The roots of multicultural diversity run deep in Baltimore. People of Native American, European, Asian and African descent were among Baltimore’s first residents. In the early 1800s, when slavery was still a legal institution in the United States, many African Americans found freedom in Baltimore, forming one of the largest “freed” communities in the country.
Baltimore’s history is as global as it is American. Within the city’s neighborhoods are treasured stories of courage and transformation, sacrifice and hope. These stories add to the colorful tapestry that makes Baltimore such a vibrant waterfront city. Take a walk through history and discover an exciting future with Baltimore’s multicultural attractions.
African American Museums
Just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor: the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the largest African American museum on the East Coast. The Lewis Museum shares the stories of African American Marylanders’ triumph over adversity and their influence on American life. Hop aboard a water taxi and visit the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park & Museum. Within the walls of the restored “Sugar House,” trace the path of one of America’s most famous abolitionists – Frederick Douglass – who, along with Isaac Myers and 14 fellow African Americans, started the first black-owned shipyard in the United States.
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, the only museum of its kind dedicated to the African American experience, displays one of the most talked about, moving and emotional representations of the Middle Passage. The museum also features a figure of President Barack Obama, and is located not far from legendary Pennsylvania Avenue, once home to Baltimore’s own artistic Black Renaissance. All three museums are featured in the Legends & Legacies Heritage Pass available for purchase through Visit Baltimore.
Fell’s Point, a favorite tourist spot, has become the center of Baltimore’s growing Hispanic community. During the 19th- and early 20th-century periods of mass global immigration, Fell’s Point was the second-most widely used point of entry to the East Coast of the United States, second only to Ellis Island. Several of Baltimore’s neighborhoods – including Little Italy, Canton and Greektown – were settled by immigrants who first set foot on American soil in Fell’s Point, and to this day, these neighborhoods retain the cultures and flavors of their original settlers.
Visitors to Baltimore can see, taste and feel the uniqueness of the city’s diverse culture, from an array of restaurants that can please even the most eclectic palate, to shopping, nightlife, art, history and culture. Experience and celebrate Baltimore’s diversity and hear the stories that have long been a source of inspiration and celebration.
Colorful Heritage Festivals
Throughout the year, Baltimore celebrates its proud ethnic heritage with festivals featuring live music, dance, cuisine and more. After celebrating the centennial of her death in 2013, Baltimore continues to pay tribute to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, as well as the Emancipation Proclamation and will celebrate Jubilee 1864 this year.
Click here to download "Dream Baltimore: A Heritage Guide".