( ENSPIRE Lifestyle ) Visit Baltimore Celebrates Black History Month by Promoting Restaurants and Museums Rich in Black American History
ENSPIRE Contributor: Kaleigh Gabriel
Baltimore tourism is making it easy for travelers to immerse themselves in Black history and culture in one of the most historically rich communities. Visit Baltimore’s new and free BoP Pass unlocks exclusive deals and discounts to museums and attractions that celebrate Baltimore’s deep African American history and heritage. A BoP pass also provides special offers for some of Baltimore’s best Black-owned shops and restaurants. BoP references the regional slang of Baltimore in which a “bop” refers to a long walk, which is very fitting for a culture-rich tour through the city.
Travelers can begin their tour of the historic city by visiting museums and other attractions. Whether visitors are interested in the history, or art of Black Americans, Baltimore has something for everyone.
A BoP pass grants access to The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, which features more than 150 life-sized wax figures. Throughout the museum, travelers will encounter notable Black Americans and their organizations such as Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Frederick Douglas and Abolition, and Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement. There is also a display of Black Americans in pop culture featuring Billie Holiday and Eubie Blake, to name a few. One thing visitors should be sure not to miss is the life-size replica of a slave ship that depicts the horrors of the Middle Passage and slave life.
Visitors can also utilize the BoP pass to take a tour of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. Within its walls, over 10,000 artifacts are currently on exhibit. Museum goers can also sign up on the website for online Black History events that continue throughout the end of the month.
Tourists interested in art and culture will enjoy visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Last August, BMA invited a selection of 22 Baltimore-based galleries and collectives to use the museum’s The Necessity of Tomorrow(s) digital platform (tomorrows.artbma.org) to cultivate new audiences. Within this collection is “as they lay,” a new social practice art initiative founded by musician Abdu Ali. The group’s first-ever exhibit, “The Softer I Feel, The Freer I Be” features photography, poetry, and collage. According to Ali, “this exhibition beacons artworks that unapologetically explore one’s softness and illustrates how, when one does so, it is an erotic act of resistance against white supremacist patriarchal capitalism.”
After visiting the many museums and attractions, tourists are guaranteed to develop an appetite. What better way to tour a community than by visiting local restaurants and delving into the award-winning, history-rich local cuisine?
Ida B’s Table, a modern soul food restaurant, is a venture from The Real News Network and is named after pioneering investigative journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells. Ida B’s Restaurant was opened in 2017 by chairman Eddie Conway, who is also an executive producer of The Real News Network and a former member of the Black Panther Party, alongside partner Derrick J. Purcell. Ida B’s Table is located in the historic CJ Youse Candy Box Factory and many of the original fixtures and doors remain, giving the restaurant 19th Century design flare.
Terra Cafe, which opened in 2009, has been a staple in Baltimore for more than 10 years, serving comfort dishes such as shrimp and grits, fish and waffles, and omelets of all kinds. It’s known for serving cooked-from-scratch meals made with the very best and finest ingredients. Terra Cafe also has a partnership with World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit working with local restaurants to distribute food to those in need. Owner Terence Dickson has also recently launched an incubator for Black micro-businesses to help others navigate through the hardships that have come as a result of the pandemic.
Crust by Mack is the first brick-and-mortar business from owner Amanda Mack. Mack learned to sell her baked goods years ago to pay for her high school graduation gown and class ring, as well as donating a portion of proceeds to local organizations and charities. Now, Baltimoreans line up for a chance to buy her cookies, biscuits, pies, and custards before the bakery sells out. Crust by Mack opened in 2018 and quickly became the star of Baltimore’s Whitehall Market where the bakery is located. Whitehall Market is located in a 1732 historic mill and features a sprawling 18,000 sq. ft. market and private event space.
Le Monade, launched in 2017, is a beverage boutique offering unique small-batch drink mixers, blends, and syrups. Stop in for a refreshing artisanal collection of cocktails and family-friendly drinks! Le Monade was founded by Carleen Goodridge, who has familial connections to Harriet Tubman.
Whether you are looking to explore museums of history and art or delve into the culture-rich cuisine of Baltimore, Maryland, Visit Baltimore has tourists covered with their new BoP passes and curation of many wonderful exhibits, attractions, and local gems. Information on planning and booking a trip to Baltimore can be found online at https://baltimore.org/.