Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Black History Month! Let’s celebrate our love for Black culture today, this month, and all year long. Have you wanted to learn more about Black history but didn’t know where to begin? Here’s a list of 14 Alabama museums to discover and add to your to-visit list. You’ll find the museums throughout the state, so distance is not an objection.
WC Handy Museum And Library Of African American Digital Music
WC Handy, the Father of the Blues, was born in Florence, Alabama. Not only is there a museum in his home town, there’s also a WC Handy Festival held each July.
Negro Southern League Museum
The Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham, documents the many teams and players that made up the league. Check out the “wall of balls” artifacts and well as official uniforms and sports programs.
The George Washington Carver Museum at Tuskegee Institute
George Washington Carver may be most famous for finding hundreds of uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. But did you know he also invented the “Movable School Bus” used to teach the local community about personal hygiene, nutrition, and crop rotation. Visit the museum to learn more about “the Peanut Man.”
The Jesse Owens Museum
Olympian, humanitarian, and Alabama native, Jesse Owens broke records and humiliated Nazis! The museum is located in Danville, a short distance from where he was actually born.
The Equal Justice Initiative presents the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery. Prepare to spend the day discovering how the past is present when it comes to modern enslavement.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute continues to center Birmigham as the crux of the civil and human rights fight. From shards of glass from 16th Street Baptist Church to a nightstick used to beat children, BCRI’s artifacts never let us forget what happened in Birmingham.
The Scottsboro Boys Museum
The Rosa Parks Museum
Troy Universty’s Rosa Parks Museum located in Montgomery is devoted to the matron of the Civil Rights Movement and details her life and family. Did you know Mrs. Parks, her mother, and husband moved to Detroit after the bus boycott ended?
The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage Museum
Tour the church and parsonage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There is also an option for a virtual tour here.
State Black Archives
The State Black Archives are housed on the campus of Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. There mission is to “obtain, preserve, conserve and hold materials on African American history and culture related to their achievement and general experiences.” This sounds like an excellent place to continue genealogy research.
Voting Rights Museum
The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute located in Selma documents the long struggle for voting rights for Black citizens through the use of photographs, videos, and artifacts.
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee was the site where Black aviation thrived in the face of segregation and racism. Red Tails forever!!
Central Carver Foundation
The Central Carver Museum in Gadsden honors and preserves the history of Gadsden’s first 12-year public school for Black students. Learn about the history, culture, and achievements of Carver’s hundreds of graduates.
Ancient Africa Enslavement & Civil War Museum
Located in Selma, The Ancient Africa Enslavement & Civil War Museum. The Museum seeks to depict the history of Black people from their origins in Africa, through enslavement, and after the Cold War.
I’ve visited some of these 14 museums and have been delighted to discover the others. Do you have any other recommendations? I am happy to update the list!
This is a great resource, thank you.
Very important information. I will be visiting these museums as part of my research on the Black Diaspora.
Thanks so much Marva, I’m glad this will help your research. I plan to spend a weekend in Selma visiting the museums and the library. The Selma library is rich in genealogy documents so keep that in mind if your research includes it. Have a safe and healthy day!