Honoring African American History

Mark DeSantisNPF Blog

January’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day served as an important reminder of the incredible work and perseverance of an incredible man — and the people around him — who led the charge for civil rights in this country. Dr. King’s story is part of the long and rich history of African Americans in the United States.

Collage of famous black leaders for Black History Month

As we commemorate Black History Month in February, we remember the totality of African American history. We recall the stories and leaders that came before us and we reflect on history that is currently being made. We honor the untold and underrepresented narratives of our American story, and through the work of the National Park Service we help ensure that these stories continue to be passed on faithfully, completely, and accurately.

With that in mind, we encourage you to visit sites across the country marking significant moments and chapters in our shared history. Our national parks are places that tell America’s proudest moments and reflect on America’s struggles. You can discover these stories and more by visiting: 

  • Cane River National Heritage Area (LA) — Gain insight into plantation life, the institution of slavery, and the Creole culture.
  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (OH) Walk in the footsteps of Colonel Young and learn how he inspired a new generation of leaders.
  • African American Civil War Memorial (DC) — Honor the service of the more than 200,000 African American soldiers and sailors who fought for the Union — and their freedom — in the United States Civil War.
  • Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site (VA) — Commemorate the life of a true pioneer and trailblazer. Despite adversity and hardship, Maggie L. Walker achieved incredible success in the world of business and finance as the first woman to charter and serve as president of a bank in the United States.
  • Pullman Historic District (IL) — Recount the formation of the first African American labor union and the role of railroads in America’s industrial past. Pending designation, this neighborhood will become Chicago’s first national park. 

This is just a snapshot of the wide range of sites that both the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation work to preserve and protect, in hopes of connecting people everywhere with our collective history. You can visit our African American Experience Fund  website to find out about more places that honor African American history.

Black History Month is not just about one story — it’s about the countless stories that helped shape this country to what it is today.  This month, we hope you go out and find these stories, share them with your friends and family, and help us continue our work in preserving the full spectrum of America’s diverse history.

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