Lynchburg’s African American Heritage

Lynchburg and the region havea significant African American history stretching back to Lynchburg’s early beginnings through America’s Civil War to the Civil Rights era and into present day.

Begin your tour at the Legacy Museum, offering rotating exhibits and permanent collections focusing topics central to local African American history and culture, from the first arrival of Africans in Central Virginia to the significant contributions and experiences made by African Americans in Lynchburg and the region.

Next, travel ten blocks to the Anne Spencer House & Gardens. A Virginia Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the home of internationally acclaimed Harlem Renaissance poet and Civil Rights leader, Anne Spencer, who wrote on any available surface, including the walls of her home! More than thirty of her poems were published in her lifetime, making her an important figure of the black literary and cultural movement of the 1920s—the Harlem Renaissance—and only the second African American poet to be included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1973).

During her lifetime, she shared intellectual respect and repartee with notables such as opera stars Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson and Civil Rights luminaries Thurgood Marshall and the Rev. Martin Luther King , Jr. The house is open by appointment but the beautifully restored gardens, which contain her famous writing cottage, Edankraal, are open daily without charge.

With food for thought, lunch is now in order!  Visit our website for suggestions.

Now it’s time for a scenic drive to the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Located near Smith Mountain Lake, this National Park is the birthplace of Booker T. Washington. Born a slave on this 207-acre farm of James Burroughs, Washington would later become the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. He served as an adviser, author and orator, whose past would influence his philosophies as the most influential African American of his era. Explore his birthplace with walking trails, picnic areas and more.

After insightful day of touring, it’s time to return to Lynchburg for dinner at one of our outstanding restaurants.