Join us in celebrating Black History Month. As part of Interior's mission, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preserve and interpret important places that teach us about our nation’s history and culture, so that future generations can learn from the past. The many African American heritage sites protected and maintained by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service honor the contributions African Americans made to the nation. To help celebrate Black History month, explore some of these historic sites online and in person. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth home at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Growing up in the time of segregation, Martin Luther King Jr. was moved by destiny to become a leader in the Civil Rights movement. At the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia you can learn about his story, visit the home of his birth and hear his voice in the church where he moved hearts and minds. In 2018, King’s birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and King’s burial site were upgraded from a national historic site to a national historical park. The park honoring King’s life and work now includes the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, which served as headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Camp Nelson National Monument Informational waysides on a field at Camp Nelson National Monument. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Camp Nelson National Monument Camp Nelson National Monument in Kentucky was established in 2018 to tell lesser known stories from the African-American experience in the 19th century. A Union supply depot and hospital during the Civil War, Camp Nelson became a recruitment and training center for African American soldiers, and a refugee camp for their wives and children. Thousands of slaves risked their lives escaping to this site with the hope of securing their freedom and, ultimately, controlling their futures by aiding in the destruction of slavery. Operated in partnership with Jessamine County, a visitor center featuring museum exhibits on the history of Camp Nelson as well as a reconstructed army barracks building are located within the National Monument. Camp Nelson National Monument is also recognized as an official site on the NPS National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Caption Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Maggie Lena Mitchell was born in Richmond, Virginia, on July 15, 1864. Her mother was a former slave and cook. Despite her humble beginnings, Maggie L. Walker achieved national prominence as a businesswoman and community leader. She established a newspaper and was the first African American woman in the United States to found a bank. She is best known for her leadership of the Independent Order of St. Luke, a group that administered to the sick, promoted humanitarian causes and encouraged individual self-help and integrity. To understand a person, it helps to know where they came from and what they experienced in their life. Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site preserves the residence where Mrs. Walker lived and worked until her death in 1934. The Walker family owned the home until 1979, when it and all the contents were purchased by the National Park Service. Today, visitors can tour the house with all its original furnishings and learn more about this inspiring woman. Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge A boardwalk on the Holt Collier Trail. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Caption Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge Former slave Holt Collier served as a Confederate sharpshooter, cavalryman and spy during the Civil War. After the war, Collier’s knowledge of the wilderness and his expertise in tracking game allowed him to become a well-respected professional hunter. When President Theodore Roosevelt, a passionate sportsman, traveled to Mississippi for a private bear hunt in 1902, Collier was tasked with planning almost every aspect of the adventure. Roosevelt told Collier during the trip that he “was the best guide and hunter he’d ever seen.” In 2004, the legendary outdoorsman was honored with the creation of Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. Visitors today can explore the refuges fields and forests and spot alligators, migratory waterfowl and songbirds, wading birds, white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits and many other species. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site A statue of Frederick Douglass at Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Photo by Tami Heilemann, Interior. Caption Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Born a slave, Frederick Douglass escaped a Maryland plantation at the age of 20 and quickly became known as a talented writer, powerful speaker and passionate abolitionist. Committed to freedom, Douglass dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans, in particular African-Americans, women and minority groups. He envisioned America as an inclusive nation strengthened by diversity and free of discrimination.. A great place to learn about Douglass is Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. Called “Cedar Hill” by Douglass, the stately house was his home from 1878 until his death in 1895. The house provided the backdrop to his active political and warm family life. The spacious estate and well-furnished rooms are a testament to Douglass' lifelong struggle to overcome entrenched prejudice. Set behind the house is a small building called the Growlery. Equipped with a fireplace and small desk, it was a place Douglass could be alone and growl about ideas. Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge A canal at Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Caption Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Though it was established to protect wildlife, preserve habitat and offer outdoor recreational opportunities, Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina also reveals a complicated human story. After forcing Native American tribes off the area’s rich forests and wetlands, British colonists transformed the landscape into massive plantations for growing rice. For several generations, enslaved people toiled in the heat and humidity as rice became the economic foundation of the Carolina lowlands. The Civil War and a series of devastating hurricanes severely impacted rice production and the land’s primary use shifted to hunting and sporting grounds for the wealthy. The remains of canals and dikes crisscrossing the refuge are a reminder of the African-Americans who struggled and survived here. Booker T. Washington National Monument Booker T. Washington National Monument Caption Booker T. Washington National Monument Booker T. Washington was one of the most prominent African American educators and orators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rising from slavery to a position of power and influence over the course of his lifetime. After the Civil War, Washington worked tirelessly to help African Americans by promoting his strong beliefs about the benefits of self-help, hard work and practical education. In 1881, he founded a secondary school for African Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama, where students learned trade skills, discipline and a distinct set of cultural values. Called the Tuskegee Institute, the school continues to educate generations of students today. Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia preserves his birthplace and childhood home and tells the story of the life of this influential American. Washington lived at this farm for the first nine years of his life -- from his birth in 1856 until his emancipation in 1865. Here, he formed his initial impressions about education, race, and labor, impressions that would influence his life, career and ideas until his death in 1915. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Caption Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Harriet Tubman National Historical Park commemorates the work and later years of Harriet Tubman, the fearless Underground Railroad conductor and active proponent of women’s suffrage and other causes. The park is located at the site where Tubman lived and worshiped in Auburn, New York, caring for family members and other formerly enslaved people seeking safe haven in the North. The historic church and rectory and other structures are largely intact from the time Harriet Tubman lived and worked in Auburn. They provide a strong physical basis for telling the story of Tubman’s years following the Civil War when she was active in the women’s suffrage movement, in the AME Zion Church and in the establishment of a home for elderly, indigent African Americans. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve Timucuan Preserve night time display. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Florida is one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic coast. It also tells the story of 6,000 years of human history in the area. In the 18th and 19th century, the site was home to the Kingsley Plantation, where visitors can learn about the enslaved people who were forcibly brought to America and worked to provide wealth to the people who owned them. Pullman National Monument The Pullman National Monument. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Pullman National Monument Pullman National Monument shares the story of an experiment for equal economic opportunity for all. Founded on utopian ideas, the town of Pullman, Illinois provided workers with a safe community, a better standard of living and an environment free of limitations by race, gender or economic status. These egalitarian values aided in the formation of the first legally recognized African American labor union. Petersburg National Battlefield A living history demonstration at Petersburg National Battlefield. Caption Petersburg National Battlefield Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia recognizes the U.S. Colored Troops who fought during the Siege of Petersburg. During the Civil War, a total of nearly 187,000 African-Americans served in the Union army. In December 1864, all the USCTs around Petersburg were incorporated into the XXV Corps of the Army of the James. It was the largest black force assembled during the war and included 16,000 men at its peak. Overall, in fighting associated with the Petersburg Campaign, USCTs would participate in 6 major engagements and earn 15 Medals of Honor. Through their unwavering courage, these troops helped Gen. Ulysses S. Grant cut off Petersburg's supply line and sealed the fate of the Confederacy. Boston African American Historical Site The African Meeting house at the African American Historical Site. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Boston African American Historical Site Part of the Boston African American National Historic Site, the African Meeting House served as the religious, cultural and political center of the free black community in antebellum Boston. Church services, classes and celebrations were held here. It is part of the Black Heritage Trail -- 14 sites that tell the story of the African American community in Boston. The remarkable people of this community were leaders in the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad and the early struggle for equal rights and education. Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Rebecca Wynn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Caption Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge From the early days of European exploration, the Great Dismal Swamp was considered a wild and inhospitable place. As a result, the swamp was largely avoided by settlers. The swamp’s isolation, however, made it an ideal place for those that didn’t want to be found. For centuries, slaves escaped to the Great Dismal Swamp. For many, the sprawl of densely forested wetlands on the Virginia-North Carolina border was a stopping point on their journey northward. For others, the swamp became a permanent home where they established hidden, self-sufficient settlements on islands scattered through the flooded forest. It’s impossible to know exactly how many people called the Great Dismal Swamp home, but recent research at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge suggests that as many as 50,000 people may have lived there. Dr. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site Dr. Woodson sits at his desk. Photo from National Park Service archives. Caption Dr. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site Credited with establishing Negro History Week (forerunner to Black History Month) in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson spent most of his life gathering an accurate written history of the African experience in America, and his home was the headquarters for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Today, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., serves as testament to his efforts to inform the public on the role of African Americans in history. The home is open to the public for tours on Thursdays and Saturdays and offers interpretive and educational programs throughout the year. Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail People commemorating the Selma to Montgomery March on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Caption Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail On March 7, 1965, approximately 600 non-violent protesters in Selma, Alabama, departed from Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church with the intent of marching 54 miles to Montgomery to demonstrate for voter's rights and against police brutality. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were attacked by state troopers and volunteer officers of the local sheriff's department. The attack caused outrage around the country and became known as "Bloody Sunday". Two days later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a second march, which again had its path blocked by law enforcement Officers. This time they decided to turn back and not risk a violent confrontation. After a struggle in the courts, the protesters received an injunction, allowing a third march. On March 21 the official Selma to Montgomery March began with the final number of supporters reaching near 25,000 people. Five months later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in voting practices or procedures because of race and color. Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail includes an Interpretive Center and informational sites along the 54 mile route. The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Wendell Brunious performing at the Old U.S. Mint for the New Orleans Jazz National Park Jazz Masters Series. Rangers Matt Hampsey and Jon Beebe also pictured. Photo by National Park Service. Caption The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton and Charles “Buddy” Bolden all got their start in what is today, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in Louisiana. Visitors walk in the footsteps and stand in the concert halls where some of our country’s most cherished musicians performed. Locations within the Park Service’s jurisdiction include Canal Street, Lafayette Square and Storyville. Today, visitors can attend a jazz concert or ranger performance at the new performance venue in the Old U.S. Mint. A visit here is educational and entertaining. Nicodemus National Historic Site Houses on Nicodemus National Historic Site Caption Nicodemus National Historic Site In the 1870s, freed slaves left Kentucky in organized colonies to experience freedom in the “promised land” of Kansas. Nicodemus National Historic Site highlights the involvement of African Americans in the westward expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. One of the oldest and only remaining Black settlements west of the Mississippi River, Nicodemus contains five historic buildings representing the collective strength and desire for freedom of early African American pioneers. Freedom Riders National Monument A mural commemorating the Freedom Riders in Anniston, Alabama. Caption Freedom Riders National Monument On Mother’s Day 1961, a Freedom Riders bus was attacked at the Greyhound Bus Station in Anniston, Alabama, and was attacked again and burned just six miles out of town on Route 202. The Freedom Riders were a group of civil rights activists, both African American and Caucasian, who tested integration laws on the interstate bus system. The incident in Anniston was quickly reported in newspapers and shown on television screens across the country, shocking the nation and inspiring more people to join the fight against the injustices of Jim Crow laws in the American South. Freedom Riders National Monument includes the former Greyhound Bus Station in Anniston and the bus burning site in Calhoun County. George Washington Carver National Monument Statue from the George Washington Carver National Monument. Photo by National Park Service. Caption George Washington Carver National Monument The George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri is the birthplace and childhood home of the famed scientist, educator and humanitarian. Established in 1943, it is the first site in the national park system to be dedicated to an African American. The monument is home to the Carver Trail, which connects the historic Carver House, the cemetery where the Carver family is buried and 140 acres of restored tallgrass prairie. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site On February 8th of 1944 class SE-44-B graduated from advanced single-engine pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Photo from National Park Service archives. Caption Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Before the first African American military combat pilots could escort bombers over Germany during World War II, they first needed to pass their flight training. At Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama, you can relive their flying adventure and see where the “Red Tails” developed their skills to go on and become one of the most revered fighter groups in American history. Reconstruction Era National Monument Darrah Hall in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Part of Reconstruction Era National Monument. Caption Reconstruction Era National Monument The Reconstruction Era began during the Civil War and lasted until the dawn of Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1890s. It remains one of the most complicated and poorly understood periods in American History. During Reconstruction, 4 million African Americans, newly freed from bondage, sought to integrate themselves into free society, into the educational, economic and political life of the country. This began in late 1861 in Beaufort County, South Carolina, after Union forces won the Battle at Port Royal Sound and brought the ‘Lowcountry’ along the South Carolina coast under Union control. More than 10 thousand slaves remained there when their owners fled the cotton and rice plantations. The then-Lincoln Administration decided to initiate the ‘Port Royal Experiment’ in Beaufort County to help the former slaves become self-sufficient. Reconstruction Era National Monument includes Darrah Hall on St. Helena Island -- one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site The Little Rock Nine arrive at Little Rock Central High School. Photo from National Park Service archives. Caption Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas is a powerful reminder of the turbulent struggle over school desegregation. In 1957, nine African American students fought to attend the all white high school and became a prominent test case for the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. Today, Central High School is preserved and interpreted by the National Park Service and provides a historically accurate window into a critical moment of the Civil Rights movement.