In spite of efforts to eradicate it from the American story, learning Black history is crucial. In the United States, history can’t authentically be taught without acknowledging Black presence. From slavery to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black people have consistently contributed to the American tapestry, by force or by choice.
Of course, our story reaches beyond the borders of the United States. We’ve made our mark across the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere.
The next time you travel, consider supporting the following tour companies, which highlight the Black history, innovation, and beauty of the diaspora around the world.
A Tour of Possibilities – Memphis
If you want to learn about Memphis through a Black lens, then look no further than A Tour of Possibilities.
It was founded by Carolyn Michael Banks, who knows the city like the back of her hand. Moreover, not only is she knowledgeable of Black history, she can impart information in an easily digestible, and even entertaining, way.
Tours are offered in person or virtually, and private tours are also available. Those who have taken the tour have consistently given it high marks on platforms like Tripadvisor.
Black contribution to Memphis, and all of Tennessee, can’t be quantified. Banks speaks on this with pride and makes sure everyone feels included.
What in the world is that giant pyramid downtown? Do you want to learn about the “I AM MAN” protests and how Black-owned businesses shape Memphis? Banks will give you the answers to those questions and more.
Black Heritage Tours – New York, The Netherlands, and Belgium
Black Heritage Tours was founded by Jennifer Tosch. After studying post-colonial history in Amsterdam, she was inspired to unearth positive stories about Black people in The Netherlands. Thus, Black Heritage Tours was born in 2013, and over time, it expanded to Brussels and New York state.
Tosch wrote, “I firmly believed I could contribute my share to the process of unearthing the lives of our hidden histories in Europe. The journey has been nothing short of amazing.”
One of the best ways to explore while in Amsterdam is via its canals. According to Travel Weekly, “Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam takes guests on a cultural journey to explore the Netherlands’ deep roots in Black history, against the backdrop of the architecture and art of the Dutch Golden Age.”
For two hours, you’ll learn about Black contributions to the Netherlands, the role of slavery in the Dutch colonies, and exactly what a “gaper” is.
Tosch explained to Travel Weekly that gapers are offensive caricatures of Black persons, found outside of Dutch pharmacies.
“When they built the pharmacy buildings, they used the symbol of a Moor head or Black face to symbolize a pharmacy,” she said. “They were called gapers because the mouth is open with a pill inside.”
Hush Tours – New York and Chicago
If you want to learn about the history of hip-hop, book an excursion with Hush Tours. In New York, there’s a mix of walking and bus tours, including Walk This Way, which explores Harlem, Hello Brooklyn, and Birthplace of Hip-Hop, which is spread across Harlem and The Bronx.
Regarding The Birthplace of Hip-Hop tour, Hush explained, “We’ll take you from Manhattan to the site of the first-ever hip-hop party, plus secret battle sites, historic clubs, and famous music video and movie locations. Travel with us through the NYC streets and check out some of hip-hop’s most important landmarks.”
The tours last 2-3 hours. Aside from visiting relevant sites, you’ll also have the chance to listen to classic hip-hop tracks and watch a B-boy or B-girl dance session.
The Chicago-based tour is called Soul by the Mile. Similarly, it covers Black history from the time of The Great Migration, all the way to the election of Barack Obama.
Rastafari Adventure Experience – Jamaica
If you’re staying at a hotel or AirBnB in Montego Bay, purchase a tour courtesy of the Rastafari Adventure Experience.
You’ll be picked up at your accommodation before being taken through the Jamaican countryside. Get to know the locals of a Rastafari village, ride an all-terrain buggy, and eat a chef-prepared lunch. There are quite a few stops over the course of 3-4 hours, including a ganja field.
What will you need to bring during your visit? The tour recommends a change of clothes, a towel, water shoes, and sunblock. Keep your phone handy for some dynamite Instagram photos. Lastly, have cash on hand for alcoholic beverages and souvenirs.
Tripadvisor users give this tour an enthusiastic thumbs up. One person called it “a therapeutic reset in nature,” and we think you’ll agree.
Experience Real Cartagena – Colombia
This tour company was founded by Alex Rocha, who is a proud “Cartagenero.” He offers nine different tours, suitable for most personalities and tastes.
If you want to be immersed in the local culture, under the guidance of somebody who knows it intimately, choose The Real Cartagena Tour. It includes a trip to the local market, a delicious traditional lunch, and a lesson on African influence in the city.
Visit To Palenque is another tour where African customs, music, and dance are celebrated. The tour includes lunch and will last about six hours. As far as Black history goes, Palenque was the first free town in the Americas for those who escaped slavery.
You can learn about the tours and how to book via the company’s website.