Across the United States, there are Black history museums endeavoring to tell the African-American story. From highly funded national institutions to volunteer-aided communal initiatives, museums play a major role in documenting and remembering historic eras, leaders, and injustices that have shaped the Black experience over the last five centuries.Many well-known museums deal with the lasting legacy of slavery, the cruel, sustained anti-Black system of Jim Crow in the Southern States, and the stories of the Civil Rights Movement. But there are also spaces dedicated to lesser-known heroes, sporting pioneers, and African-American art and culture.\u00a0Below is a selection of stand-out Black history museums and civil rights museums, as well as a state-by-state list of Black history museums near you. 1. National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee \u201cI just want to do God\u2019s will. And He\u2019s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I\u2019ve looked over. And I\u2019ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.\u201d Martin Luther King Jr. giving his Promised Land speech the night before his murder in 1968. Photo by Mobilus In Mobili on Flickr On April 4th, 1968, the morning after delivering his well-remembered Promised Land speech, civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Dr. King\u2019s murder sent shockwaves across the world, but rather than break the will of activists, it galvanized Black Americans to continue their demand for freedom. The National Civil Rights Museum is located steps from the site of MLK\u2019s death. Through hundreds of artifacts, videos, and oral histories, the museum\u2019s exhibits detail the Black American experience, from the advent of slavery through to life under Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. Visitors can board a bus to relive the experience of Montgomery bus boycott leader Rosa Parks, and sit at the original lunch counter where Greensboro students staged sit-ins in 1960. 2. Whitney Plantation, Wallace, Louisiana \u201cThe history of this country is rooted in slavery. If you don\u2019t understand the source of the problem, how can you solve it?\u201d Ibrahima Seck, Director of Research at the Whitney Plantation. Photo courtesy of the Whitney Plantation Louisiana\u2019s history is marred by slavery and the plantation system. In the view of retired white lawyer John Cummings, Louisiana, and the wider United States, has yet to seriously reconcile its past.\u00a0Having originally purchased Whitney Plantation with what he concedes were purely real estate-based motives, Cummings helped transform the derelict site, located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River, into a one-of-a-kind Black history museum focused entirely on slavery.On arrival, guests are allocated a card detailing the name and story of an enslaved person. Visitors are shown around the very grounds on which slaves toiled in the Southern heat to cultivate sugar and rice during the 18th and 19th centuries. Original slave cabins, the Big House, and several powerful memorials are part of a moving, deeply insightful tour. 3. The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration \/ The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama \u201cOur nation\u2019s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.\u201d Bryan Stevenson, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vZg1HvexuNKM Equal Justice Initiative Founder, Bryan Stevenson, gives an introduction to The Legacy MuseumVideo via The Guardian In the middle of the 19th century, Montgomery was a hub for the slave trade in Alabama, itself one of the USA\u2019s most entrenched slave-owning regions. In 2018, the Equal Justice Initiative opened the doors to The Legacy Museum, built on the site of a former slave warehouse, and just a short walk from what was one of the busiest slave auction houses in America.From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is an unflinching retrospect of the Black experience in the United States, chronicling the history of slavery, lynching, segregation, and civil rights, as well as highlighting a legacy of economic and penal injustices for Black communities.Through digitalized first-hand accounts, videos, artworks, and interactive exhibits, the museum provides an insight into systemic inequalities suffered by the Black community throughout history, with present-day focus on mass incarceration and the Black Lives Matter movement. 4. The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, Selma, Alabama \u201cTheir cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.\u201d Former US President Lyndon B. Johnson on the introduction of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash In March 1965, America was coming to terms with the events of \u201cBloody Sunday\u201d. Civil rights activists, silently and peacefully marching from Selma to Montgomery in the name of voting rights, were set upon by state troopers with clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas.Borrowing a line from civil rights activists, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave his groundbreaking \u201cWe Shall Overcome\u201d speech the next week, in an impassioned voting-rights plea to the US Congress. