#BLM, Travel

Destinations that celebrate Black lives

The Black Lives Matter movement has gained traction not just in America, but throughout the entire world. So, if you’re interested in places that celebrate Black lives, here are some options. When this pesky Coronavirus allows us to travel again, maybe you’ll consider some of these:

Montreal, Canada
A beautiful and charming city, Montreal is a place of culture. It is a culinary delight, boasting the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada; you can try iconic food and drinks such as bagels, poutine, orange julep or a caffe latte at Café Olimpico. If you’re a fan of film, consider visiting in April when Vues d’Afrique holds the Pan-Africa International Film Festival which celebrates African and Creole culture through film. Montreal also hosts a Jazz Festival in June/July, featuring famous artists of the genre. Montreal is home to many unique festivals that are the biggest of their kind in the world. There is also an abundance of markets, parks and museums; this city celebrates all types of art.

Senegal is a coastal West African country with beautiful beaches and plenty of cultures. If you’re a lover of art, the capital of Dakar is the perfect destination for you. Senegal hosted what has been called the World Festival of Black Arts, an expo created specifically for Black people and directed by them too. From this, Senegal has become a place full of art. It hosts Dakar Biennale, an African art fair that was first held in 1990, and there is no lack of art galleries where people can purchase locally made art. If you enjoy trying different foods, Senegal has a laudable culinary scene too, with one dish being Thiéboudienne, which at its core is fish and rice.

Memphis, Tennessee
This is a place of great importance for Black lives throughout history. Located in Memphis is the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The museum chronicles the journey of the fight for Civil Rights through more than 250 artefacts, interactive media and exhibits. Memphis is also home to several other historical and cultural attractions, such as Sun Studios, known as the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is also rich in the culture and history of Black lives. It was here that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger in 1955. This act helped launch the American Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. You can even trace the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, following the historic marches that took place in 1965.

Paris, France
This may be unexpected, but Paris played an important role in Black history, and many Black Americans helped shape the identity of the city. While visiting, you can join specific Black history tours that take you to Parisian sites made famous by Black novelists, musicians and activists. Other notable places include Café de la Régence, a favourite of Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and writer, Montparnasse suburb, where entertainer and activist Josephine Baker called home, and Café Tournon, where many African American writers, painters and musicians gathered. Paris is a city of culture, it is a beautiful place steeped in the histories of many. I recommend visiting late summer or early autumn when it’s still warm enough to enjoy a pain au chocolat at a table outside a café.

These are only a few of the many wonderful destinations across the globe that celebrate Black lives and their history. You truly are spoilt for choice! No matter what you’re interested in, whether it is art, film, history, food and drink, there’s a place for you to appreciate and celebrate Black lives.

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Nerisse Appleby

June 2021
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