For a better future, study the past.

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide from Visit Florida

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide
Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide available free from the state of Florida

In recognition of African American History month (history that really should be studied every day as a part of any study of history) I want to make you aware of a terrific FREE resource produced by the State of Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources.

The division has created multiple booklets in a series titled “Florida Heritage Trails.”  I want to bring the Black Heritage Trail guide to your special attention. This guide is now in its third edition and is a must have for any historian, armchair historian, librarian, parent, teacher, or person concerned with the direction the state is taking in regard to teaching history.

To quote from the official webpage,

In 1990, the Florida legislature created the Study Commission on African-American History in Florida to increase public awareness of African Americans contributions to the state. The commission was asked to recommend methods to establish a “Heritage Trail” to identify sites, buildings, and other points of interest in black history that should be preserved and promoted as tourist attractions.

This 64-page full color booklet features an incredible assortment of locations, some open to the public, others that are not. The guide is broken into three geographic area; North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida. Each region is then broken down by county and then by city. It is a bit unwieldy at first but once you use the guide it becomes easier.

I have a print copy from a while back but to use it as an example. I live in Volusia County, in the central region and find Volusia County beginning on page 40. Sites listed are both well known and lesser known. Examples include

Bethune-Cookman University

Howard Thurman House

Jackie Robinson Ballpark

African American Museum of the Arts

J.W. Wright Building

Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum

Mount Moriah Baptist Church

and several others.

Each listing includes an address and some list website information. In the version I have, phone numbers are not included.

Visit the website to view this guide online or download a copy for yourself. It used to be available in print and you may be able to find a copy through your library or in a Florida museum. I have even seen these guides available in used bookstores priced at varying prices. These are free so don’t pay unless you absolutely want a printed copy.

The state of Florida also offers a free bibliography of African American cemetery resources. Learn more HERE.

In addition to Black History, the state offers trail guides on these additional subjects related to Florida history. All are highly recommended.

1773 Spanish Galleon Trail

British Heritage Trail

Civil War Heritage Trail

Cuban Heritage Trail

Florida Historic Golf Trail

French Heritage Trail

Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

Florida’s Underwater Archaeological Preserves

Jewish Heritage Trail

Native American Heritage Trail

Seminole Wars Heritage Trail

Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail

Women’s Heritage Trail

World War II Heritage Trail

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Driving While Black
In Driving While Black, the acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin reveals how the car―the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility―has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. She recounts the creation of a parallel, unseen world of black motorists, who relied on travel guides, black only businesses, and informal communications networks to keep them safe.

From coast to coast, mom and pop guest houses and tourist homes, beauty parlors, and even large hotels―including New York’s Hotel Theresa, the Hampton House in Miami, or the Dunbar Hotel in Los Angeles―as well as night clubs and restaurants like New Orleans’ Dooky Chase and Atlanta’s Paschal’s, fed travelers and provided places to stay the night. At the heart of Sorin’s story is Victor and Alma Green’s famous Green Book, a travel guide begun in 1936, which helped grant black Americans that most basic American rite, the family vacation.

Order your copy of Driving While Black by clicking the link or the photo to the left.

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