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists are said to have wept openly after the speech \u2013 the passing of the Voting Rights Act, which banned practices used in Southern states to systemically deny the Black vote, is seen as a legislative landmark for the Civil Rights Movement.Selma\u2019s National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, located at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where violence erupted all those years ago, is more than a civil rights museum. It\u2019s a time capsule and a dedication to those who marched for justice in 1965. See cast footprints and original torn clothing of those who marched. Peer through time at powerful black and white photographs, and learn about the unsung leaders of the movement. 5. The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York \u201cI\u2019m most proud that we were able to give exposure to a variety of diasporic artists. It wasn\u2019t about being a museum or being this, that, or the other. It was about making a human connection with people who were interested in the same things that we were, but out of another culture.\u201d Edward S. Spriggs, former director of The Studio Museum. Photo via The Studio Museum on Instagram From occupying a cramped space above a liquor store in 1968 to building a brand-new, multi-million-dollar home which is set to open in 2021, the Studio Museum\u2019s original aim of championing Black art and culture has been a huge success.The Studio promotes the work of both up-and-coming and established artists of African descent. Every year the museum hosts an artist in residence, many of whom have gone on to forge hugely successful careers. The permanent collection boasts thousands of pieces including everything from drawings and prints to photographs and installations, all by Black American artists and members of the African diaspora. 6. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Ohio \u201cThe American people have this to learn: that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.\u201d Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad Agent, 1886. Escaped slaves arrive in Philadelphia in 1856, with help from Underground Railroad agents. It\u2019s estimated that over 100,000 people escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. This network of dedicated abolitionists provided safehouses and onward passage for those seeking refuge in American free states and Canada.Ohio was a well-trodden state on the path to freedom for many escaped slaves. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati celebrates and tells the stories of ordinary people who risked imprisonment, and in some cases their lives, in the name of justice.\u00a0Visitors learn about heroic railroad agents and passengers like Harriet Tubman, a former slave who guided escapees to free states and Canada; Henry \u2018Box\u2019 Brown, whose journey to freedom was endured over 27 hours in a large wooden box, and John Parker, who actively sought slaves in Kentucky and aided their escape to neighboring Ohio.This unique Black history museum also aims to fight the continued scourge of slavery and trafficking around the globe through education and outreach programs. 7. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC \u201cAnd, yes, a clear-eyed view of history can make us uncomfortable, and shake us out of familiar narratives. But it is precisely because of that discomfort that we learn and grow and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect. That\u2019s the American story that this museum tells \u2014 one of suffering and delight; one of fear but also of hope; of wandering in the wilderness and then seeing out on the horizon a glimmer of the Promised Land.\u201d Former US President Barack Obama, opening the NMAAHC in 2016. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vuH-tAj4WA2Y Located in the US capital, right on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture aims to highlight every aspect of the African-American experience.Exhibits tell deeply moving stories of slavery, detail the immeasurable influence that Black artists had on music, remember the efforts of Black soldiers, trace the victories and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, and so much more.Its collection is one of, if not the most extensive in existence, detailing 500 years of constantly evolving Black history and culture in America. Activists, politicians, musicians, sportspeople, and the regular Black folk of the United States are remembered and celebrated here.The museum exhibits artifacts detailing the good, bad, and ugly of America\u2019s past and present. See Chuck Berry\u2019s red 1973 Cadillac and the remnants of a slave ship. Find headgear worn by sporting hero Muhammad Ali, and the glass-topped casket of murdered teenager Emmet Till on this all-encompassing journey through Black history. 8. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri \u201cI won't 'have it made' until the most underprivileged Negro in Mississippi can live in equal dignity with anyone else in America.\u201d Major League Baseball star and civil rights activist Jackie Robinson speaking in 1960. