Points of Interest to an African American History Tour of Atlanta Georgia

Many historical points of interest to a black history educational tour are within the Atlanta, GA area. Museums and historical sites abound in the Atlanta area and can complement a student travel tour with a curriculum based on the Civil Rights movement. Being in actual buildings once occupied by great civil rights leaders give students a greater understanding of the subject. Since Atlanta was the birthplace and the city where Martin Luther King, Jr. launched his career as a pastor and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, it is the best place to gain a better understanding of black history in the U.S.
Following are my recommendations of Black Heritage sites in the greater Atlanta metro area that are a necessary component of a comprehensive student tour.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site:

Student Travel Tours Learn About the Civil Rights Movement
This site includes a number of facilities that operate in partnership with the National Park Service, Ebenezer Church and the King Center. Among the points of interest are the Visitors Center with a museum, interactive exhibits and films about Dr King and the Civil Rights movement.

Ebenezer Baptist Church
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is immediately adjacent to the Visitors Center. It is here, in the church’s meeting space, that Dr King planned civil rights strategies of non-violence. Dr King was ordained here and became co-pastor from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. Students visiting this place of worship can walk in the footsteps of America’s most prominent civil rights leader. Student travel groups always feel inspired by being in the space where Dr King spoke so eloquently about social change through non-violence. It is here that Dr King wrote many of his famous speeches while he was the main force behind the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The King Center
Directly across Auburn Avenue is the King Center and Dr King’s tomb. At the grave, Coretta Scott King established a living memorial dedicated to her late husband’s non- violent movement for justice, equality and peace. The center utilizes books, audio and video cassettes, film, television, CDs and web pages, to educate students about Dr. King’s life, work and his philosophy of nonviolent conflict-reconciliation and social change. Students will find this site to contain some of the most detailed writings and artifacts of MLK’s career as a minister and civil rights leader.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthplace & Home
The King birth home is a short walk down Auburn Avenue from the King Center. It was built in 1895 and Martin Luther King, Jr. was born here on January 15, 1929 and lived here for 12 years. The home is restored to reflect the period of 1930s and 40s when Dr King lived here as a child.

A comprehensive Black Heritage Tour should include the preservation district of Auburn Avenue, immediately adjacent to the National Park complex. This area includes many points of interest on a Black History tour of Atlanta such as Historic Fire Station # 6 which is currently maintained as a museum, bookstore and gift shop.

Atlanta History Center: the Black Phoenix tour illustrates the Black Heritage of Atlanta
Student tours that visit the Atlanta History center will find this museum interesting. The Black Phoenix tour follows the journey of the African American experience in Atlanta from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. The tour continues inside the museum with a visit to the Shaping Traditions exhibition to learn how customs were brought from Africa and passed down for generations. Next students visit the Turning Point exhibition to learn about the impact of the Civil War. Finally, student travel groups may tour the Metropolitan Frontiers exhibition for a stroll down Auburn Avenue. Here students learn about the pioneers of black business in Atlanta and the civil rights leaders who helped make Atlanta the city that it is today.

Tullie Smith Farm: Student Tour Groups Learn About Life as an African Slave

A student tour is greatly enhanced with a trip to the Tullie Smith Farm to see a settler’s cabin and learn about slave life. A Black History Civil War Performance shows living history interpreters portray African Americans during the Civil War in Georgia.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Center and Museum: Students learn about the President’s early work for the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia politics

The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library includes photographs and historical memorabilia from the Carter presidency (1976 – 1981). An exact replica of the Oval Office and gifts received by the Carters are also featured. A permanent exhibit of significant events occurring during Jimmy Carter’s life and political career includes photographs with interpretative text. Students will learn about Jimmy Carter’s childhood and race for President, and study some of the issues that American Presidents have confronted.

