Blacks in Travel and Tourism Is First Grant Recipient of Tourism Cares’ Diversity in Tourism Fund

Tourism Cares remains committed to create an inclusive industry with the first Diversity in Tourism grantee being the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, which powers the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative (BTT). The grant will support BTT’s Black Talent Tourism Directory (BTTD). The Black Talent Tourism Directory is an online platform created as a matchmaking tool for Black travel and tourism businesses, professionals and students to access business, employment, internship, speaker and media opportunities in travel and tourism. Through BTTD, a series of professional development webinars will be offered to help prepare Blacks in travel and tourism to take full advantage of industry opportunities. Industry stakeholders such as DMOs, travel associations, brands and media can join BTTD as industry partners and post opportunities to match with Black talent. Industry partner’s membership also support the maintenance and sustainability of the platform as an industry resource.

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Blacks in Travel & Tourism Partners with Black-Owned Receptive Tour Operator for U.S. Black Cultural Heritage Road Trip

The National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative (BTT) working in partnership with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), a Black-owned receptive tour operator based in Miami, FL, is launching the Black Cultural Heritage Road Trip on May 30. The Black Cultural Heritage Tours (BCHT) team will travel throughout the United States curating local, immersive Black cultural heritage tour itineraries and experiences through connections with the people and places that have shaped Black communities from the past to the present. “As the only Black-owned receptive tour operator in the U.S., our mission is to create inclusion and engagement of local Black cultural heritage community assets in the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, spurring economic growth and sustainability for small businesses and cultural institutions in underserved Black communities,” said Stephanie Jones, president of CHAT and founder of BTT. The BCHT itineraries aim to illuminate, amplify, protect, and preserve cultural heritage throughout the United States through storytelling and authentic local experiences that are life-affirming and sustainable.

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Celebrate Black History Month with Hampton’s 400 Years Forward Driving Tour

Celebrate Black History Month by taking a driving tour that highlights Hampton, Virginia’s more than 400 years of rich African American history. The 400 Years Forward Driving Tour explores heritage sites including Fort Monroe National Monument, Emancipation Oak, Aberdeen Gardens, Little England Chapel, Tucker Family Cemetery, and the Hampton History Museum. Begin your driving tour by calling ahead to reserve a visit at Hampton History Museum. Learn about Hampton history and contributions of African Americans in Hampton. After taking a trip through 400 years of history, travel to Fort Monroe, the largest stone fort in the United States. At Fort Monroe begin your tour at the First Africans in Virginia Historical Marker. It was at this spot in 1619 that the first Africans in English North America landed at Old Point Comfort. Next on your driving tour is the Emancipation Oak at Hampton University. A living symbol of freedom for African Americans, the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation was under this Oak in 1863. Designated as one of the “10 Great Trees of the World” by the National Geographic Society, this oak is 98 feet in diameter, and continues to be a source of inspiration and freedom for all. After taking in the beauty and significance of Emancipation Oak drive to Little England Chapel. Built in 1879, this is Virginia’s only known African American missionary chapel. Your next stop will take you to the Tucker Family Cemetery. One of the oldest black cemeteries in Hampton, it is the resting place for generations of the William Tucker Family. William Tucker, the first recorded baby of African descent born to be baptized in English North America. Finally, conclude your driving tour with a visit to Aberdeen Gardens. This historic neighborhood was built for “Blacks by Blacks” in 1935 as part of the New Deal Settlement. Out of the 55 New Deal communities proposed and constructed at the time, Aberdeen Gardens was the only Resettlement Administration community for Blacks in Virginia. Listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register, this iconic neighborhood is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is currently closed for renovations, however, there are historical markers in the backyard to learn more about the neighborhood’s heritage and original residents. Hampton is the site of America’s first continuous English-speaking settlement, the site of the first arrival of Africans in English North America, and is home to such visitor attractions as the Virginia Air & Space Center, Fort Monroe National Monument, Hampton History Museum, harbor tours and cruises, Hampton University Museum, The American Theatre, among others.

