Celebrate Black History! Cultural Heritage Tours in the Southeast U.S. Gabby Teaman July 27, 2022 Arts & History, Black History Month, Interests, Top US Destinations Black history goes way beyond the Civil Rights Movement, touching on everything from art and culture to the social and financial foundations of prominent cities. From soul music and soul food to sweetgrass basket weaving, Black culture covers an impressive range of topics. If you’re interested in seeing how the Black experience has shaped America, check out one of these educational and inspirational cultural heritage tours in the Southeast United States. Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (Charleston, Beaufort, St. Helena Island, and Savannah) [Above image “Slave Cabins, Boone Hall, Mount Pleasant, SC” by Warren LeMay on Flickr – licensed under CC0 1.0]The Gullah-Geechee people were West African slaves brought to the Southern U.S. in the 1700s. After slavery was abolished, they remained in the coastal regions of Georgia, Florida, and North and South Carolina. This allowed them to preserve their culture due to both geographic isolation and strong community ties. “Sea Island Creole,” for example, is their English-based language with many African loan words and grammatical patterns. Gullah-Geechee cuisine is filled with many staples of West Africa, including Carolina Gold rice and Sea Island red peas. To explore this unique culture for yourself, book some cheap last-minute flights and check out the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. It spans 12,000 miles across four states! You’ll tour multiple museums, eat at wonderful restaurants, and marvel at historic landmarks all connected to this small but enduring Black community. The Real Black Wall Street Tour (Tulsa) Before the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, this part of Tulsa was known as the “Black Wall Street” due to its wealthy Black neighborhoods and Black-owned businesses. The massacre changed everything, but the lives lost have never been forgotten, especially thanks to the Real Black Wall Street Tour. The tour was created by the descendants of those directly affected by the riots. They offer walking tours of the area that go in depth about the people, places, and events that shaped its legacy. Tours are available in both one- and two-hour versions, but both serve as testimonials of the true history of Tulsa. Related: How to Spend a Weekend of Black History & Culture in Washington, D.C. Black Journey: African-American History Walking Tour (Philadelphia) If you’ve always wanted to learn more about Philly, a prominent city in Black history, try the Black Journey: African-American History Walking Tour. It’ll take you through historically significant sites such as Independence Square, the Old City Hall, and the first U.S. Supreme Court Building. You’ll also hear stories from lesser-known destinations such as the unmarked gravesite of slaves who succumbed to yellow fever. The tour doesn’t just cover dark and sad events. It also shares success stories from the Underground Railroad and brings attention to such historical items as the oldest pieces of land owned by Black residents. It’s a celebration of survival just as much as a preservation of history. The tour is truly one of the best cultural heritage tours in the Southeast U.S. as it encompasses all aspects of the Black journey, including triumphs and tragedies alike. Memphis Caravan Tour (Memphis) [Above image “Slave Haven – Underground Railroad Museum – Memphis – Tennessee – USA” by Adam Jones on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]The Memphis Caravan Tour is a fun and comfortable way to explore the Black history of Tennessee. You’ll follow a marked van in your own vehicle, caravan-style. Then, you’ll weave around important historical landmarks such as the National Civil Rights Museum and the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. An audio guide will be available through a link shared with you at the beginning of the tour. During the tour, you’ll pass by Black colleges, Black businesses, and Black-focused museums dedicated to everything from voting rights to soul music. When the tour is done, you’ll realize just how much of an impact the Black community has had on Memphis and vice versa. Have you ever taken a cultural history tour? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!