Places of Struggle, Community and Triumph

The laws of changeless justice bind
   Oppressor with oppressed;
And close as sin and suffering joined
  We march to fate abreast. - John Greanleaf Wittier

From the first footsteps of enslaved peoples on American soil to where Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged us all to rise to his "Dream," national parks preserve the places where this history happened. Plan a visit to parks that honor and preserve African American heritage, attend an event, or simply learn about the heartbeat of American history that is African American history. You can also explore the many ways that the dedicated professionals of the National Park Service work to preserve and protect these sites and aid communities outside our park boundaries. 

Cover Caption: History Class, Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee Alabama
Photo description: B&W photo of teacher standing in front of classroom of students with writing on blackboard
Credit: Library of Congress; photo taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952)

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Empowered by a legal loophole, thousands of enslaved Africans escaped and found refuge at a Union-held fort during the Civil War. Fortress Monroe in Virginia became the site of the first “contraband camp”; a spontaneous community of self-emancipated blacks where inhabitants often became recruits for military service.

the entrance to a high school

Education & Schools

Learn about the textbook examples of African Americans overcoming racism by founding their own schools and desegregating public schools.

3 Buffalo Soldiers impersonators pose in front of trees

Buffalo Soldiers

Explore the places throughout the country that these African American men known as the Buffalo Soldiers helped build, protect, and operate.

a rustic cabin with two individuals standing out front

List of African American Heritage Parks

Visit these sites to learn, feel, and experience the heartbeat of American history that is African American history.

Last updated: February 1, 2019