Georgia's Black History Trail: Landmarks and Sites Reflect Rich Heritage of Black Americans

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Georgia's Black History Trail

NOWHERE in America is there a clearer trail of the years of toil, tears and triumphs of Black Americans than in the South. In Georgia, in particular, Black historical landmarks weave an intricate path through more than 200 years of Black cultural, entrepreneurial and educational development. From Chubbtown, the North Georgia community founded prior to the Civil War by free Blacks, and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District and Sweet Auburn business and residential community in Atlanta, Georgia's historical sites recall the rich history of Blacks in the state and in America.

Summer events such as the Sea Island Festival of St. Simons Island and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta also celebrate the creativity of a people whose roots reach across the waters to Africa. The preservation and revival of these events and sites provide a unique opportunity for an intimate examination of people, places and times that colored our past and will continue to shape our future.

At the turn of the century, the state capital of Atlanta became an outpost of Black entrepreneurial and educational enterprise. The headquarters of the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s, it stands today as a symbol of the New South. Its rich history is evident in the number of Atlanta historical sites, including one of the largest consortiums of historically Black colleges and universities in the world.

Just east of downtown is the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District, the federal park within which lies the birth home, church and tomb of the martyred civil rights leader. Closer to downtown is Sweet Auburn, the street that thrived in the early 1900s as a premier Black business and residential community, and the African-American Panoramic Experience. With its replica of the state's first Black-owned drug store and a vintage trolley car, the African-American Panoramic Experience contains a permanent collection and high-tech exhibits that detail a city and a people rich in tradition, culture and scientific and business accomplishments.

Atlanta, however, is by no means the exclusive repository of the state's Black history. From its mountainous northern border to its sandy southern shores, Georgia abounds with museums, schools, churches and other sites pertinent to Black history. …