I was recently invited to attend a Black History tour through Missouri that began in Kansas City and ended in St. Louis. You may be saying to yourself, “Why is a white girl going on a Black history tour?” I’ll tell you why. This post is not meant to offend, but to educate readers to the opportunities out there.
There are many types of travel. There are romantic getaways, family trips, babymoons, mancations, and educational/cultural travel. Cultural tourism is very important. It includes Native American history, various wars throughout the world, the Wild West, and very definitely Black history. We, as Americans, search far and wide to identify with a particular culture. We seek our heritage and our roots. We go on quests to find out who we are. Black history is just as important to US History as much as any other ethnic group or historical event. So I went to seek out the stories of the people, who for so many centuries have been ignored.
I’m a Southern Mama, and live in the heart of Louisiana’s Plantation Country. We are very open about slavery, black history, and the descendants of the people who settled this area, no matter what class they were. The Louisiana Plantation tours celebrate the memory of master craftsmen who built many of the homes and labored in the fields, most of whom were slaves. Missouri is new to this practice, and one woman, Angela DaSilva, has made it her life’s mission to find the hidden histories and forgotten people of the United States.
DaSilva was our tour leader and schooled us in the atrocities that occurred within the slave population. We were even placed on the front steps of the Old St. Louis Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott Case, and we reenacted a slave auction. It was very eye opening. Her passion for this subject, which is also her heritage, conveyed the cruelty of families torn apart, the torture, and many times the deaths. This sad history is not to be forgotten, but many of these same slaves were eventually freed and struggled to seek out better lives. Their legacy can be found in the faces and the places we visit and live today.
For anyone wishing to explore their heritage or to learn more about Black History, take a tour with Angela DaSilva and the National Black Tourism Network, where you won’t just read about it, but you will follow the footsteps of these historical people. The tours include so much, that there is no way I can fit it all into a blog post. My experience can be told through this slide show and in future posts I will highlight some of these places.