Top 10 Places in Maryland to Learn About African American History


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Anna Porter, Staff Writer

Maryland is full of unique and diverse history with so many places to learn about it. To celebrate February being Black History Month go out and learn about black history with a chance to be featured on the morning announcements. In your class of 23′ or 24′ google classrooms there should be a post on the stream labeled Black History Month Local Field Trips. In that post, you will find a list of places to visit and a google form to fill out once you have gone. Below are all the sites on the list and information about each of them.

1. Frederick Douglass Driving Tour: 

Following in His Footsteps – Maryland’s Frederick Douglass Driving Tour 

Frederick Douglass was born on a farm on the banks of the Tuckahoe Creek. He was separated from his mother when he was a baby and Douglass lived for a few years with his grandmother, Betty Bailey. But then at the age of six, he was moved away from her to live and work on the Wye House plantation in Maryland. In 1838 Frederick Douglass escaped slavery disguised as a sailor. He then went to New York and became famous for his anti-slavery writing and speeches. You can learn more about Frederick Douglass, Maryland’s very own abolitionist, social reformer, writer and orator on the Frederick Douglass driving tour. The tour starts on the eastern shore and takes you through Annapolis, Baltimore and DC. On the way you get to see many landmarks that commemorate the famed abolitionist.

2. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park: 

Harriet Tubman UGRR 

Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross and she was one of 11 children of Harriet and Benjamin Ross and she was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland. While she was enslaved she was hit on the head with a heavyweight and she experienced headaches and seizures for the rest of her life. She changed her name to Harriet shortly after she was married in order to honor her mother. “The 17-acre Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center invites visitors to experience Tubman’s world through exhibits that are informative and emotive, providing an in-depth understanding of Tubman’s early years spent in Maryland’s Choptank River region and her legacy as a leader, liberator and humanitarian in the resistance movement of the Underground Railroad.”-Harriet Tubman UGRR 

3. Banneker-Douglass Museum: 

Banneker-Douglass Museum

Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician and astronomer. He was born November 1731 in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. Despite being mostly self-taught Banneker became one of the first African American’s to gain distinction in science. “As the State of Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum serves to document, to interpret, and to promote African American history and culture (particularly in Maryland) through exhibitions, programs, and projects in order to improve the understanding and appreciation of America’s rich cultural diversity for all.”-Banneker-Douglass Museum 

4. Banneker Historic Park & Museum:

Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum

“The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum is a Baltimore County Park that honors the land and legacy of a Free African American man who lived during the 1700s. Located on 142 acres in the Patapsco River Valley, the Park & Museum offers public and private programs focused on Banneker’s life and his relationship to the land he inhabited.” –Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum

5. Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park:

 Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park

“According to census records from 1880 to 1920, between 22 and 37 people lived in the three cabins. The residents were both black and white and worked as farm laborers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and laundresses. They likely shared household tasks and sold produce and hand-made articles to travelers on Brookville Road. The cross-section of cultures found here is representative of the unique African American folk experience.”-Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park There are many volunteers dressed up in clothes from the time period. They give interactive tours, play old-fashioned games and participate in hands-on activities from the time period.

6. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum:

The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It was established in 1983 and it was the first wax museum in Baltimore and the first wax museum of African American history in the whole country. “The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum is among the nation’s most dynamic cultural and educational institutions. Because it is a wax museum committed solely to the study and preservation of African American history, it is also among the most unique. Primarily, the presentation of life-size, life-like wax figures highlighting historical and contemporary personalities of African ancestry defines its uniqueness.”

7. The USS Constellation (Civil War-era vessel):

Historic Ships in Baltimore | Home

The USS Constellation was a vessel from the Civil war and it “is the last surviving battleship of the American Civil War and was instrumental in fighting The African slave trade”-USS Constellation It is currently located at Pier 1 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. “Here, you can hop aboard to take a tour, talk to a crewmember, participate in the Parrott rifle drill, or see what’s cooking in the galley. Additionally, the Constellation participates in educational and overnight programs for all ages.” –USS Constellation It also holds over 50,000 objects, photographs, and documents.

8. The B&O African American Oral Histories

“In the late 19th century, an overzealous publicity agent developed a trade show exhibit for a major American railroad headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. This exhibit survived the railroad that sponsored it and grew to become a “national treasure” of railroad artifacts. Today, it comprises the collection of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, the oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world.”- In June 2020 The African American Oral History Project started to collect stories about the experiences of African Americans around the railroad and the transportation industry.

9. Reginald F. Lewis Museum:

Reginald F. Lewis Museum 

Reginald Lewis was a very successful African American businessman in the 1980’s. He was the first African American to build a billion dollar company and in 1993 Forbes listed him among the 400 richest Americans. “The Lewis Museum, the largest African American museum in Maryland, has been the authentic voice of Maryland African American history and culture since it opened in 2005. We tell our story through our permanent collection, special exhibitions, educational programs and public events.” –Reginald F. Lewis Museum 

10. Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park:

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

“Explore history by hiking the Underground Railroad Experience Trail , walk the peaceful and historic park grounds, visit the Woodlawn Manor House or the Woodlawn Museum in the 1832 stone barn. Woodlawn Manor House was constructed in the early 1800s.  Dr. William Palmer and his son Benjamin were the longest property owners from the early 1800s to early 1900s. Francis Scott Key was a visitor when the home also served as a boarding school. In the late 1970s Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission purchased the property from the McKeever family establishing Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park.”-Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park