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21 Black History Month Destinations You Should Visit

Learn about African-American life and history at these museums, historical sites and monuments.

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Photo: 353Media Group

Ways to Celebrate Black Contributions to American Life

Though every month is worth celebrating, Black History Month is an opportunity to spend some thoughtful, dedicated time to looking at how deeply African Americans have impacted American life in music, the arts, the civil rights movement and in so many other ways. Read on for our picks of some of the best places to visit to see that legacy in action.

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Photo: 353Media Group

Visit a Mind-Expanding Museum Dedicated to African American Music

The National Museum of African American Music has been in the works for nearly two decades. This long-awaited museum, which opened in 2021, celebrates more than 50 musical genres inspired by African Americans, including jazz, rap, soul, hip-hop, and gospel. The National Museum of African American Music is the only museum of its kind in the country, NMAAM traces the influence Black Americans have had on American music from the slaves who brought sounds and rhythms from Africa to these shores to the enormous impact of hip hop on contemporary life. Immersive and participatory, the museum is welcoming to a variety of ages and with so much to see and experience, it's a good idea to devote 2-3 hours (the museum recommends 90 minutes) to experiencing NMAAM. You can purchase a wristband for $1 that allows you to save music and videos to enjoy later, a great interactive element that expands your experience beyond the museum's walls.

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Photo: Tyrae Campbell

The HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands

If you love the heart-pounding sound of marching bands and the incredible choreography of j-setting dancers, then you will want to make time each February for the annual HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The largest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) marching band and dance team showcase in the world, the event welcomes 60,000 to Atlanta each year and has featured more than 35,000 student musicians during its 17 years in existence. The music and dancing (by both dance troupes and the band members) is extraordinary as both high school and college teams compete for top honors and display the kind of school spirit that will get you up on your feet and dancing and clapping along.

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Photo: National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened its doors in 2016 and is devoted to the "documentation of African American life, history, and culture." The museum features more than 36,000 artifacts with collections on African American music, literature, photography and more.

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