African American Heritage
"A past to cherish, a future to fulfill." These words are inscribed on one of Macon's historic markers dedicated to preserving the city's rich African American History. Twenty-one African American historic and cultural sites are featured below.
Tubman African American Museum
View the magnificent 63-foot long mural centerpiece of the museum, "From Africa to America", created by Macon artist Wilfred Stroud. This mural presents a visual history of black people from early days in Africa to current leaders and heroes. Learn of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Otis Redding, Ellen Craft, Minnie Smith and many more! Georgia's largest African American museum offers fourteen exhibition galleries, a resource center, The Noel Collection and artwork depicting African American art, history and culture. Located 310 Cherry St, (478) 743-8544
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm; Saturday, 11 am - 5 pm
Admission: Adults $8; Adult groups of 15 or more $6; Seniors $6; College Students & Military with ID $5; Children ages 3-17 $4; Children under 2 Free; Members Free.
The largest state sports museum in the country offers 3,000 artifacts, a 205-seat ball park theater, research library, hands-on sports exhibit and a gift shop. This interactive museum highlights sports heroes including Henry "Hank" Aaron, Wyomia Tyus, Cleveland Brown, Gwen Torrence, Dominic Wilkins, Evander Holyfield & Jackie Robinson. Located 301 Cherry Street, (478) 752-1585.
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 9 am - 5pm
Admission: Adults $8, Seniors, Military, & Students w/ ID $6, Children (16 and younger) $3.50
Built in 1921 by black entrepreneur Charles Douglass, this restored historic theatre has hosted greats like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Cab Calloway. Macon's Otis Redding was discovered here too! The Douglass Theatre now pays tribute to the African American influence on film and theatre. Enjoy live musical, theatrical and film performances. Located 355 Martin Luther King Blvd., (478) 742-2000.
Washington Memorial Library
Located at 510 College Street, this library offers an extensive African-American Heritage collection considered one of the best in the Southeast. The collection, which began in 1959, contains rare genealogical, archival and biographical information.
A "main street" of African American business. Jefferson Long was the first black man to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1871. Rev. Pearly Brown, renowned blind street singer who learned to play the guitar at Macon's Academy for the Blind, later performed at Carnegie Hall and was the first black man to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. The J. Walton Building is home to two generations of Waltons. Located in historic downtown Macon.
Pleasant Hill Historic District:
One of the first black neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with architectural, cultural, educational and religious resources. It includes the childhood home of "Little Richard" Penniman, and the former site of Beda-Etta College and the Dr. Bobby Jones Performing Arts Center. Pleasant Hill also produced the acclaimed black artist Henry W. Lucas, highly esteemed educator Dr. Robert Williams and a most outstanding civil rights leader, William P. Randall. Be sure to stop in at the Booker T. Washington Community Center, 391 Monroe Street, where you'll find the Otis Redding Memorial Library.
Rodney Davis Memorial:
Visit the memorial dedicated to Macon's only Medal of Honor winner. Sergeant Rodney Davis, Jr., gave his life to protect his company by jumping on top of a live hand grenade. At 25, this young man lost his life during his second tour of duty during the Vietnam War. Located in the triangle across the street from City Hall on Poplar Street in downtown historic Macon. View his uniform and Medal of Honor inside the Tubman African American Museum.
HISTORIC LANDMARKS & MEMORIALS
Otis Redding Statue:
Located at Gateway Park (Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. & Riverside Drive)
A native son, singer, composer and performer, Otis Redding was on his way to stardom when a tragic plan crash took his life in 1967. The next year, his song, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" went number one in the country.
Otis Redding Memorial Bridge:
Located where Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. crosses Ocmulgee River, connects the modern-day Macon Convention Center & Coliseum and Macon's historic musical downtown.
Benny Scott Plaza:
Located at Central City Park, Walnut St. Entrance. This plaza honors the Macon native's community volunteer efforts as well as his 42 years of service to the railroad, including the last run of this steam engine and his eventual status as one of the South's first black engineers.
DOWNTOWN AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCHES
Greater Turner Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church (c. 1871)
Located at 1104 Third Street, its Macon's oldest African American church. For more information, call (478) 743-4932.
First Baptist Church (c. 1887)
Located 595 New Street. This church was established by blacks over 25 years prior to Emancipation. It's original congregation worshiped in First Baptist Church, High Place, until land and a building were deeded to them in 1845. For more information, call (478) 745-8368.
Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (c. 1895)
Located 1011 Washington Avenue. This church began as an outgrowth as First Methodist Church in 1839. In 1848, a separate church was provided in the name "The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church." Holsey Temple was formally organized in 1867. In 1870, land was purchased for the building, but 1871 and 1877 fires destroyed the original structures. It contains the original hand-carved pews and stained glass. For more information, call (478) 742-6914.
Steward Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (c. 1889)
Located at 887 Forsyth Street, this church was established in 1865. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his only major speech in Macon here in 1957. For more information, call (478) 742-4922.
Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church (c.1838)
Located at 939 Washington Avenue, it is the oldest black Presbyterian church in Georgia originating in 1838. The original wooden Gothic Revival church was built on the current site in 1839 and was remodeled to brick in 1904. For more information, call (478) 743-3345
OTHER SUGGESTED SITES:
Ruth Hartley Mosely Memorial Women's Center, 626 Spring Street, Macon
WIBB Radio Station, 7080 Industrial Highway, Macon
Museum of Aviation, Hwy 247 & Russell Pkwy, Warner Robins
DINING & SHOPPING:
H & H Restaurant:
Located 807 Forsyth Street along Cotton Avenue, the walls of this "home cookin" restaurant bear witness to the musical history created just down Cotton Avenue at the offices of Capricorn Records, which brought Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers Band and other great Southern musicians to national attention. Open 6:30 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday- Saturday, (478) 742-9810.
Pan African American Festival:
Held in late April, annually, this festival celebrates the Pan African culture and its contributions centered on the theme of love, peace, unity and hope. Featured activities include a parade of masquerades, Caribbean steel bands, reggae, African music, dancers, films, children's entertainment and cultural demonstrations. Contact the Tubman African American Museum for more information at (478) 743-8544 or visit their web site at www.tubmanmuseum.com.