Black History Tours Kids Will Learn From and Love

For an interactive way to teach kids about Black history, consider booking one of these educational tours in major U.S. cities. We also rounded up some great virtual options.

An image of sculptures in Kelly Ingram Civil Rights Memorial Park.
Photo: Getty Images.

Looking for a fun way to teach kids about Black history? Consider taking a guided tour of important cultural and historical landmarks. We rounded up several locations that offer noteworthy tours nationwide. They can double as a staycation activity, a weekend getaway, or a stop on a road trip for families!

If you're not wanting to leave your house, check out our list of virtual tours you can take instead—either during Black History Month or any day of the year.

Selma/Birmingham, Alabama

Both Selma and Birmingham are home to significant events in the fight for civil rights, including the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 and the Birmingham campaign in 1963. The cities are about 90 miles apart, and it's worth checking out both if you can.

Selma Walking History Tour: Choose from three different guided tours from Tour Selma, including a "sampler" walking tour that explains the rich history of the city. During the 2.5 mile walk in downtown Selma, visitors will hear about civil rights, voting rights, wars, and everything in between. (Prices from $125 for up to five people). Families can also download a free self-guided audio tour from the App Store or Google Play.

Birmingham Civil Rights Tour: Viator offers a "Birmingham Civil Rights Tour" that travels between sites like Kelly Ingram Park (home to several civil rights rallies) and the John Herbert Phillips Academy (where Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth fought to integrate schools). You'll also visit Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park and learn how the Black business district operated during segregation. (Prices from $63.85 per person).

Harlem, New York

The Harlem Renaissance—a time of intellectual and artistic exploration spanning through the 1920s and 1930s—made Harlem a hotbed for Black creativity. Harlem also served as a center for organizing and demonstrations during the civil rights movement.

Harlem Renaissance Walking Tour: From Viator, this three-hour tour will show visitors the places made famous by writers Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and musician Duke Ellington. You'll also stop by Jungle Alley, the home of many speakeasies at the time, and see the theaters, ballrooms, and churches that were essential to the renaissance. The tour also includes lunch at a local restaurant. (Prices from $71 per person)

Harlem Heritage Tour: Get ready for a multi-sensory experience with the "General Harlem History Walking Tour." You'll meet your tour guide at the Harlem Heritage Tourism and Cultural Center, then you'll see where singer Billie Holiday performed and stand where Malcolm X gave his speeches, The two-hour tour is supplemented with pictures and videos as you walk one of New York's most beloved cities. (Prices from $30 per person; $25.00 per person if your group has 15 people or more).

Atlanta, Georgia

Often called the "Black Mecca," Atlanta has ties to Black wealth, culture, and history in America. The capital of Georgia is teeming with activities that celebrate the Black experience, past and present.

Explore Atlanta: This Explore Georgia tour combines new and old, stopping at iconic Black neighborhoods, historically Black colleges, famous Hollywood locations, and more. You'll also see Tyler Perry Studios, the first Black public high school in Atlanta, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace and last residence. (Prices from $65 for adults, $55 for children ages 6-12)

Atlanta Black History Tour: Families ride in a motor coach for the ATL Black History Tour. One of the highlights of this tour is lunch or dinner at Paschal's, a soul food restaurant that has been around since 1947 and has served Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other key civil rights leaders. Other stops include Madam C.J. Walker's salon and Big Bethel AME Church. (Prices from $40 per person)

Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina was the main entry for enslaved Africans, and experts say that many African Americans can trace their lineage back to the coastal area. South Carolina is also the home of trailblazers like Joe Frazier, James Brown, and Chadwick Boseman.

Gullah Tour of Charleston: Gullah refers to the language that originated among enslaved Africans on plantations, still spoken by a small percentage of Black people in the Lowcountry —hence the name of tour company Gullah Tours. Enlisting in their two-hour experience will introduce participants to the culture and history of one of South Carolina's oldest regions. Stops include the Underground Railroad, Emanuel African Methodist Church, and Sweetgrass Market, where you'll learn about the art of basket sewing that was brought over from Africa. Gullah storytelling is available upon request. (Prices from $25 per person).

Charleston History Tour: Frankly Charleston Tours offers one or two educational tours per day—usually a walking tour and a "ride-walk" tour—detailing the Black history of Charleston. Some tours include a historical stroll through Wraggborough, a historical downtown neighborhood with antebellum homes. (Prices from $32 for adults, $30 for seniors, $22 for children)

Celebrate Black History Virtually

For families who prefer diving into Black history at home, consider visiting museums online. A good first stop: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., which offers a "Searchable Museum" that can be accessed virtually.

The National Archives in D.C. also hosts virtual events, including "Saying It Loud: 1966—The Year Black Power Challenged the Civil Rights Movement" on February 16, 2023.

Then virtually travel to the Midwest to the National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, to view "Queens of the Heartland," showcasing 30 significant Black women in the state. Make another stop to the American Writers Museum in Chicago to dive into the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass with "Frederick Douglass: Agitator," which was originally on view at the museum from June 2018 through June 2019.

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