Although Africans have been in America since before the Mayflower there are few African American historic places. The first African to arrive in America was Juan Garrido. He was born in West Africa in 1480 and arrived in Florida with Ponce de Leon in 1513. Preserving African American sites takes more than money it takes love of history and knowledge of the world of preservation.
Many African American historic places have deteriorated with time and lack of upkeep. When remaining sites are visited you are making a contribution to keep American history alive and respect to those who came before. Here are 5 glimpses of American history through African American historic places.
- Lorraine Motel – The Lorraine Motel is part of the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the place where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The rooming house across the street is also a part of the museum. You can stand in the window where the suspected shooter allegedly stood to murder Dr. King.
- Tuskegee Institute – The Oaks was the home of Booker Taliaferro Washington in Tuskegee, Alabama. Born a slave in 1856 he found Tuskegee Institute. His home sits on the campus of Tuskegee Institute the University he built in 1881. You can visit his home and see where he entertained President Theodore Roosevelt, President Taft, Andrew Carnegie and other dignitaries.
- Camp William Penn – Located in Pennsylvania directly outside of Philadelphia was the first recruiting and training center for African American Army Soldiers operated by the United States Government. From 1863 to 1865 more than 11,000 free Blacks and escaped slaves were trained to fight in the American Civil War.
- Jackie Robinson House – The John Roosevelt Robinson House is located at 5224 Tilden Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. It is the home of the first African American Major League baseball player in modern times. He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers and played his first game with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
- Austin F. William Carriagehouse and House – The Austin F. William house is located in Farmington, Connecticut. It served as the living quarters during the United States v. The Amistad Supreme Court case in1841to determine the plight of the Mende people who were abducted from Sierra Leone by slavers.