Photo courtesy of Ann Fisher via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Ann Fisher via Flickr

Just last week I was discussing with my partner how The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air became a formative program for British kids in the 90s. He didn’t realize until he was older that it was significant that the family was black and affluent. He just thought it was a coincidence.

Mainstream television shows and films rarely depict African-Americans as wealthy and yet there are dozens of communities across America where the majority of residents are black and average income is in the six-figure range. It’s no surprise the city is home to some of these affluent African-American communities when Atlanta is a city filled with significant historical sites dedicated to black history in the United States as well.

Here are some you should visit on your next trip to Atlanta:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, nearly one million people visit the 23-acre site every year for inspiration, to learn, and to pay their respects to the legacy of Dr. King. Here you will find Dr. King’s childhood home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church (where he was a preacher), as well as his tomb. Permanent exhibits also display artifacts from Dr. and Mrs. King, memorabilia dedicated to Rosa Parks, and a tribute to Mohandas Gandhi and non-violent protest.

Atlanta University Center

The Atlanta University Center is composed of colleges like Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman, all of which have produced influential leaders in American culture and politics throughout history. It’s the largest private consortium of black institutions and boasts alumni such as Alice Walker, Spike Lee, Maynard H. Jackson, and of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sweet Auburn Historic District

Sweet Auburn is a historic district that developed as a black neighbourhood in the early twentieth century, when black people were forced out of the heart of Atlanta. Fortune Magazine once called the two-mile strip “The richest Negro street in the world,” and it now serves an exemplary place to see where African Americans were able to build their own American Dream despite harrowing challenges.

Apex Museum

The Apex Museum offers guests a journey through African-American history, starting in Ancient Africa. The exhibits change regularly, but they always stay true to their motto, which is that “every month is Black History Month.”

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

This new attraction has gained worldwide acclaim for its interactive exhibits depicting triumphs over discrimination. There are re-enactments of lunch counter sit-ins, protest marches during the Civil Rights Movement, and videos that advance the cause of equal rights for all humans.

Herndon Home

Alonzo Herndon is proof of the American Dream – he was born a slave in 1858 and worked to become Atlanta’s first black millionaire. He owned and operated a chain of barber shops catering to men of influence and parlayed those connections to build a banking and life insurance empire used almost exclusively by blacks. This historic, two-storey mansion near the Atlanta University Center is now a National Historic Landmark.

If you’re planning a trip to this hotbed of African-American history, don’t forget to check out these fabulous hotels in Atlanta on Hipmunk, starting at $79 per night!

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