The black experience

Sites across the state explore African-American history year-round
hr-icrcm-stools

Visitors to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum can see the historic lunch counter and stools where four A&T College students sat in nonviolent protest in1960. Their act ignited the sit-in movement. (Photo courtesy of: International Civil Rights Center & Museum)

As our February calendar shows, sites in North Carolina are celebrating Black History Month with special activities, events and programs. In addition, a number of museums, centers and historic sites explore, highlight or feature African-American history throughout the year. Here is a sampling of those places, east to west.

Somerset Place State Historic Site

Creswell

The 100,000-acre Somerset Place (1785–1865) was home to more than 300 enslaved men, women and children of African descent. It offers a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation.

(252) 797-4560
www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/somerset

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Manteo

This national historic site, which preserves the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island, includes an exhibit on the Freedmen's Colony. Many residents had been slaves before forming a colony here between 1862 and 1867. Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony was an experiment of national importance.

252) 473-5772
www.nps.gov/fora/index.htm

Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station

Rodanthe

This historic site features exhibits about the lifesaving crews on the Outer Banks, including the all-African American crew at Pea Island Lifesaving Station.

(252) 987-1552
www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/park/chiclss.htm 

History House

Tillery

This project of the Concerned Citizens of Tillery commemorates the contributions African Americans have made to Halifax County and northeast North Carolina. The History House contains exhibits on the Resettlement Farm of the 1930s and 1940s and coordinates community projects.

(252) 826-3017
www.cct78.org 

North Carolina Museum of History

Raleigh

The role of African Americans figures in several exhibits, and the museum also offers the online exhibit "A Change Is Gonna Come." Accessed at www.nccivilrights.org, it highlights courageous experiences of blacks, Indians and whites during the civil rights period.

(919) 807-7900
www.ncmuseumofhistory.org

Raleigh City Museum

Raleigh

The museum features the civil rights-related exhibit: "Let Us March On: Raleigh's Journey Toward Civil Rights."

(919) 832-3775
www.raleighcitymuseum.org

African American Cultural Complex

Raleigh

In 1984, Dr. E.B. Palmer and his wife, Juanita, turned their own three-acre backyard into this unique, award-winning complex. It features African-American artifacts and inventions, exhibits on outstanding personalities, an African American Hall of Fame, and a nature trail with huts symbolic of an African village.

(919) 250-9336
www.aaccmuseum.org 

Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

Sedalia

This state historic site, showcasing the life and work of Charlotte Hawkins Brown, a pioneer in African American education, features a visitor center, Brown's gravesite and buildings from Palmer Memorial Institute, the school that Brown founded.

(336) 449-4846
www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/chb 

International Civil Rights Center & Museum

Greensboro

With the historic F.W. Woolworth lunch counter as its centerpiece, the museum's exhibits tell the story of the Greensboro Four, as well as other key human and civil rights struggles and achievements, and covers discrimination in education, voting, employment, transportation, housing and recreation.

(336) 274-9199
www.sitinmovement.org

Mendenhall Plantation

Jamestown

The former home of Quaker abolitionist Richard Mendenhall and stop on the Underground Railroad houses artifacts such as a false-bottomed wagon used in transporting slaves to freedom.

(336) 454-3819
www.mendenhallplantation.org 

Levine Museum of the New South

Charlotte

Fulfilling its mission to interpret Southern history and culture from 1865 to the present, the museum's "Cotton Fields To Skyscrapers" offers interactive, simulated experiences such as sitting in Good Samaritans Hospital Chapel, one of the first African American hospitals in the South.

(704) 333-1887
www.museumofthenewsouth.org 

Harvey B. Gantt Center

Charlotte

Named for Charlotte's first African-American mayor, the center hosts both permanent and temporary African-American arts and cultural exhibits.

(704) 547-3700
www.ganttcenter.org 

YMI Cultural Center

Asheville

This facility, first known as the Young Men's Institute, was built as a community center for the families of black craftsmen who helped construct Biltmore Estate. Today the center offers permanent exhibits on local African-American history and rotating exhibits by African American artists.

(828) 252-4614
www.blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinations/ymi-cultural-center

— Karen Olson House

Share this article

top