WORTH THE DRIVE: Celebrate Black History Month with a visit to these Ohio landmarks

The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce opened in 1988. A new exhibit celebrates its 30-year history. LISA POWELL / STAFF

caption arrowCaption
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce opened in 1988. A new exhibit celebrates its 30-year history. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Since 1976, Americans have celebrated the achievements of African Americans during Black History Month, occurring during the month of February. With its important role in the Underground Railroad and home base for many prominent African Americans throughout the past few centuries, Ohio boasts many opportunities to celebrate Black History Month.

Here’s a look at some of the best places to celebrate Black History Month in Ohio, from the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center in Wilberforce to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati.

National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center

caption arrowCaption
The 2020 "Art of Soul!" exhibition in on view at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce through Feb. 27, 2021. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: LISA POWELL

The 2020 "Art of Soul!" exhibition in on view at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce through Feb. 27, 2021. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: LISA POWELL

caption arrowCaption
The 2020 "Art of Soul!" exhibition in on view at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce through Feb. 27, 2021. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: LISA POWELL

Credit: LISA POWELL

Location: 1350 Brush Row Rd., Wilberforce

Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: $6 per adult; $5 per senior; $3 for guests between the ages of six and 17; free for children five years old and younger, Ohio History Connection Members and Central State University or Wilberforce University students.

More info: www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/national-afro-american-museum

The National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center works to preserve the history and culture of African Americans through various exhibits and collections.

Currently, visitors can browse through the “Art of Soul! Juried Art Show,” which features art pieces submitted from artists all over the country who responded to the theme of “Black Future.” Also on exhibition is “Rhythm of Revolution — The Transformative Power of Black Art 1619 to the Present,” showcasing the “visual flow of artistic, cultural, social, and political change in America from 1619 to the present day.”

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

caption arrowCaption
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati Situated near where many black slaves crossed the Ohio River to freedom, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has exhibits and programs that highlight the struggle for freedom. FILE

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati Situated near where many black slaves crossed the Ohio River to freedom, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has exhibits and programs that highlight the struggle for freedom. FILE

caption arrowCaption
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati Situated near where many black slaves crossed the Ohio River to freedom, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has exhibits and programs that highlight the struggle for freedom. FILE

Location: 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $15 per adult; $10.50 per child between 3-12 years old; and $13 per senior

More info: freedomcenter.org

Visitors to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will have a better idea of what the Underground Railroad and slavery were like in the area during the 19th century and beyond. Permanent exhibits at the museum will give visitors a glimpse into modern-day slavery, implicit bias, an old slave pen, and an immersive experience that will allow visitors a chance to see what it was like to escape through the Underground Railroad.

For a short time, special exhibits “Discover the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the 13th Amendment,” “Luba Lukova: Designing Justice,” and “Macon Bolling Allen: The First African American Lawyer in the United States” will also be on display.

ExploreBEST OF DAYTON: 54 unique places to shop for gifts, clothes and more in the region

Expressions of Black Culture Public Art Passport

Location: Multiple locations throughout the Cleveland area

More info: explore.thisiscleveland.com/checkout/447/destination-cleveland/2539/expressions-of-black-culture-public-art-passport

Looking for a free, interactive way to view art and other installations created by Black artists? You’re in luck. The city of Cleveland is offering visitors a chance to explore the most famous murals and other public works of art created by Black artists through the Expressions of Black Culture Public Art Passport. To participate, you’ll simply need to sign up to receive texts and emails that will contain the 35 works of art around the city created by local and national artists.

As an added incentive, those who check in at least 25 of these sites will be entered into a drawing to win a $200 gift basket filled with goods from minority-owned businesses in the area.

African American Cultural Garden

Location: 890 Martin Luther King Jr Dr., Cleveland

Hours: Open 24 hours per day; seven days a week

Admission: Free

More info: clevelandculturalgardens.org/gardens/african-american-garden

Located among the many cultural gardens in downtown Cleveland is the African American Cultural Garden. The garden, created to promote the education and interest in African American culture and heritage, consists of three pavilions that represent the past, present and future of African Americans.

The sprawling African American Cultural Garden consists of black granite sculptural walls, a “Door of No Return” made of sandstone that represents an “unknown transition,” the “Infinity Fountain” that represents the illusion of tranquility of the Atlantic Ocean and other powerful symbols.

