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4 Countries Where Black Travelers Can Connect With Their History In 2021
2020 was rough.
The challenges from struggling with a pandemic were already a lot to deal with. And just as we started to get the hang of our new normal, police officers reminded us that not even a health crisis would steer them from their old ways.
As we start to think about traveling again with a better vaccine rollout plan under the Biden/Harris administration, there are a few places worth visiting to reset your mind and body as the new administration begins to tackle racial injustice as well.
Check them out.
Senegal has long been regarded as a place for diasporans to learn about Black history outside the Western world’s teaching. And while this is possible for every country on the continent, Senegal is unique because of its role as the last stop for millions of enslaved Africans.
Senegal is a great destination for Black travelers to reconnect with their ancestors after the racial turbulence of 2020, especially for those traveling from the United States.
The West African country is more than its horrific colonial past. There’s so much happening in Senegal on the arts and culture scene and the development front.
In 2019, the Museum of Black Civilizations opened in an effort to take back Black cultural contributions from countries that stole historical art and other artifacts during colonization.
Senegal will also soon be home to a futuristic city that many call a “real-life Wakanda” after musical artist and mogul Akon announced plans to build the city that will serve as a “safe haven” for descendants of the diaspora looking to flee racial injustice.
There’s significant Black history in Belize that often is forgotten.
The Central American country has a culture rooted strongly in African tradition, primarily as a result of slavery. According to research from Hampton University, Belize has the highest percentage population of African descent of any Central American nation.
The Garifuna people of Belize are known for sticking together to resist slavery and fighting fiercely against their lands’ conversion into slave plantations. Garifuna culture is so significant that UNESCO named it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001.
African rooted traditions are said to be better preserved in Belize than in any other part of Central America.
It is a great place for Black travelers to become inspired in 2021.
Haiti deserves some respect, and there’s nowhere else in the Caribbean that deserves the more than $109 billion that Black travelers contribute to the tourism and travel industry.
For too long, the discussions about the country have been associated with government corruption (because other places are better?), political instability (side eyes the United States), and famine and natural disasters.
Like many developing countries, Haiti has its issues. But what we’re not going to do in 2021 is downplay its significant contributions to Black history.
Haiti became the world’s first Black-led republic and the first independent Caribbean state when it threw off French colonial control and slavery in 1804 under Toussaint L’Ouverture’s leadership. Haiti inspired many Black activists and artists that we highly regard today, including Frederick Douglass, Black American painter Aaron Douglas, Malcolm X, and more.
Thanks to the mini-docuseries Afro Latino Travels with Kim Haas, viewers learned more about the legacy of Black immigration to Limón from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.
According to Haas, Limón has a rich Black history and is a place where Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey did his residency. Viewers also learned about the significant role thousands of Jamaicans, Afro-Costa Ricans and other Caribbean islanders played in the construction of the country’s railroad more than a century ago.
In the coastal city of Limón, a third of the population identifies as Afro-Costa Rican. There you can discover Afro-Caribbean culture, food, and music.
We recommend going in August to celebrate Black History Month. August was chosen to commemorate the First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World, which concluded with a ceremony in Madison Square Garden on August 31, 1920.
As you plan your 2021 travel itinerary, consider adding one of these countries to the list.