WASHINGTON – The African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, released today a list of great ways to celebrate and honor African American contributions in our national parks during National African American History Month and throughout the year.
“We encourage everyone to engage year-round with the African American history that is preserved in our national parks, and National African American History Month is a time to shine a special light on the important contributions that African Americans have made to our country,” said Julie Williams, Senior Vice President of Community Partnerships at the National Park Foundation. “Our national parks tell our shared story, and we invite everyone to uncover something new, visit a place they’ve never been, and add their story to our collective history.”
Below are eight great ways to celebrate African American history in our national parks. Find even more suggestions on the African American Experience Fund’s website and on the National Park Service’s calendar.
- Louisiana - Enjoy a free concert featuring musicians from New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Hosted by Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Asbury United Methodist Church in Natchitoches, the performers will be playing selections from their acclaimed CD collection, Freedom is Coming: Songs of Freedom, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad.” Find out more here.
- Massachusetts - Experience the powerful story of the Civil War soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, an all-black Civil War contingent, at Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Find out more here.
- Missouri – Encourage all fourth graders you know to enter the George Washington Carver National Monument’s annual Art and Essay Contest! This year’s theme is “Overcoming Obstacles: Struggle and Triumph in the Life of George Washington Carver." Find out more here.
- New York – Take part in an African Beads Workshop or the African Person Puppet Workshop led by anthropologist and designer Vickie Fremont at the African Burial Ground National Monument. Find out more here.
- Ohio - Help preserve the incredible legacy of Colonel Charles Young and join the African American Experience Fund in its efforts to establish the Colonel Charles Young Leadership Academy at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. The academy will focus on leadership, and through community service, it will inspire young leaders, cultivate future park stewards, and rangers to follow in the footsteps of an “officer and a gentleman” who never wavered in his pursuit of excellence.
- Virginia - Spend the next three Saturdays at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site watching the award-winning PBS series “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.” Find out more here.
- Washington, D.C. - Celebrate the life of Frederick Douglass with a community-wide birthday party at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Live music, games, films, speakers and plays will fill the day! Find out more here.
- Everywhere - Experience Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by exploring www.WeAreStillMarching.com. Not only can you read Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech and record yourself reciting it, but you can also connect with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The interactive site transports you to August 28, 1963 and allows you to engage with the momentous march that epitomized the civil rights movement.
Established in 2001, the African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and telling the stories of African Americans that are reflected in national sites managed by the National Park Service.
AAEF supports initiatives to increase diversity in our national parks. With a mission to connect all Americans to the role of African Americans in our country’s history, AAEF’s primary goals are to protect the full spectrum of African American history through the preservation of national African American historic sites; connect youth, the general public and park visitors to a more inclusive interpretation of America’s history including African American history; inspire more African Americans to learn about, visit, and support parks and sites that reflect our collective heritage and history.
To learn more about the work of the African American Experience Fund and how to support its important efforts, visit www.aaexperience.org.
ABOUT THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE FUND
Established in 2001, the African American Experience Fund (AAEF), a program of the National Park Foundation, is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and telling the stories of the natural, cultural, and historical legacies of African Americans within the National Park System. Learn more at www.aaexperience.org and find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AfricanAmericanExperienceFund.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support, and enrich America’s more than 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy, and support America’s treasured places. www.nationalparks.org