Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Lahoma Scarlette | AFAR Travel | February 11, 2021
Across the country, a number of compelling museums, monuments, and landmark trails commemorate significant moments in African American history.
African American history and culture are inseparable from the greater legacy and identity of the United States. Across the country, a number of compelling museums, monuments, and landmark trails commemorate significant moments in African American history—both the traumatic and the triumphant.
At many of these locations—some existing in concrete and others, only now, in concept—it is possible to experience what writer and professor Deborah D. Douglas calls “history you can touch.” As Douglas put it in a 2021 interview with AFAR, “The trick about the story of the Civil Rights movement is that we think that it was so long ago—at a time we can barely even imagine. But you can [still] go someplace and touch places and spaces that were critical to that period.”
This list is by no means comprehensive, but rather, one to build and build on. Here are 21 locations where you can learn more. —The Editors
“Absolute Equality” Mural
On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas, and issued General Order No. 3, which declared more than 250,000 remaining enslaved Black people in Texas were free—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was formally issued. A detail that’s not widely mentioned in the story of Juneteenth is that many of the soldiers who marched alongside General Granger on that fateful day were Black members of the United States Colored Troops.
Soon, this detail will be depicted in a new, permanent 5,000-square-foot mural by Houston-based artist Reginald Adams. Titled Absolute Equality, it is set to be unveiled in Galveston on June 19, 2021. Developed by the Juneteenth Legacy Project, the mural will illustrate a range of historical figures and events related to Juneteenth, from a portrait of Harriet Tubman to images of Abraham Lincoln holding the Emancipation proclamation and General Granger issuing the order accompanied by Black Union soldiers. At the mural, which will overlook property that once served as General Granger’s headquarters, visitors will be able to hold their phones up to the paintings and glean historical information about specific images through a special app designed for the project.