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vCvxR7Yfig1c The world of American sports that we see today, led by Black athletes, is in stark contrast to the segregated playing field of the past.From the turn of the 20th century, having been barred from participating in the Major Leagues, talented Black baseball players were forced to organize their own games and competitions, with professional leagues eventually spawning in the 1920s. It wasn\u2019t until Jackie Robinson took his place at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 that a Black player would play non-segregated professional baseball again.The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is one of the most intriguing Black history museums, detailing a story that transcends sport. It documents the tale of defiant Black baseball players who traveled across the United States, refusing to let the injustices of society stop them from enjoying America\u2019s pastime.Visitors can stand among great Black players like Buck O'Neil, Satchel Paige, and, of course, Jackie Robinson on the Field of Legends. Watch the history of the Negro Leagues come to life in a documentary narrated by James Earl Jones, and see exhibits full of clay-stained memorabilia belonging to these unsung sporting and cultural pioneers. 9. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston, Texas \u201cWe are home now though our flame flickers low. Will you fan it with the winds of freedom, or will you smother it with the sands of humiliation? Will it be that we fought for the lesser of two evils? Or is there this freedom and happiness for all men?\u201d James Harden Daugherty, author and former Buffalo Soldier during World War II. Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infrantry pictured in 1890. If you never paid much mind to Bob Marley\u2019s posthumous hit Buffalo Soldier, you might not have made an immediate connection between the song and US military history. The true story of the Buffalo Soldiers is one laced with cold irony, injustice, and bravery.Despite fighting in Union blue during the American Civil War, it wasn\u2019t until 1866 that African Americans were permitted to become full-time soldiers as part of all-Black cavalry units. The United States was still an openly hostile place for \u201cfree\u201d African Americans, and with few real opportunities, many saw joining up as a rare path to a better life. Largely, they were treated with the same contempt they had been up until that point. In an example of oppressed people being forced to oppress others, these units were tasked with, among other things, protecting the Western Frontier from Native American warriors seeking to reclaim their lands. It\u2019s believed it was the Native Americans who coined the term \u201cBuffalo Soldiers\u201d for these units. Why they did so is still a source of debate.Located at the Houston Light Guard Armory in Midtown Houston, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum aims to highlight the stories of all Black military personnel who have fought for their country, including during the American Civil War, both World Wars, and the war in Vietnam. 10. Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, Washington \u201cOur minds are nurtured, our spirits are touched and inspired, our sense of self is enhanced and validated by Black museums.\u201d LaNesha DeBardelaben, Executive Director at NAAM. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vg8873jtaKBM Aptly located next to a park dedicated to one of Seattle\u2019s most famous African American sons, Jimi Hendrix, the Northwest African American Museum does an exemplary job of showcasing the history, art, and culture of the African-American community in the Pacific Northwest.The museum works to a think globally, act locally mantra in its mission to promote an often underrepresented Black history in the American West.Visitors can explore the Northwest\u2019s history through a deep-diving permanent collection that includes exhibits on everything from African-American settlers in the area to Seattle\u2019s golden age of Jazz in the 1920s. This, plus an ever-changing line-up of award-winning temporary exhibitions, see NAAM stand-out as a bastion of Black heritage in the Northwest. 11. California African American Museum, Los Angeles \u201cThere remains an inarguable need to create inclusive, accessible, and dynamic spaces where all people can see Black lives and experiences valued and reflected.\u201d Cameron Shaw, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at CAAM. Photo by Jeremy Thompson on Flickr Los Angeles\u2019 free-to-enter CAAM leads the way in championing the pivotal contribution of African Americans to the cultural landscape of California and the American West.Located in the museum oasis that is Exposition Park, this 40-year-old African-American art museum is home to thousands of important pieces, dating as far back as the 1800s. