Before the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century, the African American middle class was growing and many families were able to purchase automobiles and plan vacations. However, Jim Crow laws were still in force in many parts of the country, and black travelers, including famed athletes, actors and businessmen, could face denial of access to restaurants, gas stations and hotels (or worse) if they weren’t in the know about which businesses would accommodate them.
Victor Hugo Green, a New York City postal worker, launched the first edition of The Negro Traveler’s Green Book in 1936 to enable black travelers to enjoy a safer passage across the country. It had a 33-year run before falling into obscurity with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
There’s now a renewed interest in the book, as well as a golden opportunity for parents of all backgrounds to build a vacation into a teachable moment about lesser-known but significant places in American history. During Black History Month, or any time of year, discussion about this book and visits to relevant sites can provide an appreciation of what earlier generations had to endure in travel and, on a broader scale, their day-to-day lives.
In Greenville, S.C., the Greenville Cultural Exchange Center could be a base camp for this kind of enlightening journey. The African American history museum and culture center features rooms full of biographical sketches, news articles, tape recordings, photographs and letters of prominent African Americans. Just up the road, the John Wesley United Methodist Church, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was organized 1866 by a former slave and gained recognition as the first separate African American congregation established in South Carolina after the Civil War.
The city’s present-day public art initiative captures the resilience of more key figures as well as everyday people, including the Sterling High School Students statue and the Peg Leg Bates statue in the city’s downtown. Although, well more than 100 eateries along a mile and a half stretch of Main Street helped establish Greenville, locals will steer visitors towards the down-home Southern comfort food of OJ’s Diner (famed for its crispy fried chicken and warm homemade cobbler) and Grandma’s Kitchen for family-style meals based on recipes passed down through generations of residents.
In Charleston, S.C., numerous plantation tours provide fascinating explorations into pre-Civil War History. Drayton Hall, the Joseph Manigault House, Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House provide differing glimpses into the lives, work, culture and spiritual beliefs of slaves through various artifacts, tools and other displays. The back lot of the Aiken-Rhett House constitutes the original outbuildings, living quarters and work areas of the slaves, and they probably took their meals communally in the kitchen. A unique site, the Aiken-Rhett House retains both original outbuildings. Some of the rooms had fireplaces, and paint evidence suggests these rooms were painted vibrant colors.
Charleston’s Gibbes Museum of Art, the South’s oldest museum building, houses a prolific collection of American and African American Art from the 18th century to the present adding extra insight into the various sites around town.
Richmond, Virginia, is also home to significant Black History sites including the Richmond Slave Trail and Museum, which chronicles the history of the trade of enslaved Africans from Africa, and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, celebrating the life, public service and achievements of Walker in civil rights advancement, economic empowerment and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. Over the course of her 70 years, she was a bank president and founder, newspaper editor and fraternal leader.
Other points of interest include the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts — African Art.
Friendly Like Me, available for Apple and Android devices, is a first-of-its-kind app designed with the more than 33 percent of Americans who may need special accessibility accommodations while on family travel in mind.
Filled with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, Seoul invites travelers to unearth its many gems, and Seoul Tourism Organization is here to help travelers do just that. Through thoughtfully created initiatives like the Theme Tourism County Competition, Seoul Tourism Organization works closely with local districts to identify and showcase what makes each district unique and charming in all seasons.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through these pies from around the world, and maybe you’ll be inspired to take that next trip for a delicious slice.
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As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
With the holiday season upon us, resorts all over the world pull out all the stops to bring the joy of the holidays to family travelers of all ages. Here are five more resorts to check out this holiday season: