State-wide Trail System To Be Developed Celebrating Indiana’s Heritage – State of Indiana

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Destination Development Corporation announced the development of the Heritage Trail plan. In partnership with the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, the Heritage Trail aims to tell comprehensive stories inclusive of all backgrounds with a concentration on sharing typically underrepresented heritage. Heritage trails are recreational and educational walking, biking and driving routes that provide opportunities to explore and experience regional histories. Heritage trails come in many forms, with many using a combination of informational exhibits, staffed demonstration sites and a wide range of digital and interactive media to help us learn about our past while shaping our future. By combining exciting physical sites and cutting-edge digital components, the Indiana Heritage Trail will provide a valuable opportunity to showcase the state’s commitment to learning and innovation for all communities. Through the development of the Heritage Trail plan, project coordinators will research best practices for heritage-related trails across the U.S., conduct an analysis of historic and significant sites in the state of Indiana, gather public input, identify and map potential trail themes and form a planning committee to bring the project to fruition. Project planners will explore potential trail themes including Black history, Native American history, European immigration patterns, industrial and environmental impacts and arts and culture heritage. The final plan for the Heritage Trail is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. Currently, IU CRE, OCRA and IDDC are working to identify and conduct outreach to key stakeholders, and plan to develop maps and themes for the Heritage Trail plan by January of 2022. To share ideas for sites, stories, and events that could be included in the Heritage Trail, visit bit.ly/HeritageTrailIN.

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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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/