Black Americans view travel as more than a vacation of fun in the sun. For most, it’s about personal growth and enlightenment. Yes, we want to have fun, but equally as important is what we take home from our travels – expanded knowledge, new experiences, a better understanding of our own culture and history, and that of others.
Philadelphia in particular has a lot of historic African American attractions for visitors. From the Johnson House to the Ben Franklin Museum, discover the top 10 historic attractions in Philadelphia during Black History Month.
The President’s House – Explore the paradox of slavery and freedom at the nation’s first executive mansion, in which President’s George Washington and John Adams lived during their terms and where nine enslaved people served the first president [runs throughout February].
Museum of the Underground Railroad – Independence National Historical Park boasts several Black History Month events at the Independence Visitor Center, including Music of the Underground Railroad, a family-friendly presentation and performance that explains the history of the music those on the quest for freedom enjoyed [begins February 2nd]. Also on the schedule: The Chew Family Papers and the Roots of the Underground Railroad, an interactive discussion about the beginnings of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia [runs throughout February].
Mother Bethel AME Church – The first AME church and the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans [runs throughout February].
The Johnson House – An important stop on the Underground Railroad; housed Harriet Tubman [runs throughout February].
Marian Anderson House – The first home belonging to the first African American to sing with the MET Opera [runs throughout February].
The African American Heritage Trail Tour takes you through the historic 7th Ward, the neighborhood of interest in W.E.B. DuBois’ book The Philadelphia Negro. Stops on the tour include DuBois’ Philadelphia residence, the Benjamin Banneker Institute and more [runs throughout February].
Benjamin Franklin Museum – While this founding father is known for owning slaves, he eventually went on to serve as president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. In this newly renovated museum, visitors can learn more about Franklin’s contributions to society and his evolving views on slavery [runs throughout February].
Philadelphia Museum of Art – The African American Art Collection Tour at the Philadelphia Museum of Art explores works such as the oldest wedding portraits of an African-American couple in an American museum and the first painting by an African-American artist purchased by an American museum [runs throughout February].
African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) – On display at The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP), The Unflinching Eye: Works of the Tiberino Family Circle and AAMP presents Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876, an ongoing display that recounts the stories of and contributions made by people of African decent in Philadelphia [runs throughout February].
Kimmel Center for Performing Arts – My Brother Marvin, a stage play about the life of musical great Marvin Gaye, comes to The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Based on the first-hand accounts of Marvin’s sister Zeola Gaye, the show reveals singer’s internal battles, fears and family secrets [from February 19-24].
For more information on Philadelphia’s Black History Month celebration, check out visitphilly.com.