Celebrating Black Life in Las Vegas: Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future

The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, announces a special program Celebrating Black Life in Las Vegas: Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future to take place Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m inside the Historic Courtroom on the second floor. To watch a livestream of this event, click on the “Watch” button here. African Americans have played an integral role in the development of Las Vegas since at least the 1940s. It is a rich story of painful challenges and hard-earned triumphs. This panel discussion features individuals who have lived through the highs and lows of the African-American experience in Las Vegas, as well as those who document and preserve that history for future generations. The panel also will discuss the HUNDRED (Historic Urban Neighborhood Design Redevelopment) Plan, the city initiative to redevelop the historic West Las Vegas neighborhood. Cost: Free for Museum Members or with Museum admission. Reservations are required. Click here to RSVP. For more information, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit themobmuseum.org. ABOUT THE MOB MUSEUM: The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class journey through true stories—from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. The Mob Museum offers a provocative, contemporary look at these topics through hundreds of artifacts and immersive storylines. Numerous interactive exhibits include a Crime Lab, Firearm Training Simulator and Organized Crime Today exhibit. The Museum is also home to The Underground, a Prohibition history exhibition featuring a speakeasy and distillery sponsored by Zappos. For more information and to register, visit www.themobmuseum.org/events/.

Supporting and Celebrating Black Culture in St. Louis

St. Louis doesn’t just promote, but celebrates its Black-owned businesses and heritage, offering travelers more than a few experiences to support local Black entrepreneurs. Culinary experiences are an easy  one. Gourmet Soul Restaurant is reinventing traditional soul food in fun, innovative ways, while places like Turn are putting a healthy spin on comfort food. Pharaohs Donuts and La Patisserie Chouquette bring the sweetness with both local favorites and fancier pastries, offering curbside orders and – in Pharohs case – the occasional free afternoon giveaway! It’s not just culinary discoveries. Hospitality icons like Central West End Bed and Breakfast allow visitors to support Black-owned accommodations. A bit of yoga The Collective or art-based mindfulness at Shine In All Shades provide unique escapes all run by Black locals. Retail therapy is still a thing, supporting local businesses like the jewelry makers on display at Diversity Gallery or the authors sold at EyeSeeMe Bookstore. And while so much talk has erupted about tearing down and defacing statues, St. Louis is proud of its statues celebrating Black history, including Frankie Muse Freeman (Kiener Plaza), Harriett and Dred Scott (Old Courthouse), George Washington Carver (Missouri Botanical Gardens), and Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and James Cool Papa Bell (Busch Stadium). Visits to the Scott Joplin House or the National Blues Museum will bring the sounds of some of the nation’s most iconic Black musicians to life. For more information and resources to plan your trip, visit: https://explorestlouis.com/

GROUNDBREAKING PARTNERSHIP TO DOCUMENT AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORIC SITES IN CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED

With a common goal of telling a fuller American story, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay; the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership will collaborate to map and identify sites and landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region significant to African American history and culture. The project will map African American cultural sites in an effort to support their conservation and to enable the three states and their localities to fully consider them in their land use and development plans. This multi-state partnership will undertake unique pilot projects in each of the three states to identify sites and landscapes of relevance to African American history and culture. The project will also be guided by an advisory committee of professionals dedicated to preserving African American history. Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust, says, “Mapping African American historic places within the Chesapeake watershed is a critical first step in making sure that these places are protected and that their stories are told. As home to some of America’s first colonies, the Chesapeake Bay watershed region is already known to have a significant meaning to African American culture. Many major tobacco plantations were located there, as were many stops on the Underground Railroad. It was the place where Harriet Tubman and both Frederick Douglass and his first wife were enslaved. It includes many battlegrounds of the Civil War, as well as places of notable activism in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Generations of Black Americans have made their living from the waters of the Bay and have also used special places along the Bay and throughout the region for recreation. Historic sites and landscapes important to people of color are widely underrepresented in documentation and conservation priorities. This work will take one small step towards addressing that deficit. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC PLANS DIGITAL & IN-PERSON EXPERIENCES FOR FALL ROLL OUT

