(BLACK PR WIRE) -- Detroit’s churches, museums, monuments and attractions tell the story of the importance of African American heritage throughout the city. Detroit, known as Midnight to escaped slaves, served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad. At the First Congregational Church of Detroit, Second Baptist Church of Detroit and John Freeman Walls Historic Site and Underground Railroad Museum in Ontario, Canada, you’ll learn about the remarkable journey to freedom and the hardships slaves experienced.
Besides supporting numerous historically significant Underground Railroad stops, Detroit is also home to the world’s largest museum dedicated to the African American experience, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The emotionally impactful exhibit, And Still We Rise, contains more than 20 galleries that allow patrons to travel over time and across geographic boundaries, while showing you what it was really like to be a slave in early American history. Another exhibit, A is for Africa, features twenty-six interactive stations that make up a three-dimensional "dictionary" designed for children from pre-school through fourth grade. Other exhibits at the museum are Detroit Performs, Ring of Genealogy and Stories in Stained Glass. The museum also hosts an annual African World Festival in August that celebrates the richness, diversity and worldwide influence of African culture through performances, cuisine and exhibitions.
Right around the corner the largest African-art exhibit in the country is on view at the recently restored Detroit Institute of Arts. First-time museum-goers to art connoisseurs will be amazed by the newly renovated and expanded museum, presenting its world-class collection in a new light. More than 5,000 objects were reinstalled in new, re-imagined galleries that transform the public’s experience with a collection that ranks among the nation’s finest. From a “virtual” dining experience in 18th century Europe to a life-size video of an African ceremony and a multimedia tour of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals, the DIA is designed to enhance visitors’ experiences.
Visitors can also tour historic Elmwood Cemetery, the oldest continuously operating, non-denominational cemetery in Detroit and the burial site of the first colored regiment in the Civil War and of Coleman Young, former mayor of Detroit. You’ll also notice several significant African American Detroit statues downtown including Detroit’s Gateway to Freedom, in Hart Plaza along Detroit’s International Riverfront and the Joe Louis Fist near Hart Plaza. The Shrine of the Black Madonna is another popular stop as it houses the largest selection of African/African American titles in Michigan. Another must-see attraction is The Henry Ford, where you can sit on the same bus Rosa Parks rode in on that fateful day in Montgomery, Alabama at the With Liberty and Justice for All exhibit.
You can also see the rocking chair in which president Lincoln sat the night he was assassinated and learn about Elijah McCoy’s invention that revolutionized America. Other popular exhibits include Automobiles in America, Heroes of the Sky, Dymaxion House and Presidential Limousines. Next door at Greenfield Village you’ll experience 300 years of American history through 83 historic structures, including sites and sounds drawn from the roots of African-American history. The Hermitage Slave Quarters from the Hermitage Plantation near Savannah, Georgia , are among the few that have been preserved anywhere in the U.S.
Home of the Carroll family in the tidewater region of Maryland in the mid-1800s, the Susquehanna Plantation was the center of a Chesapeake plantation community that included more than 70 enslaved African-Americans. There’s also the Mattox Family Home, which was home to an African American family who owned and farmed their own land. Henry Ford also built a log house replica of the George Washington Carver Cabin as a memorial to his good friend.
Ready to get in the groove? Thousands of visitors from around the globe stop at the original Hitsville USA to see where Berry Gordy started it all. The house was converted into the Motown Historical Museum featuring a collection of historical photographs, artwork, music, costumes and other memorabilia from this booming musical era. Visitors can even stand in the original recording studio, “Studio A” where Motown’s greatest hits were recorded by artists 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, among others.
Keep tapping your feet to the beat and slide on over to Detroit’s shiny new casino hotels. MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino-Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel – each with 400 rooms, expanded gaming space, a variety of dining options, nightlife and spas, bring Vegas-style gaming and entertainment to the Midwest. MGM Grand Detroit boasts restaurants by celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Michael Mina. And fine dining has been elevated to new heights as Iridescence, the only AAA Four Diamond restaurant in the city, recently moved to its all new location atop the MotorCity Casino- Hotel tower.
African American heritage, along with hot cars, leading edge music, Vegas-style gaming, diverse culture and championship sports await visitors in Detroit.