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Museum of African-American History -- Bill Pugliano, Liaison Agency (MSN Encarta)African American Heritage

Day Tour 1: Detroit Attractions



Tour Overview

From the anti-slavery movement of the 1800s, to the civil rights unrest of the 1960s, to the development of new musical genres, Detroit's African American heritage is full of significant and influential people, places, and events. It is a rich heritage that continues today. The sites and attractions below will open your eyes to the impact of African Americans on Detroit, as well as the impact of Detroit on African Americans.


Underground Railroad Tour -- living-libraryFirst Congregational Church of Detroit [A]

33 East Forest Avenue, Detroit



Detroit played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad as the last stop in a long journey for fugitive slaves before crossing the river to Canada and freedom. At the forefront of the national anti-slavery movement was the First Congregational Church. Visitors to this beautiful church can take part in an Underground Railroad Flight to Freedom Program Tour, a re-enactment of slaves escaping the south (call ahead for reservations). On your way to First Congregational Church, you will pass Second Baptist Church, another Underground Railroad and anti-slavery historic landmark. From 1836 to 1865, Second Baptist received over 5,000 fugitive slaves who were given food, clothing, and shelter on their way to freedom in Canada. It is also here that in 1859 Abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke minutes before a meeting with Revolutionary John Brown in a Detroit home to plan methods of freeing slaves.

museum of african american historyCharles H. Wright Museum of African American History [B]

315 East Warren, Detroit



Dr. Charles Wright, a Detroit obstetrician and gynecologist, established the City's first International Afro-American Musuem in 1965. Three decades and three addresses later, a new Museum of African American History was opened in the heart of Detroit's Cultural Center. The 120,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility is considered one of the largest African American history museums in the world. The buidling house a core exhibition called And Still We Rise which takes visitors on a journey through 3.5 million years of courage, deterimination, ingenuity, and spriitual energy of African Americans as they pursued emancipation and full rights of citizenship. In addition to And Still We Rise, the museum showcases a number of other interesting limited-run exhibittions.

diaDetroit Institute of Arts [C]

5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit



The DIA has been a hallmark of Detroit culture since its founding in 1885. The museum covers over 600,000 square feet and houses one of the largest and most diverse collections of multicultural art in the United States. The museum's extensive collection of African American art includes works by Romare Bearden and Detroiter Charles McGee. To top it off, visitors are treated to Mexican artist Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry fresco cycle, considered Rivera's most important work in the U.S. Rivera painted 27 fresco panels, many of them modeled after the Ford Rouge Plant, on the walls of the large garden court inside the DIA.

es_mi_motown_1_mMotown Historical Museum [D]

2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit



In 1959, upstart African American songwriter and record producer Berry Gordy Jr. purchased a humble two story home in Detroit, moving his family into one half and setting up a studio in the other. He christened it "Hitsville U.S.A." and from this building grew Motown from a startup business to what became by the mid-70s the largest independent record company in the world. The Motown Historical Museum includes models of eight houses on West Grand Boulevard acquired by the company to house its growing operations until it moved its offices to a high-rise in downtown Detroit in 1968. Among the many displays, visitors are treated to a tour of the studio where Motown greats such as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Jackson Five actually recorded their hits.

Tour Map

Number of Destinations: 4

Overall Tour Time: 1 day


African American Day Tour 1 - Detroit


Extended Tour -- International Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum [E]

18301 West McNichols, Detroit


Gospel Music Hall of Fame 2 -- International Gospel Hall of Fame & MuseumWe can assure you that squeezing the above attractions into one day will be quite a challenge. However, if you are unable to arrange an Underground Railroad Tour at First Congregational, or you decide to bypass one of the other attractions, a visit to the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum would be a great substitute. Founded in 1995 as a non-profit organization by DoRohn Entertainment's president and gospel artist David Gough, the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum preserves and celebrates the work of the world's legendary and influential gospel music artists and entertainers. The museum is housed in the DoRohn Entertainment studios and is open for tours by appointment, so call ahead. Your visit will be worthwhile. The museum includes a collection of recordings, documents, photographs and memorabilia from gospel music legends past and present. In addition, you will get to experience a recording session in a real studio. Choose gospel songs from an extensive list of sound tracks, record your voice over the track, and even have a CD burned of your session!




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Related Tours

African American Heritage Day Tour 2: Windsor Attractions

African American Heritage Day Tour 3: The Henry Ford

Cultural Center

Downtown Detroit

Historic Hines Drive


Music Heritage

Windsor Tour

Resources & Links

Detroit Repertory Theatre

Second Baptist Church



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