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) announced that it will kick off a year-long celebration filled with a variety of digital experiences and limited in-person events. The public will be able to engage and interact with NMAAM through various digital experiences available via the museum’s website and social media channels. The museum is continuing to share the story of the influence and contributions of African Americans on the American soundtrack. The signature From Nothing to Something educational program is now being offered across NMAAM social media platforms, along with other recurring programming such as Sips and Stanzas, the My Music Matters interview series and the Fine Tuning Masterclasses. NMAAM will also soon offer virtual tours of the museum and digital sneak peaks of selected items in its collection of artifacts. The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in fall 2020, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the central role African Americans have played in shaping American music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to honor Black musical heroes of the past and the present. For more information, please visit www.blackmusicmuseum.org.

NEW JERSEY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SITES, EXHIBITS, ART AND MORE

Milestone Anniversaries of 15th and 19th Amendments Make 2020 a Special Year. With numerous, easily accessible historical sites and special exhibits found at cultural institutions throughout the state during Black History Month this February and beyond, New Jersey invites visitors and residents to learn more about the achievements of African Americans and the impact they had in shaping the Garden State’s history. This year’s theme, “African Americans and The Vote,” offers an opportunity to reflect on two key anniversaries and their impact on the lives of black men and women: the 150th anniversary of the 15thAmendment (1870), giving black men the right to vote, and the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920), granting women’s suffrage. Special events and exhibits throughout the state will examine this aspect of American history. “More than a million African Americans call New Jersey home, so Black History is our history,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This February, join me in exploring the rich and meaningful contributions African Americans have made to our state and our nation. Beyond this Black History Month, I look forward to recognizing these stories throughout the year, and I am particularly excited to welcome Cape May’s new Harriet Tubman Museum in June.” Honoring a key figure in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, the Harriet Tubman Museum will display artifacts related to the pioneering freedom fighter along with African American art. The museum’s opening coincides with Juneteenth, which celebrates the 1865 executive decree that freed more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. More information about the museum can be found here. Visitors and residents don’t have to wait until June to learn more about African American culture in New Jersey, however. The state will celebrate Black History Month though performances, events and cultural happenings, which can be found here. In addition, visitors are encouraged to explore New Jersey’s many notable African American landmarks and important sites, including: Afro-American Historical Society Museum and Shady Rest Country Club, America’s first black-owned and operated country club, opened in 1921 and featured a nine-hole course, tennis, croquet and horseback riding. Prominent figures in the African American community, such as Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Althea Gibson, often frequented the club. Follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube for more events and news throughout the state.

DISCOVERING NEW YORK STATE’S “PATH THROUGH HISTORY” PROGRAM DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

New York State offers visitors and locals alike the opportunity to experience the “Path Through History” program offering a glimpse into the historic sites and museums that highlight African American history and American culture along with the major events that helped shape today’s society. From the Adirondacks to Long Island, New York State offers a window into African American history and American culture as it was a center for 19th century anti-slavery organizations, and home to Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and many other abolitionist and Underground Railroad leaders. Today, thought-provoking historic sites, museums and events throughout New York State help visitors understand the roles and lives of enslaved Africans, the struggle for freedom and equality, and the many contributions of African Americans. There are more than 24 Underground Railroad sites throughout the state and former slaves’ quarters can be viewed at many well-preserved 17th and 18th century homes and estates. The “Path Through History” program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, makes it even easier to explore Black heritage sites. Civil Rights, a key aspect of African American culture, are one of 13 themes used to organize 500-plus heritage sites across the state. The program includes identifying markers on major state highways as well as additional local signage with a distinctive Path Through History logo to help point the way. For more information visit http://paththroughhistory.ny.gov/.