To coincide with Nineteen this month – which takes place on Friday, June 19, and which aims to celebrate all those who have been freed from slavery in the United States – I shed light on some of the engaging black heritage trips that seek to honor black culture and history.
With TureByLocals you can find a whole range of insightful experiences. The company is based on a ‘private tour market’ specializing in connecting travelers with local guides for unique, customizable experiences in 193+ countries.
CEO Paul Melhus launched ToursByLocals in 2008 with the aim of creating a simple system that connects travelers with independent local guides around the world. Through the pandemic, he further adapted the offering by focusing on private trips with social distance and also offering virtual experiences.
He comments: “Our core values include immersing travelers in a destination’s local culture for authentic experiences, collaborating with and empowering local guides at destinations around the world, and offering a transparent and sustainable business model that encourages regenerative travel.”
“As society evolves, so do our offerings naturally,” Paul continues. “Our guides always listen to current conversations and then create new tours to meet this need. This is probably why we have specifically seen an increase in black history-focused tours in the past year. ”
Tours offered include one Black History Tour in Washington DC, which focuses on the history of African Americans. Highlights include Frederick Douglass’ home, Howard University and The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
IN Birmingham, Alabama, that Alabama Civil Rights Experience takes you on an immersive historical tour of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s. Key moments include a visit to 16th Street Baptist Church as well as the place where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat (triggering the 1955 bus boycott).
IN Savannah, Georgia, that Go on the Savannah African American Tour dives into the ‘lesser known’ history of the city’s colonization, including a tour of barracks (brick structures where slaves were held before auction).
IN Montgomery, Alabama visitors can explore some of the most important sites that defined the Civil Rights Movement and that helped change the fabric of American life with tour options, including a Driving tour or a 3-day foot solids Sacred Grounds Tour.
While many know it Miami, Florida due to its Latin heritage, visitors can also explore the black history that runs through the city’s veins with a Melanin Miami: 5 hour private drive with stops at several historically black neighborhoods, the offensive grounds of greats like Muhammad Ali, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Malcolm X as well as some of the best soul food spots in ‘305’.
IN Chicago, Illinois, on it Black story in 2nd Town tour, you can explore the social, artistic, business and political past of the African-American experience from DuSable’s House to the White House.
Louisville tourism also focuses on black heritage and has recently revealed its Black Heritage Tour Collection with new programming for this summer that will celebrate the impact of the African-American contribution to Louisville’s history, heritage and culture.
That Unfiltered truth collection will allow visitors to travel back in time, look to the future, and explore the stories of some extraordinary people who built the Louisville experience as we know it today. These new offerings will highlight the African-American influence in Kentucky with a particular focus on the bourbon and horse racing industry and Muhammad Ali Tourism.
Seven local attractions will share new black heritage experiences and historical perspectives that many may not have heard of before. Included is Ideal bartender experience on Evan Williams, celebrating the black bartender who made old-fashioned famous in the first cocktail book written in 1917, and Kentucky Derby Museum‘s Black Heritage in Racing Tour about African Americans who once headlined the thoroughbred racing scene.
The upcoming opening of Roots 101 African American Museum (to be opened on June 12) is an important milestone in the city. It has been dedicated as a ‘healing place’ for visitors to come and experience the journey of African Americans through art, music, artifacts and education. The new museum is located on Louisville’s popular Museum Row and displays both local and national artifacts.
Finally, in November, Breonna Taylor Memorial – the heart of Jefferson Square Park for more than 160 days – was moved to its permanent home: protesters marched piece by piece from Taylor’s Memorial to the new museum on Main Street.
Leading travel company Trafalgarhas meanwhile launched a new itinerary – Travel along the Civil Rights Trail – which gives life to the struggles and triumphs, the music and milestones, legends and heroes of the American civil rights movement.
The itinerary highlights the events and recognizes the people involved in the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom while enjoying the magic, music and hospitality that is synonymous with the southern states of America.
The tour focuses on the pioneers of the period, especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. starting in Memphis where he was murdered and ended in Atlanta, his hometown. Along the way, guests will connect with communities and meet a number of prominent activists and speakers who share their personal stories of growing up as African Americans in the remote south.
Over the course of nine days, guests will visit important historical sites along Mississippi Freedom Trail, inclusive Birmingham, Selma, Montgomeryand the site just outside Greenwood, where the assassination of 14-year-old Emmett Till at Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in 1955 is widely recognized as a catalyst for the movement.
Other key sites that pay homage to trailblazers include Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery; The historic masonry temple in Memphis (where Dr. King gave his famous last speech: “I have been to the top of the mountain”), the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; that Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum in Memphis; and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery.
Guests will take a moving walk over Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the sight of the tragic “‘Bloody Sunday” abuse on March 7, 1965. They will also enjoy a spinetingling performance of Alabama‘s Carlton Reese Choir, with an insight into how the choir supported Dr. King’s work on his visit to the state before dinner and a live jazz performance with music from greats like Sun Ra and Erskine Hawkins.
Of course, no trip to the south is complete without soul, blues and southern homemade dishes, so included is a signature ‘Be My Guest’ brunch of southern favorites in the lovingly restored antebellum home of Sandy Taylor and her husband Harvey, and an exclusive after-hours experience on Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis.
Gavin Tollman, Global CEO of Trafalgar, says: “It’s impossible to walk in someone’s shoes, but I think one of the best ways to expand the mind and gain compassion and understanding is through travel. We are in a privileged position to help tell these stories through this itinerary that recognizes the events and honors the people of these historic sites. It is a journey of enlightenment and I welcome our guests to join the context of the story and on the background of brave characters, southern hospitality and of course music. ”