First observed at Ohio’s Kent State University in 1970, Black History Month is celebrated each February to honor the proud history and achievements of African Americans in the United States. And for Daytona Beach visitors during the second month of the year, there’s no shortage of attractions where Black history is on full display.
During your next visit, take in these six Daytona Beach-area attractions that highlight African American culture and history:
- Jackie Robinson Ballpark: Celebrated as the boundary-breaker who in 1947 became the first African American to play in a Major League Baseball game, Jackie Robinson is a renowned member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s also a true national hero. Before he broke barriers with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in April 1947, he made history in the first integrated MLB spring training game in 1946 — right here in Daytona Beach. Today, the minor league ballpark that bears his name is home to the Class A Daytona Tortugas, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. A Jackie Robinson statue, historical markers and a museum celebrating Robinson’s achievements are also on site.
- Mary McLeod Bethune Statue at Riverfront Esplanade: Located on the corner of Beach Street and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., the 13-foot-tall statue celebrates Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in Daytona Beach in 1904, which later became Bethune-Cookman University, a Historic Black College University (HBCU). The civil rights and women's rights pioneer was an advisor to U.S. presidents including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. The bronze sculpture, which was unveiled in August 2022 at Riverfront Esplanade, is 829 pounds and the granite pedestal base is 14,050 pounds.
- African American Museum of the Arts: A 30-minute drive inland from Daytona Beach in DeLand, the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand is the only museum in the area devoted to African-American culture and arts. The museum’s permanent gallery features artworks from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar and other African nations. It also houses a collection of African artifacts, sculptures and masks.
ABSORB THE ARTS
- Freemanville Historic Site: Located 10 minutes south of Daytona Beach in Port Orange, the Freemanville Historic Site marks the location of a community that formerly enslaved people settled in 1867 after the American Civil War. A state historic marker commemorates the site on the Share The Heritage Trail, and the City of Port Orange celebrates Freemanville Day on the second Tuesday of each February with historical re-enactments.
SEE THE SITE
- Musuem of Arts & Sciences: The Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts and Sciences is home to one of the finest African art collections in the Southeast. The impressive collection features masks, sculpted figures and ceremonial and everyday objects from a number of African tribes. Carved commemorative staffs, ritual ornaments, fetishes and 130 pieces of rare Ashante gold are also highlighted in the collection. Large illustrative labels and informative text panels provide visitors with an expanded knowledge of the artistry and history of the African people.
HEAD TO THE MUSEUM OF ARTS & SCIENCES
- Mary McLeod Bethune Home & Gravesite: As a pioneering educator, founder of Bethune-Cookman University and renowned civil rights leader, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune is one of the Daytona Beach area’s most celebrated residents. Those who visit her historic home and burial place on the Bethune-Cookman campus are treated to fascinating artifacts, photos and memoirs that tell this local legend’s inspiring story.
LOCATE THIS LANDMARK
Cultural attractions in the Daytona Beach area don’t end with the list above. Want to learn more about Daytona Beach’s African American history and heritage?
Ready to create your educational adventure in Daytona Beach? Start planning your culture-soaked getaway today! We’ll look forward to seeing you and your vacation crew soon for some Wide. Open. Fun. *** It is always recommended that you check directly with any attraction in advance to confirm current operating hours and guidelines.