African-American history has gotten some well-deserved attention throughout the region. From Baltimore to the Eastern Shore, look for the places where people struggled for freedom and the museums that highlight their courage and faith.
Day 1: Baltimore Museums
Learn about the individuals who found freedom on the underground railroad or who made the civil-rights movement their own in three museums here. All eyes are on the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the newest jewel in the city's collection of museums, on the east side of the Inner Harbor. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is a bit out of the way for downtown visitors, but the figures recall the triumphs and the horrors of slavery in a unique way. The Eubie Blake Cultural Center focuses on local musicians, most notably this composer, jazzman Cab Calloway, and others.
Day 2: Annapolis
Alex Haley, author of Roots, has a permanent seat at City Dock, a place where people were once auctioned off as slaves. The sculpture is only one such tribute. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and North Pole explorer Matthew Henson are honored with statues on the lawn of the State House. Stop in the newly expanded Banneker-Douglass Museum for a look at the lives of other prominent African-American Marylanders. A tour focusing on African-American history is available at the Historic Annapolis museum store.
Day 3: Following the Underground Railroad
These roads in Dorchester and Caroline counties on the Eastern Shore, which were traveled by underground railroad "conductor" Harriett Tubman, are detailed in the "Finding a Way to Freedom" driving-tour brochure and map, available at visitor centers on I-95 and in Cambridge. The roads remain, though most of the buildings, such as Tubman's home, are gone. The Harriet Tubman Museum, in Cambridge, offers tours to help interpret the places as you go by. The route is about 100 miles long and takes about 4 hours. Most of it goes through farmland, but there are a few places to stop for food and restrooms.
Day 4: Delaware
If you have only a day, be sure to stop in Newark, Delaware, to see the nationally recognized Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art -- the largest and most comprehensive collection of 20th-century African-American art in the world. Mr. Jones's collection, which includes Jacob Lawrence, Carrie Mae Weems, and Elizabeth Catlett, is on display at the University of Delaware's Mechanical Hall. Stop in nearby New Castle and visit the old Court House to see the stirring new exhibit on the Underground Railroad. If you have time, visit Wilmington and walk along the Riverfront to see the markers recalling Harriet Tubman's efforts here. The riverside Tubman-Garrett Park is named for her and abolitionist Thomas Garrett.
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