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Baltimore's African American Culture

From politics and religion to sports, education and the arts, African Americans have had an impact on every aspect of life in Baltimore.
Bust of Frederick Douglass

altimore has a rich African American history that has translated into a powerful Black culture today. Read on for a sampling of what to see, do and explore to immerse yourself in our proud African American heritage.

Celebrate Black culture at these events

Don’t hold back at Black Pride.

Baltimore always has tons of events going on, but some of the best parties happen at AFRAM—the East Coast’s largest celebration of African American culture that typically happens in August in Druid Hill Park, complete with music, food and family friendly events. Vegan SoulFest was created by the co-owner of vegan hot spot Land of Kush as a way to make vegan food more accessible to all. The event brings together delicious food, upbeat music and educational speakers. And don’t forget to support the LGBTQ+ Black community at Black Pride.

Support Black-owned businesses

Couple at the Land of Kush square.

Greg Brown and Naijha Wright-Brown, owners of the Land of Kush.

The opulent Ivy Hotel in Mount Vernon is the only Black-owned luxury hotel in Baltimore. It’s a 1889 historic mansion that’s been transformed into an 18-room hotel with a spa and restaurant, Magdalena. The owners, Eddie and Sylvia Brown are also the founders of the Brown Family Foundation to support the arts, education and health, making philanthropic donations to cultural and artistic institutions around the city.

Baltimore’s Black culinary scene is also drawing attention thanks to Black-owned restaurants like Land of Kush and Dovecote Cafe. If you’re craving something sweet, grab a pint of ice cream from Taharka Brothers or some fresh-baked cookies from Aunt Kelly’s.

And we love Black-owned shops like Drama MaMa Bookshop, Keepers Vintage and KSM Candle Co. Support these other Black-owned businesses.

Check out the jazz scene

Honor Baltimore native jazz singer Billie Holiday at this mural in Fell’s Point.

Travel back in time to the golden era of jazz at Keystone Korner Jazz Club in Harbor East. Inspired by owner Todd Barkan’s former West Coast club from the 70s and 80s, Keystone Korner has live music seven days a week and a retro Americana menu created by restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier. The club joins others like Caton CastleAn Die Musik and Germano’s Piattini in keeping Baltimore’s jazz culture alive.

Each month during the summer, Jazzy Summer Nights brings together some of the hottest local and national jazz and R&B performers with delicious local food vendors for one exciting party you won’t want to miss.

Immerse yourself in history

Meet famous historical figures at the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum.

Baltimore boasts a wealth of cultural attractions, including museums, monuments and historic sites, that celebrate our African American heritage. Be sure to visit the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, the only wax museum in the country dedicated to African Americans. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum showcases history and accomplishments of Maryland African Americans. And the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum celebrates the legacy of Frederick Douglass, a famous writer and abolitionist who escaped slavery in Baltimore.

Get your FREE BoP Pass

Trumpeter playing to a starry sky in front of a colorful buildingSee and do it all with the free, easy to use BoP Pass that gives you exclusive discounts to Baltimore’s Black history museums and cultural attractions along with a variety of shops and restaurants.

Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Museum

Learn about Frederick Douglass’s time in Baltimore at the Frederick Douglass Isaac-Myers Maritime Museum.