Monuments provide an opportunity to learn and reflect. However, many don’t realize there are many important African-American inspired and designed monuments just waiting to be explored.
Most of these monuments serve as a testament to the struggles, achievements, and the rich lives of African-Americans and the African diaspora throughout history.
The passage of time has witnessed African-Americans advancing tremendously as a people. Many heroes laid down their lives in the struggle and they continue to do as we continue to advance and grow as people.
Today’s article looks at four important African-American monuments that you need to visit.
1.) Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Alabama
You will find this monument in Alabama.
During his administration as president, Obama dedicated this monument among many others. The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument bears a rich history highlighting the struggle of African-Americans in the South and the country at large during the civil rights era. Birmingham is notable as a bastion of civil rights for many reasons. For example, the segregation of Birmingham resulted in much tremendous suffering of African-Americans in the post-slavery period. However, despite segregation black Birmingham became a haven for many African-Americans seeking community and opportunity.
Birmingham is also where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other African-American civil rights leaders congregated and organized to push for change during the civil rights movement. Minorities of all kinds in America and the world over enjoy the result of these efforts. The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument is a constant reminder of this movement.
2.) Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia
Booker T. Washington is a name that every African-American household should know for all that he accomplished for the black community in the US. This monument is his story and demonstrates his beginnings as a slave turned vigilant leader and politician that advocated for better lives and better treatment for African-Americans.
Booker T. Washington went down the books of history as the first African-American to ever set foot in the White House as a guest. President Theodore Roosevelt, president at the time, invited Washington to the White House for dinner.
3.) Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument (Maryland)
If you go to Maryland, you can learn everything about the trailblazer and people’s hero Harriet Tubman. Tubman was an abolitionist whose face became synonymous with freedom. Tubman was commonly referred to as the “Moses of her People.” She spearheaded the building of the Underground Railroad, which provided a clandestine and highly dangerous system that led the enslaved to freedom.
The Obama administration dedicated this monument with the sole purpose of upholding the memory of Harriet Tubman and her important legacy.
4.) The African-American Civil War Memorial (Washington, D.C.)
Every year, many African-Americans converge here to commemorate the end of the civil war and to pay tribute to the many African-Americans who lost their lives due to their involvement (in many cases forced involvement) in the civil war.
People visit this place to connect with the departed souls gone of the bloody conflict and to appreciate the sacrifices made for our freedom. This monument provides information about the roughly 21,000 African-Americans that fought in the war.
It would be a big mistake to neglect our heritage because in so doing we forfeit it. These monuments are important places to visit to gain firsthand knowledge of often underappreciated and lesser-known aspects of American history. The good news is there are many monuments to visit and these are just to the tip of the iceberg.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.