Syracuse is a city with a rich history of African American culture. From early abolitionists and the Underground Railroad to the 15th Ward and the city’s resurgence of the Salina St. corridor. Read on to discover how you can explore Black History in Syracuse all year round.
History & Culture Trails and Museums
Walk through History
Take a self-guided tour along Syracuse’s own Freedom Trail and experience the history-making sites of the Abolitionist Movement. The Trail commemorates places, people, and events of the 19th century. Along the way, visitors can view signs and markers that share information and historical lessons of this movement. The Trail winds throughout downtown Syracuse and includes highlights such as the Jerry Rescue Monument, Plymouth Church, Courier Building and the Mission restaurant, formerly the Wesleyan Church. Click here for a map of locations.
Faces of the Underground Railroad
Dedicated to the history of anti-slavery and Underground Railroad activity in Onondaga County, the Onondaga Historical Association’s Freedom Bound exhibit personalizes the story of the Underground Railroad while educating visitors about slavery, abolitionism, tolerance, and the meaning of freedom through a highly immersive experience. See the gallery come alive with the lights, images, voices, sounds, and music of the period, helping to tell this important piece of our local history.
Established in 2017, the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park features the Harriet Tubman Residence as well as the Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, a Visitor Center and the Tubman Home for the Aged. Discover Tubman’s core values as you walk through the homestead with a self-guided tour of the property. Finish off this historical trip with a visit to the Fort Hill Cemetery, where Tubman is buried. Find out more about the park and life of Harriet Tubman here.
Now you can explore Our Stories: A Virtual Black History Museum, from anywhere. The Black History Preservation project honors and celebrates the history and heritage of black people in Syracuse and Central New York. The virtual community museum currently stores over 220 pieces of Black History, including audio interviews, newspaper clippings, photographs and more. The documentary, Syracuse’s 15th Ward and Beyond can also be found on the Museum’s site.
Rev. Jermain Loguen and his wife, Caroline, were conductors on the Underground Railroad. Known all over the Northeast as the Underground Railroad King, the Loguen's helped upwards of 1,500 enslaved peoples to freedom.
*Notable Syracusans information provided by Onondaga Historical Association.