Louisiana Opens a New Trail of African American History

Louisiana tourism officials have unveiled the first 26 sites on an African American Heritage Trail running from New Orleans to northern Louisiana.  The trail tells the stories of African Americans who have made contributions to Louisiana and America.  Along with the usual sites of plantations showcasing details of slave’s lives and the Louisiana’s early jazz roots, there is also an opportunity to visit the Melrose Plantation — the home of Coincoin and the Metoyer family.  You may recognize those names from Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book Isle of Canes

Other sites include the boyhood home of Arna Bontemps now the Arna Bontemps African American Heritage Museum; Evergreen Plantation – on the National Register of Historic Places – located in Wallace with 37 buildings and 22 slave cabins; the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University that contains the largest collection of manuscripts in the world about African Americans, race relations, and civil rights; and several cemeteries where you can visit the graves of gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson, “voodoo queen” Marie Laveau, and Homer Plessy made famous through the Supereme Court Case Plessy v. Ferguson for his refusal to move from the “white” section of a railroad car in 1896 resulting in a court ruling that upheld states’ rights to forcibly segregate people of different races. 

The link for information on Louisiana’s African American Heritage Trail with interactive map is:


An article in the New York Times regarding the trail can be found here:


1 Comment

  1. askiatek2008 said,

    September 11, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    The first day of the second annual Preserving California Black Heritage conference includes a panel called Family Jewels featuring authors Regina Mason, The Life of William Grimes; and Sharon McGriff Payne, The John Grider Century: African-Americans in Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties; and filmmaker Kevin Epps, The Black Rock: Dark Side of Alcatraz. Through the early afternoon sessions, following the presentation of the play Queen Calafia: Ruler of California, educators will learn how to infuse California’s African-American experience into classroom environments in order to close the achievement gap. The closing speaker, John William Templeton, discusses his statewide study, Black Heritage as Gap Closer: Educator Capacity to Provide Culturally Responsive Social Studies Teaching in California. A special conference rate for educators is $50 which includes the conference and performance. Visit http://www.californiablackhistory.com for more details.

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