Celebrate Black History Month with lectures, museum exhibits, performances, hands-on activities, tours and great ethnic dishes.
Michigan Historical Museum -- More than 90,000 Michigan men served in the Civil War, as Michigan was a strong anti-slavery state. The Michigan Historical Museum's Civil War gallery includes information about the individuals who served, the Michigan's link in the Underground Railroad and a tribute to Civil War heroine Sojourner Truth.
The Henry Ford --The Henry Ford Museum "Celebrates Black History!" with artifacts, performances, hands-on activities and food. Visitors can tour the Rosa Parks Bus, one of the great symbols of courage during the Civil Rights era, participate in the interactive show "minds on Freedom" and have some historic southern cooking at the museum's Michigan Café.
Attractions and destinations with an African-American focus can be found throughout Michigan as well, including:
A 12-foot high sculpture of Sojourner Truth can be found in Monument Park at the corner of Division (M-66) and Hamblin Avenue in Battle Creek. Dedicated in 1999, the monument recognizes her fight for black rights. Truth came to the area in the 1850s and a short time later purchased a home in Harmonia, which is now part of the Fort Custer Industrial Park.
Michigan's ties to the Underground Railroad can be found throughout the southern part of the state, from Berrien County to Wayne County. The Slave Room at Bear Cave Resort in Buchanan was the most unusual hiding place for escaping slaves.
The Underground Railroad Monument in Battle Creek was built with Kellogg Foundation funds in 1993 and is located near the Kellogg House downtown. Designed by sculptor Ed Dwight, it is the nation's largest monument to the Underground Railroad, at 28-foot long and 14-foot high. It is listed with the National Park Service's Network to Freedom registry.
In Washtenaw County, you can take a bus tour of the important sites including safe houses, homes of abolitionists and a cemetery.
Michigan's first African American congregation was founded by 13 former slaves in 1836 at the Second Baptist Church in Detroit.
The community of Idlewild, in Lake County near Baldwin, was a thriving black community founded during the aftermath of the Civil War. As one of the nation's most popular black resorts, it functioned as a gathering place for African Americans, and more importantly as a touchstone of black identity and culture. Idlewild played a crucial role in the careers of artists such as Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Della Reese.