This museum is uniquely housed in the historic Greyhound Bus station where 21 Freedom Riders staged a nonviolent protest on a bus ride in March 1961. Visitors can follow the young people’s story on outside panels, and they are invited to share their personal stories in a video exhibit and explore artwork inspired by the riders. Group tours are available with a reservation.
2. California African American Museum – Los Angeles
Founded in 1981, the California African American Museum has three full-size exhibition galleries, a theater hall and a courtyard glass ceiling measuring 14,000 square feet. A permanent exhibition displays art and artifacts tracing historical Black experiences. There is also a traveling exhibit on the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s first 40 years and a display made out of hair relaxer.
3, National Civil Rights Museum – Memphis, Tennessee
The National Civil Rights Museum was built in 1987 around the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Exhibitions include a display on the rise and fall of the misunderstood Black Panthers and re-creations of student lunch counter sit-ins and Rosa Park’s Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.
4. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in 2004 with the mission to “reveal freedom’s heroes from the… Underground Railroad to contemporary times.” It does that through exhibits exposing the evils of enslavement, such as The Slave Pen – John W. Anderson’s holding shelter, which was recovered from a Kentucky farm and used to transport enslaved people for sale.
5. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum – Baltimore, Maryland
The Blacks in Wax Museum uniquely showcases life-sized wax sculptures displaying current and historical figures with African ancestry. Drs. Elmer and Joanne Martin founded the first national museum of its kind in 1983 with the goal to create interest in African-American history with little-known facts. It features a full-scale slave ship replica and lynched wax figures.