Metro-Atlanta is filled with African-American historic sites, including in the National Heritage Area. The African American community has shaped our region’s story — one we can rediscover every day in the Atlanta area. We celebrate and reflect on this history throughout the year.
Here’s a list of African-American historic sites you and your family can visit — first in the Arabia Mountain NHA and then in the broader Atlanta metro.
1. The Flat Rock Archives: Part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, the Flat Rock Archives preserves and promotes the history of one of Georgia’s oldest African American communities – Flat Rock. Founded following the Civil War by local African American leaders in rural Georgia, this tight-knit community has managed to survive and even grow throughout the time of Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and up until the present day. You can sign up for a tour of this historic community here, or learn more about the Archives on their website (http://www.flatrockarchives.com/).
2. The Ruth Carroll Dally Johnson Interpretive Garden, in Historic Downtown Lithonia: Serving as one of the gateways to the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, this unique greenspace offers a self-guided tour through Lithonia’s history, including local Civil Rights leaders such as Maggie Woods, the first black woman to sit on Lithonia’s City Council, and Lucious Sanders, a World War II veteran who fought for voting rights. Learn more about the Gateway (located at 2564 Wiggins St., Lithonia, GA 30038) here.
3. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park: Located in downtown Atlanta, this National Historical Park tells the story of America’s foremost Civil Rights leader, the movement he was a part of, and the community that raised him. Visit a profound and important part of American history. Click here for more.
4. The Sweet Auburn National Historic District: Located near the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, the Sweet Auburn Historic District showcases the history and achievements of Atlanta’s African American community from the time of segregation to the present day. During the early-mid 1900s, Sweet Auburn was a major hub for Black businesses and life, an example of African American prosperity in the face of marginalization. Today, it is still home to African American museums, businesses, and institutions such as the Auburn Avenue Research Library. Learn more about this important part of downtown Atlanta here.
5. The Alonzo Herndon Home & Museum: Visit the home of Atlanta’s first African American millionaire, Alonzo Herndon — a formerly enslaved man who built the Atlanta Life Insurance Company (based out of Sweet Auburn). Today, the home serves as a museum showcasing Herndon’s life, success, and philanthropy, as well as the lives of his accomplished family members. Learn more about the Museum and the house itself.
The sites listed here are just the beginning. Check out the Atlanta University Center, which has trained generations of African American leaders. Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights for a close-up look at the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, as well as human rights movements around the world. Explore the sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Go a little further afield and visit the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a National Heritage Area focused on the history and legacy of the Gullah Geechee people on the Southeastern U.S. coast. Discover a rich, complicated history in metro-Atlanta and beyond.