There are many important historical places to explore on an African-American heritage tour of Nashville, Tennessee, from free African-American settlements and plantations to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Library. Two tour companies offer guided tours of African-American historical sites around Nashville. It is also possible to create your own tour, highlighting different aspects of African-American history.
Early Historical Sites
You can explore early African-American history at numerous sites in Nashville. Two plantations highlight the role of slave labor. The Belle Meade Plantation in West Nashville has recreated a slave cabin nearby. Former President Andrew Jackson's plantation, The Hermitage, has several exhibits about slave life. Other historical attractions chronicling early African-American history including the Tennessee State Museum, which hosts exhibits on slavery and emancipation. Fort Negley, a Union fort built by free African-Americans and slaves, highlights the role of African-Americans during the Civil War.
Modern Historical Sites
Nashville also offers much in the way of modern African-American history. Fisk University, the oldest university in Nashville, and Tennessee State University are both historically black universities. Established in 1866 to educate freed slaves, Fisk University counts W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington's children among its alumni. Across the street from Fisk is Meharry Medical College, which at one time educated half of all African-American doctors in the United States. The artistic history of African-Americans in Nashville is on exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Cheekwood. The Country Music Hall of Fame details African-American influence on country music. Cheekwood features the works of esteemed African-American folk artist William Edmondson on permanent display. The Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Library tells the story of the historic boycotts and sit-in protests by African-Americans in downtown Nashville.
Tours of Historic Black Nashville
Led by historian Dr. Tommie Morton Young, the tour features historical sites such as free African-American settlements, publishing houses, hospitals, Fort Negley, parks, art galleries and historically black colleges. Dr. Young discusses the impact of W.E.B. DuBois and the Harlem Renaissance leaders who lived in Nashville. Dr. Young also explains the Civil Rights Movement and the role of the boycotts in Nashville. Tour packages can be customized to include shopping and lunch. The minimum group size is 25 people.
Nashville Black Heritage Tours
The Nashville Black Heritage Tours Company offers a three-hour tour of Nashville with an emphasis on African-American contributions and history. The tour includes Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and Fort Negley. The tour is designed for a minimum of 30 people and includes lunch.
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