The Tea Room

Location: Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus

When: Saturday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Admission: $15 per person and $10 for Ohio History Connection members

More info: www.ohiohistory.org/participate/event-calendar/ohio-history-center/tea-room

The Ohio History Center in Columbus will be celebrating an old African American Valentine’s Day tradition on Saturday, Feb. 19. The exhibit, called the Tea Room, is a contemporary version of an older African American Tea Ceremony that began in the mid-19th century. Each year, on Feb. 15, enslaved people were given the leftover tea, food and china from Valentine’s Day celebrations that took place the day prior. This post-Valentine’s Day celebration of enslaved people eventually became grew large enough to take place at churches, and a century later, at Black-owned tea houses.

The Ohio History Center is celebrating this tradition as a way for participants to network and learn more about the achievements of African Americans in Ohio and beyond.

Guests who attend this event must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry. Guests are required to wear masks while indoors.

ExploreO SAY CAN YOU SING?: Dayton Dragons extend national anthem tryouts

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

caption arrowCaption
From left, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Reginald Miller, superintendent of the new Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, attend a tour of the Wilberforce home of the highest ranking African-American United States Army officer from 1894-1922. The historic home was designated a national monument last month. Young was also the first African-American superintendent of a national park. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Credit: Chris Stewart

From left, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Reginald Miller, superintendent of the new Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, attend a tour of the Wilberforce home of the highest ranking African-American United States Army officer from 1894-1922. The historic home was designated a national monument last month. Young was also the first African-American superintendent of a national park. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Credit: Chris Stewart

caption arrowCaption
From left, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Reginald Miller, superintendent of the new Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, attend a tour of the Wilberforce home of the highest ranking African-American United States Army officer from 1894-1922. The historic home was designated a national monument last month. Young was also the first African-American superintendent of a national park. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Location: Bishop Reverdy C. Ransom Memorial Library on the campus of Payne Theological Seminary; 1230 Wilberforce-Clifton Rd., Wilberforce

Hours: Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. through March 6

Admission: Free

More info: nps.gov/chyo

Despite the fact that the home of Charles Young is currently closed for renovations, there is still a way for people to learn more about the third African American graduate of West Point and the highest-ranking African American line officer in the U.S. Army until his death in 1922. On Saturday and Sunday of each week through March 6, visitors will get a chance to learn more about Young and his involvement in the Buffalo Soldiers.

During a portion of the 19th century, Buffalo Soldiers, which consisted of multiple regiments of African American men, worked to protect settlers from Native American attacks and other illegal activities in the Plains and across the Southwest.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

caption arrowCaption
Harriet Beecher Stowe House2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati Famed author Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired to write her groundbreaking book Uncle Tom s Cabin when she lived on the campus of Lane Seminary where her husband was a professor. Beecher Stowe s stepmother, three half siblings and father, the president of the seminary, lived in what is now the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Many of Lane s students were conductors of the Underground Railroad or abolitionists. FILE

Harriet Beecher Stowe House2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati Famed author Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired to write her groundbreaking book Uncle Tom s Cabin when she lived on the campus of Lane Seminary where her husband was a professor. Beecher Stowe s stepmother, three half siblings and father, the president of the seminary, lived in what is now the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Many of Lane s students were conductors of the Underground Railroad or abolitionists. FILE

caption arrowCaption
Harriet Beecher Stowe House2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati Famed author Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired to write her groundbreaking book Uncle Tom s Cabin when she lived on the campus of Lane Seminary where her husband was a professor. Beecher Stowe s stepmother, three half siblings and father, the president of the seminary, lived in what is now the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Many of Lane s students were conductors of the Underground Railroad or abolitionists. FILE

Location: 2950 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati

Hours: Open for tours on Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Admission: $6 per adult; $5 per senior and student; $3 per child between 6-17 years old; and free for children five years of age and younger, members of the Friends of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Houe and Ohio History Connection.

More info: www.stowehousecincy.org/index.html

Participate in an educational tour, lecture or discussion at the former home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Her book is considered to be one of the greatest literary contributions to the Civil War and to the anti-slavery movement at the time of its publication in 1852.

About the Author