Do it for the Culture ! One thing we love about New York City is that it’s a meeting point for different cultures and people. Certainly, this island was a prime major destination for African Americans seeking freedom in the early twentieth century and by 1916.
That is to say, New York had become home to the largest urban African diaspora in North America.
Here are African American historic sights you should visit, in order to know about our history and the contribution of black people to New York City.
- African Burial Ground National Monument :
This monument in Manhattan, New York, honors African Americans. Also, it offers an education on the hardship they endured in early America. Located in Lower Manhattan, this monument memorializes an estimated 20,000 free and enslaved Africans. They were buried on the 6.6-acre plot from the 1690s until 1794. It was rediscovered due to the construction of a Federal Office Building in 1991.
The remains of 419 men, women and children recovered at that time provided extensive insight into the lives of some of the earliest African settlers in America.
Today, a memorial at this National Monument honors them, recognizing their African heritage and their contributions to the early development of the city that became the financial capital of the world.
- Apollo Theatre:
The Apollo Theatre in Harlem is the most famous performance venue associated with African American entertainers. When it first debuted in 1914, this historic venue was known as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. African Americans were not allowed to attend or perform in shows. It wasn’t until 1934 that the theater would become the historic Apollo Theater, where some of the greatest musicians would grace the stage. For example, James Brown, Diana Ross, Billie Holiday… Even today, the landmarked theater continues to host concerts, performing arts, and the signature Amateur Night.
- Louis Armstrong House Museum
In 1943, famed trumpeter Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille settled into a modest house on 10th street in Corona, Queens, and lived there until their deaths. Having been carefuuly preserved and declared a national historic landmark, the house is now the Louis Armstrong House Museum, celebrating the iconic jazz musician’s legacy. Now, its open to the public with guided tours led each week to let viewers peek into the intimate life of the couple, while its collection pays tribute to his public accomplishments and contributions to the world of jazz from Tuesday through Sunday.
- Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture
This Harlem Cultural Institution was Founded in 1925. Named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to different things. Namely, the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. The Schomburg Center features diverse programming and lifelong education. It also features exploration that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts and culture. Finally, the Schomburg Centre is part of the New York Public Library System and was named after Afro-Puerto Rican Scholar Artuto Alfonso Schomburg.
- Studio Museum in Harlem
The Studio Museum in Harlem collects, researches and interprets the work of African-American artists and artists of African descent. It is a nexus for artists—locally, nationally and internationally—and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture.
Since opening in a rented loft at Fifth Avenue and 125th Street in 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem has earned recognition. That is due to its catalytic role in promoting the works of artists of African descent. The museum’s Artist-In-Residence program has nearly 100 graduates, who have gone on to establish highly regarded careers. A wide variety of education and public programs have brought the African-American experience alive for the public. This was possible by means of lectures, dialogues, panel discussions and performances as well as interpretive programs both on-site and off-site for students and teachers. The exhibitions program has also expanded the scope of art historical literature through the production of scholarly catalogs, brochures and pamphlets.
- Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, founded in 1796, is currently located in Harlem. It is the oldest African American church in the state of New York. Black parishioners established it when they left John Street Methodist Church in that town. During the 1930’s, the church attracted the likes of elite black scholars, entertainers, and civil rights activist. Joe Louis, Madama C.J Walker are just a handful of the many notables figures who attended sermons at Mother Zion.
What is your favorite place to enjoy NYC’s rich Black history & culture ? Tell us in the comments below.