Happy Black History month! Macon is home to several African American historic and cultural sites. Here are 17 must visits:
1. Douglass Theatre
Charles Douglass, Macon’s first African American millionaire, built a theatre in 1921. His theatre, the Douglass Theatre, hosted many great musicians such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Cab Calloway. It was also at the Douglass that Otis Redding was discovered.
Never miss a local story.
Location: 355 Martin Luther King Blvd.
2. Tubman Museum
Georgia’s largest African American museum, visitors can learn of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Otis Redding, Ellen Craft, Minnie Smith and many more!
Location: 310 Cherry St.
3. Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
Home to 3,000 artifacts, a 205-seat ballpark theater, and research library, the largest state sports museum in the country offers several hands-on sports exhibits. This interactive museum highlights sports heroes including Henry "Hank" Aaron, Wyomia Tyus, Cleveland Brown, Gwen Torrence, Dominic Wilkins, Evander Holyfield & Jackie Robinson.
Location: 301 Cherry St.
4. Washington Memorial Library
If history is what you’re searching for, this is the place. This library is home to a vast assortment of African American heritage that include rare genealogical, archival and biographical information. The collection began in 1959 and is considered one of the best in the Southeast.
Location: 1180 Washington Ave.
5. Cotton Avenue
Has been the "Main Street" of African American businesses for over 100 years. This area has had a major impact on Macon's history and the current state of D.T. Walton Way and Forsyth Street. The Capricorn Records’ offices were located on this road, and the row of buildings are currently being renovated for potential use as lofts and retail space.
6. Pleasant Hill Historic District
The National Register of Historic Places lists this site as one of the first black neighborhoods in Georgia with architectural, cultural, educational and religious resources.
7. Rodney Davis Memorial
This memorial is dedicated to Macon's only Medal of Honor winner, Sergeant Rodney Davis, Jr., who gave his life to protect his company by jumping on top of a live hand grenade.
8. Otis Redding Statue
Otis Redding, singer, composer and performer, was a Macon native. Redding was on his way to stardom when a tragic plane crash took his life in 1967. His song, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" went number one in the country in 1968.
Location: Gateway Park (Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. & Riverside Drive)
9. Otis Redding Memorial Bridge
This bridge connects the modernday Macon Coliseum and Edgar H. Wilson Convention Center area with Macon's musical downtown.
Location: Where Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard crosses over the Ocmulgee River
10. Benny Scott Plaza
Honoring Scott’s community volunteer efforts as well as his 42 years of service to the railroad, this plaza includes the last run of steam engine 509 and celebrates Scott’s status as one of the South's first black engineers.
Location: Central City Park, Walnut Street Entrance
11. First Baptist Church
This church is Macon's oldest African American church and was established for blacks in 1835, over 25 years prior to Emancipation.
Location: 595 New St.
12. Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Containing the original hand-carved pews and stained glass, this church began as an outgrowth of Mulberry Street Methodist in 1839. The Holsey Temple was formally organized in 1867.
Location: 1011 Washington Ave.
13. Steward Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Established in 1865, this church hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on several occasions in 1957.
Location: 887 Forsyth St.
14. Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church
Originating in 1838, this church is the oldest black Presbyterian church in Georgia. The original wooden Gothic Revival church was built on the current site in 1839 and was remodeled to brick in 1904.
Location: 939 Washington Ave.
15. Ruth Hartley Mosley Memorial Women's Center
Ruth Hartley Mosley was a pioneer in Macon African American history. She traveled widely, took speech lessons, and developed a refined speaking style. When Ruth passed she left a trust fund that created two centers, one being the Women’s center. This center used to be her home.
Location: 626 Spring St.
16. Pan African American Festival
This festival celebrates the Pan African culture and its contributions centered on the theme of love, peace, unity and hope. The festival includes a parade of masquerades, Caribbean steel bands, reggae, African music, dancers, films, children's entertainment and cultural demonstrations. The only downside is that the festival is not held till late April. Mark your calendars now!
Location: Tubman Museum
17. Linwood Cemetery
This historic African American Cemetery is the final resting place of many Pleasant Hill and prominent Macon citizens. Established in 1894, the cemetery is home to Charles Douglass, the founder of the Douglass Theatre, and Marine Sgt. Rodney Maxwell Davis, a medal of honor recipient.
Location: Pleasant Hill Historic District
All photos are by Jaya Alaan.