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations by African-American artists and those from the African diaspora fill its airy halls.One of its stand-out exhibits, From Women\u2019s Hands, displays the art of five women of color depicting their life experiences. A yearly social media initiative challenges people to name #5WomenArtists, highlighting the underrepresentation of women in art spaces.Insightful tours, led by experts, take place throughout the day, and these are the best way to take in a brief introduction to Black cultural history on the West Coast. Where can I find Black History Museums near me? Across the United States, the cultural history and heritage of Black and African Americans is preserved in museums, through historical societies, and by tireless local activists and volunteers. Below is a state-by-state list of locations where you can find Black history museums and\/or delve into African African history in your local area. Tommie Smith's iconic Olympic protest as remembered at the National Museum of African American History and CulturePhoto by John S. Quinn \/ Shutterstock.com Alabama National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, SelmaThe Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration \/ The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Birmingham AlaskaIn the absence of a dedicated Black history museum in Alaska, the University of Alaska\u2019s Consortium Library is a good resource, as is this article spotlighting African American history in Anchorage.ArizonaGeorge Washington Carver Museumm, Phoenix.ArkansasMosaic Templars Center, Little Rock.CaliforniaCalifornia African American Museum, Los AngelesMuseum of the African Diaspora, Los AngelesColoradoBlack American West Museum, DenverConnecticutPrudence Crandall Museum, CanterburyDelawareMitchell Center for African American Heritage, WilmingtonFloridaAfrican-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Fort LauderdaleOld Dillard Museum, Fort LauderdaleThe Blanchard House Museum of African-American History & Culture, Punta GordaLaVilla Museum, JacksonvilleGeorgiaThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights, AtlantaApex Museum, AtlantaHawaiiObama Hawaiian Africana Museum, HonoluluIdahoIdaho Black History Museum, Boise IllinoisPullman Porter Museum, ChicagoDuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago IndianaFreetown Village, Freetown IowaAfrican American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids KansasThe Kansas African American Museum, Wichita KentuckyKentucky Center for African American Heritage, Louisville LouisianaWhitney Plantation, WallaceNew Orleans African American Museum, New Orleans MaineAbyssinian Meeting House, Portland MarylandReginald F. Lewis Museum, BaltimoreHoward County Center of African American Culture, Columbia MassachusettsMuseum of African American History, Boston MichiganTuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum, DetroitThe Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit MinnesotaMinnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery, Minneapolis MississippiMississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson MissouriOzarks Afro-American Heritage Museum, Ash Grove The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City MontanaIn the absence of a dedicated Black history museum in Montana, the Montana African American Heritage Resources Project provides details on the subject. NebraskaGreat Plains Black History Museum, Omaha NevadaThe Walker African American Museum & Research Center on the west side of Las Vegas closed in 2017 due to water damage but plans to reopen in the future. New HampshireBlack Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, Portsmouth New JerseyAfro-American Historical Society Museum, Jersey City New MexicoAfrican American Museum and Cultural Center of New Mexico, Albuquerque New YorkStudio Museum HarlemAfrican Burial Ground National Monument and Visitor Center North CarolinaInternational Civil Rights Center and Museum, Greensboro North DakotaIn the absence of a dedicated Black history museum in North Dakota, this article from Prairie Public News is a good introductory resource. OhioNational Underground Railroad Freedom Center, CincinnatiThe Cleveland African American Museum, ClevelandOklahomaOklahoma Black Museum & Performing Arts Center, Oklahoma OregonOregon Black Pioneers, Salem PennsylvaniaAfrican American Museum, Philadelphia Rhode IslandStages of Freedom, Providence South CarolinaOld Slave Mart Museum, Charleston South DakotaSouth Dakota African American History Museum, Sioux Falls TennesseeNational Museum of African American Music, NashvilleNational Civil Rights Museum, MemphisWithers Collection Museum and Gallery, MemphisSlave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, MemphisGreen McAdoo Cultural Center, Clinton TexasThe Buffalo Soldiers Museum, HoustonAfrican American Museum of DallasHouston Museum of African American Culture UtahUtah Black History Museum VermontRokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh VirginiaBlack History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia, RichmondWashington StateNorthwest African American Museum, SeattleWashington D.C.National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.West VirginiaBlack Voices Museum, Harpers Ferry WisconsinWisconsin Black Historical Society\/Museum, MilwaukeeMilton House, Milton WyomingThe Wyoming State Museum\u2019s traveling exhibit on Black homesteaders, Empire: A Community of African-Americans on the Wyoming Plains, tours the state regularly. Check local events calendars for more information. Know a great Black history museum in your local area that's not listed here? Drop a line to email@example.com and we'll add it.