troops served throughout the West from 1866 through World War I. In 1992, the Buffalo Soldier Monument was dedicated by Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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  • Harriet Tubman Historical Site, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, Cambridge, Md.

    In the 19th century, abolitionist Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom in the North via the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses. Today, the 25,000-acre site includes the Jacobs Jackson Home Site, one of the railroad’s first safe houses, and Bezel Church, where African Americans worshipped at that time. President Obama proclaimed the site a national monument in 2013.

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  • John Coburn House on the Black Heritage Trail, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    Boston African American National Historic Site, Boston, Mass.

    About two dozen sites on the north face of Beacon Hill are part of this historic black community. These include the African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church structure in the country. The pre-Civil War black-owned structures also include homes, businesses and schools, linked by the 1.6-mile Black Heritage Trail.

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  • Berkley Square Homes, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    Berkley Square, Las Vegas, Nev.

    Built between 1954 and 1955, Berkley Square was the first minority-constructed housing subdivision in Nevada and attracted many of the city’s growing black middle class. Paul R. Williams, a renowned African American architect from Los Angeles, designed the homes, which offer an open carport, simple landscaping and a large backyard. The development was added to National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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  • Remember the past, help shape the future.
    Robert Deutschman

    AARP Offer: Remember the past, help shape the future

    Share your stories and help advocate for political support to protect your future. Join AARP to support living with dignity and purpose.

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  • Paul Laurence Dunbar House State Memorial, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton, Ohio

    Dunbar was among the first African American poets to receive international acclaim for his work. His home, which Dunbar purchased for his mother in 1904, was the last place he lived in before he died of tuberculosis in 1906 at age 33. It is now a state memorial and museum.

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  • All Star Bowling Lane, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
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    All Star Bowling Lane, Orangeburg, S.C.

    The bowling alley is significant for its role in the 1968 confrontation between police and students from South Carolina State College who were protesting its segregation policy. In the end, three people were killed and dozens were injured on campus after police fired into a crowd of demonstrators. The bowling alley, which closed in 2007, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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  • First Baptist Church of Petersburg, 10 Great African-American Historic Sites
    Richard Dawson

    First Baptist Church of Petersburg, Petersburg, Va.

    Established in 1774 on a Virginia plantation, First Baptist is the oldest continuously operating black church in the United States. It is also the mother church of numerous Baptist congregations in the state. The congregation created a school shortly after the church’s founding, and continues to value education in the present day.

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  • AARP Baby Boomers (Sean McCabe)
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