African American Heritage

Cincinnati USA's unique location on the Ohio River, the Mason Dixon Line, means this region is rich in historical significance. Explore this history and the region's African American Heritage with the experiences and sample itinerary below.

Day One:

10:00 a.m. Harriet Beech Stowe House Guided Tour The home of the author, who according to President Abraham Lincoln, started the Civil War.
11:30 a.m. Findlay Market Lunch Lunch on your own with several different options at this open air market.
1:00 p.m. Findlay Market Guided tour Find out about the oldest open air market in Ohio and sample from several of the vendors and shops.
3:00 p.m. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Guided tour Guided tour of this Smithsonian-affliated museum gives insights into past and current struggle for freedom.
5:30 p.m. Hotel   Down Time
7:00 p.m. Dinner   Experience one of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's group friendly restaurants.

Day Two:

10:00 a.m. John Parker House Guided Tour Learn how this ex-slave became the first African American to hold a US Patent and assist countless passengers along the Underground Railroad.
11:30 a.m. Cohearts Riverhouse Lunch Lunch in Ripley, OH alongside the Ohio River
1:00 p.m. John Rankin House Guided Tour John Rankin assisted more than 2,000 fugitives over the  years as one of the key stops along the Underground Railroad.This Presbyterian minister’s house sits on a commanding view of Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley.
2:30 p.m. Harriet Beech Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum Guided Tour Visit one of the oldest settlements in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and see antebellum, brick homes.This is where Harriet Beech Stowe witnessed a slave auction and prompted her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
6:00 p.m. Hotel   Down Time
7:00 p.m. Dinner   Experience one of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's group friendly restaurants.

These group tours and experinces in Cincinnati USA are great options for African American heritage in the region.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is operated as an historical and cultural site, focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The site also includes a look into the family, friends, and colleagues of the Beecher-Stowe family, Lane Seminary, and the abolitionist, rights and Underground Railroad movements in which these historical figures participated in the 1830's to 1860's, as well as African-American history related to these movements.

The Stowe House offers cultural events, programming, and tours. The house and grounds are also available to groups for rental for meetings and special events.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Based on the history of the Underground Railroad, The Center pays tribute to all efforts to "abolish human enslavement and secure freedom for all people." It is one of the new groups of "museums of conscience," along with the Museum of Tolerance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Center offers insight into the struggle for freedom in the past, in the present, and for the future, as it attempts to challenge visitors to contemplate the meaning of freedom in their own lives. Its location recognizes the significant role of Cincinnati in the history of the Underground Railroad, as thousands of slaves escaped to freedom by crossing the Ohio River to the city.

Underground Railroad Sites, Ripley, OH:  Rankin House and Parker House

Rankin House: A National Historic Landmark was the home of Presbyterian minister ,John Rankin, who is reputed to have been one of Ohio's first and most active "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. Located on the Ohio River, John Rankin's home (and Ripley, Ohio in general) were considered one of the first stations on this route of the Underground Railroad. It was here that Harriet Beecher Stowe heard the escaping slave's story which became the basis for part of her famous work, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Parker House: John Parker, a former slave, lived in this house which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, from about 1853 until his death. From this location he planned many rescue attempts of slaves held captive in the "borderlands" of Kentucky. John Parker was also the first African American to be granted a patent in the United States.  

Midwest Black Family Reunion

This event continues to grow and is now one of Cincinnati's largest family-focused events drawing over 50,000 patrons. It is held annually the third weekend of August. The event has grown from the early days of 1989 to over 50,000 people of all ages on hand each year to enjoy the three days of activities. Conceived in 1986 by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, the Black Family Reunion Celebration was a three day cultural weekend event which brings consumers, corporations, communities, and government agencies together to focus on the historic strengths and traditional values of the Black Family.

Cincinnati Music Festival

Originally called the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival when it was first held in 1962, the Cincinnati Music Festival has grown and evolved into a spectacular two day event on Cincinnati's riverfront. Starting out as an all-jazz concert, it has evolved and grown into a two day festival featuring great music from the hottest stars in R&B, jazz, soul, and hip-hop, as well as up and coming artists. Past performers include Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Gerald Levert, Patti Labelle, New Edition, Earth Wind and Fire, Lakeside, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and many others.

Cincy Blues Fest

The Cincy Blues Fest is a two day blues celebration that takes place on three distinctive stages along the Ohio River at Sawyer Point Park. Food, fun and the best names in the blues come together on every first weekend in August for this annual event. Past performers include Lonnie Mack, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Pinetop Perkins, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Lil’ Ed & the Imperials.

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, Dayton, OH

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet. Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville Wright of aviation fame. Although he lived to be only 33 years old, Dunbar was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike. His style encompasses two distinct voices -- the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the-century black community in America. He was gifted in poetry -- the way that Mark Twain was in prose -- in using dialect to convey character