Wrens Nest: African American History Atlanta Tour site

By preserving the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore through storytelling, tours and special events, the Wren’s Nest serves as an educational resource and entertainment venue for the community, and student travel groups to the greater Atlanta area. The Wren’s Nest was the home of Joel Chandler Harris from 1881 until 1908 and was named for the wrens that made a nest in the mailbox. Today the home features most of the Harris family’s original furniture and belongings, and is Atlanta’s oldest house museum.

It is in Atlanta that I have found the most intriguing sites to inspire and educate student travel groups about the African American experience and the civil rights movement of the 20th century within the U.S. This complete tour will have a lasting effect on all that experience it.

For more information on creating a Black Heritage tour for students visiting the Atlanta Georgia area, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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Washington D.C.: Popular Places to Dine, Entertain, and Shop With Student Travel Groups

Students traveling to Washington D.C. on tour are more likely to enjoy themselves when the educational experience is coupled with dining and entertainment experiences they find exciting. An educational travel company and the tour guide working in the Washington D.C. area can work together to add some age appropriate experiences to student travel that will be well remembered. The good news for parents, teachers, and administrators is that it is not necessary to depart from the educational objectives of the student trip to satisfy the student group’s yearning for something different.

Recently, I interviewed Ann Greenwald, a Tour Director and a licensed Washington D.C. guide who has been working in the profession for eight years. Greenwald has given knowledgeable and insightful guided tours to many student travel groups in and around Washington D.C. and has a real feel for the types of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences students enjoy. The selections discussed are popular and economic choices for student travel tour itineraries.

Student Travel Groups: Shopping in Washington D.C.

When students shop, they do so to purchase souvenirs, or small gifts for their families and friends. A shopping experience for a student on tour in Washington D.C. can be as simple as visiting the National Archives and picking up a replica of the Declaration of Independence in the gift shop. “At the Air and Space Center, students get a kick out of buying the freeze dried ice cream that astronauts eat,” says Ann Greenwald.

Student travel groups often gravitate toward the more economical choices for shopping – such as a souvenir store. Ann Greenwald says there are two very popular stores among student groups in downtown Washington D.C.: “Students love Souvenir City & Joes. Both stores offer reasonably priced t-shirts and sweatshirts. FBI and Secret Service hats are popular among student travel groups and can be purchased at either store. Any shopping experience tied into the educational experience can be rewarding and fun.”

Combine Dining and Entertainment in Washington D.C.: Student Favorites

There are several great restaurants in the Washington D.C. area that combine dining and entertainment and are well loved by student travel groups. “McGill’s Pizza in Annandale, Virginia is a student favorite,” said Greenwald. “McGill’s has an arcade with a game room, so students can win things when they purchase tickets,” she added.
The ESPN Zone, in downtown Washington D.C. is also popular among student travel groups. It’s conveniently located around the corner from Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. Greenwald says, “Student groups can have a meal, and if it’s included in their tour they receive a $10 card that may be used in the downstairs arcade.”
Another popular eatery for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. is the Hard Rock Café. “Student travel groups just think it’s cool to go into the Hard Rock Café,” says Greenwald. “There’s the memorabilia, pictures, and rock music playing all the time,” she continued, “and all of this adds to the appeal for student travelers.”
Consider combining food and entertainment on a student travel tour of Washington D.C. one evening to lighten the student group’s spirits and put them in a great mood for touring the next day.

Entertainment for Student Travel Groups
There are numerous choices for entertainment in Washington D.C. that will captivate student travel groups. Greenwald says that if it’s in the student travel budget, attending “Sheer Madness” at the Kennedy Center is an evening that student travelers enjoy immensely. The interactive murder mystery dinner theater format gets students involved with the theater production and outcome of the ‘whodunit’ plot.

