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African American History

Take a journey through more than 200 years of the African-American experience in southwestern Pennsylvania.

One hundred sites of local, regional and national significance are represented in this first-ever tour guide of African-American history in the region.

The goal of this guide of African-American historic sites in the region is to inform the public about the extensive history and also to draw attention to the need for preservation and reuse of many of the sites featured.

Visitors to Pittsburgh, long-time natives, and students are encouraged to use this site guide as a resource for exploring the rich depth and breadth of African-American history—from the Underground Railroad to the jazz era. This list is not designed to be exhaustive but to represent a cross section of sites with major significance to the development of the Pittsburgh region’s African-American community.

This project, compiled by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

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How the sites were determined

Sites for this tourguide were determined based on whether the site fit into at least one of ten historical themes and met at least one of five criteria, listed below.

Historical Themes

  1. Patterns of Settlement and Housing
  2. Sports and Recreation, including Social Clubs
  3. Arts and Entertainment
  4. Places of Work/Businesses
  5. Famous People
  6. Religious Properties
  7. Underground Railroad
  8. Education & Politics
  9. Civil Rights
  10. Military

 

Criteria for Tour Guide Listing

  1. National or Statewide Significance: The site is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and/or has a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) marker.
  2. Local Significance: The site is a locally-designated landmark, has a plaque, or is of particular interest to southwestern Pennsylvania's history.
  3. Visitability: The site is interesting enough that someone would travel to see it.
  4. Condition: The site is still standing, it's part of a historic district, or the site is of particular archaeological interest.
  5. Thematic Relevance: The site is representative of a larger historical theme in the region, state or nation.