Two years ago I contacted a particular cultural institution here in New York City about setting up a walking tour of Lower Manhattan related to African-American history, especially nineteenth century African-American history. After showing great initial excitement, the individual with whom I was corresponding lost interest; I know this because he stopped returning my messages. I found the whole thing curious, especially because it was pretty clear I would do all the work, including the tours themselves. For free. Basically, the institution would have provided its imprimatur and done a little publicity on its website. Who it was I will never say.
Over the weekend I am going to write an encyclopedia entry about Nicodemus, the all-black Kansas town founded in the 1870s by individuals from Kentucky and Tennessee. Nicodemus is now a national historic site. I have been to Kansas before, but alas never to Nicodemus. It will someday be part of the Great Driving Tour of the Midwest the Hayfoot and I take in a few years. There is no substitute for going to the places where history is made.
For Black History Month the Civil War Trust has published its top ten list of African-American places to visit. A few of them I have been to; others are on my to-do list. One need not wait for spring. Put your parka on and go.
(image/Library of Congress)