Finally, an evening illuminated tour of the monuments in Washington D.C. can be a great way to draw student travelers into the experience of history. Greenwald commented, “ As the symbolism is explained at the various monuments, kids gain a better understanding of history. Instead of just staring at an inanimate object, I explain why the monument is there, and what the symbolism signifies. They come away with a greater understanding of U.S. history, and the permanent mark it has left on Washington D.C.” An evening walk around Washington D.C. in the spring or fall adds an outdoor dimension to touring that is appreciated by all. Students should plan accordingly by brining appropriate clothing for Washington D.C. weather during the time of year they visit.

These recommended choices for dining, entertainment and shopping for student travel are by no means a comprehensive list of the possibilities. The suggestions Greenwald makes for student groups on tour of Washington D.C. are simple and cost effective so they make great additions to a trip itinerary. For the student traveler, a tour of Washington D.C. is an intense four to five day learning experience which needs to be balanced with some good old fashioned fun. Request a Quote for a student travel tour of Washington D.C. that includes some great dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

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Underground Railroad Tour Near Gettysburg is Active Learning About Black History

Just outside of Gettysburg National Battlefields in Pennsylvania, are historic sites that served as stations for the “Underground Railroad.” The “Underground Railroad” is a part of our nation’s history that is still shrouded in mystery. The mythical “underground railroad” was a series of safe houses that sheltered slaves who were running from their southern homes, northward, to freedom.

Just on the other side of the Mason Dixon line from Maryland, is Adams County, Pennsylvania, which was at one time a Quaker stronghold and a place where the Underground Railroad was active. William and Phebe Wright were two Quakers in the area who figured prominently in the Underground Railroad activities. They worked closely with sympathetic people in and near the town of Biglersville to help slaves find their way to freedom.

Student travel groups interested in exploring black history, the Civil War period, and the way in which in slavery has affected the fabric of the United States, will benefit from the Underground Railroad Tour of Adams County near Gettysburg. This tour works well with a student group travel tour of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or New York City, because Gettysburg is just a two to three hour bus ride from these student travel destinations.

Here are some of the highlights of the Underground Railroad Tour:

Yellow Hill (church and cemetery)
Yellow Hill was a central location for the Underground Railroad. Nearby resident Basil Biggs guided many fugitive slaves there. At Yellow Hill, slaves were given refuge until other residents and Quakers in the town hid and cared for them, protecting them from harm. Yellow Hill Church was burned at one time as a racist act. The Yellow Hill Cemetery contains the remains of many who lost their lives due to the tense circumstances of their time.

Quaker Meetinghouse (1880s)
The Quaker faith proclaims an aversion to violence and a peaceful resistance to oppression. The Quaker Meetinghouse in Adams County served as a place to publicly voice opinion about the Abolitionist movement, and to organize effective acts against it. Throughout U.S. history Quakers have always been conscientious objectors to war. Student travel groups will learn about the Quaker perspective on Civil Rights and violence while touring the Underground Railroad and how their viewpoint directly impacted the Abolitionist movement.

U.S. Colored Troops
Adams County was a central location between North and South, and Yellow Hill Cemetery is a historic site where many mysteries of that era are buried. Many students are unaware that U.S. Colored Troops who served in the Civil War are buried at Yellow Hill as well. This site serves as a reminder to student group travelers that there were indeed many casualties of racism in the United States and they date to the earliest periods in this country’s history.

Mathews Family
The Mathews, an African American family who lived near Yellow Hill during the Civil War era, were destined to be involved in the secretive Underground Railroad. Student tour groups will listen to stories about many of the local families, including the Mathews, who helped over 1,000 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad in this area of Pennsylvania.

The Underground Railroad Tour of Adams County is perhaps one of the best active learning tools available to teach students about Black History. In addition to reading about the Underground Railroad, students may visit the historic sites and learn the stories about real people who helped operate the Underground Railroad. This adds a tangible element to learning about African American history and instills in students a real sense of the diversity inherent in our nation’s beginnings.
To request a quote combining the Underground Railroad Tour of Adams County with a student travel tour of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or New York City, visit Request a Quote and fill out the form for group travel.

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