Visit the birthplace of Booker T. Washington, one of the most influential African American leaders in history.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a region with amazing Black history and culture.
It’s a unique blend of people, organizations, and communities who played a major role in the growth and development of Roanoke and the surrounding region, as well as people with local connections to the area who were influential around the world.
Prominent figures of Black history in Virginia’s Blue Ridge include people like Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute and one of the most influential African American leaders in history. There’s also Oliver White Hill, a civil rights attorney whose work was part of the Brown v. Board of Education case that overturned segregation in public schools. Hill grew up on the same block as Edward R. Dudley, who would become the first Black Ambassador in United States history.
You can find all kinds of amazing information about Black history in the region by visiting locations such as the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and Booker T. Washington National Monument, or by taking part in the Self Guided Walking Tour of Historic Gainsboro.
A look back at the Black history of our region also requires us to acknowledge difficult and uncomfortable truths.
The Black History of Roanoke & Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a history with similarities to so many communities around the country. It’s a history that includes local men and women who would achieve remarkable things and create lasting change that would impact generations, and they did so while living with the difficulties of segregation and racism.
Black history is an integral part of the overall history and heritage of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, and we invite you to experience it during a visit to the region. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and legacy of the past.
We have lots of helpful information and resources to help you make the most of a visit to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Take advantage of the pages below to help you plan your getaway.