Black History Month is here, and you don't have to look far and wide to find places of historical significance in North Texas. Now is the time to plan your itinerary so you can stop, look, listen and learn about the history that's right here -- in February or any time of the year.
Get started with this list.
African American Museum of Dallas
Tours range from $1-$5 at this museum at 3536 Grand Ave. in Fair Park. Wander through the collections, which include fine art, folk art and Facing the Rising Sun, an ongoing exhibit that tells the story of a once-venerable North Dallas community.
South Dallas Cultural Center
The center at 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. in Dallas offers learning -- and fun -- all year long. The programming features dance, theater and film festivals. Upcoming exhibits include "Black Beauty, Glitz and Glamour," a collection of fashion and photography opening Feb. 2
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
This vibrant cultural institution is dedicated to celebrating and furthering the arts. Founder (also producer-writer) Curtis King has led the academy for the more than 40 years of its existence. Each season begins Sept. 1 and ends at the end of the next August. Programming includes the new Riverfront Jazz Festival, which attracts international acts; the long-running youth education program; a museum inside the building off the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, and the Emmy-winning annual King concert, which celebrated its 36th year last month.
Freedman's Cemetery Memorial
Set amid the toney Uptown neighborhood, the memorial stands as a reminder of the burial place of former slaves. In the 1850s, freed slaves created a Freedman's town that served as the soul of the black community. David Newton created the sculptures on either side of the entrance at North Central Expressway and Calvary Drive.
Freedman Memorial Plaza
Civil-aviation pioneer Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (1892-1926) is memorialized with a historical marker at this park in Waxahachie, where she grew up. She was the first black woman pilot and the first person of African-American descent to earn an international pilot license.
The U.S. Postal Service released a Bessie Coleman stamp in 1995 and she was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
Lt. Calvin Spann of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black flight squadron in World War II, was a frequent visitor to the museum at 6911 Lemmon Ave., Dallas. A permanent exhibit that details the exploits of the airmen resides at the museum.
National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame
This museum at 2029 N. Main St. in Fort Worth was initially named the National Cowboys of Color Museum; the name change came about in 2008. Jim Austin and his wife, Gloria Austin, founded the museum in 2001 "to acknowledge the contributions of individuals of Hispanic, Native, European, Asian and African descent to the settlement of the Western American Frontier." The museum holds a Hall of Fame and has permanent exhibits marking the contributions of Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen, among others. There are also workshops, classes, tours and children's storytelling.
Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
The church is on the National Register of Historic Places. The land that the church sits on was bought in 1878, according to church history. The current sanctuary was dedicated in 1914 and the Estey Pipe Organ was installed in 1923. The still-active church is at 116 Elm St. in Fort Worth. Other churches in North Texas can boast a similar pedigree, such as St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas' Arts District and Joshua Chapel AME in Waxahachie.
Tenth Street Historic District
There is a movement afoot to revitalize and restore this district off Interstate 35 in Dallas. Drive through the side streets and you can see structures and homes that date back to the time when the area belonged to freedmen. Some of the buildings were built in the late 1890s.
The Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House
Juanita J. Craft, who organized more than 100 branches of the NAACP, was integral in desegregating the University of Texas School of Law, North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas), and the State Fair of Texas. Craft was elected to Dallas City Council in the 1970s and won the Linz Award, which recognizes civic or humanitarian efforts. Other buildings are graced with her name, including a park and a post office. Craft lived in the house at 2618 Warren Ave. that's now a museum dedicated to her
Denton County Historical Park
The park is home to the Denton County African American Museum. The museum houses the papers and medical supplies of Denton's first black doctor, Dr. Edwin D. Moten. The structure memorializes Quakertown, a once-thriving neighborhood of black people in the city.
Dawn M. Burkes is a Dallas freelance writer and former staff critic.