City Cast

Best Ways To Learn Black History in Pittsburgh

Francesca Dabecco
Francesca Dabecco
Posted on February 27   |   Updated on June 8
August Wilson historical marker outside his childhood home. (Raymond Boyd / Getty)

August Wilson historical marker outside his childhood home. (Raymond Boyd / Getty)

February is wrapping up. Here are ways to explore the history of our city’s Black trailblazers, activists, artists, and sports teams year-round.

📜 Heinz History Center
The “From Slavery to Freedom” exhibit helps you understand the enslavement of the African diaspora, as well as the history of the anti-slavery movement and the impact of 19th-century activism on the modern quest for civil rights in Pittsburgh.

⚾ Western Pennsylvania Sports MuseumPittsburgh was once the center of Negro League baseball, with teams like the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. See it on display in the exhibit with a short film, memorabilia, and a virtual tour of the Hill District’s Greenlee Field.

📝 August Wilson African American Cultural Center+ The August Wilson House
Learn about the legendary playwright at the Downtown center and his recently-renovated house and cultural hub on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District. This Thursday through Saturday marks the grand opening of the August Wilson Archivewith the University of Pittsburgh Library system.

📣 Freedom Corner
The corner on Crawford Street in the Hill District was once the site of community resistance in the Middle and Upper Hill, and in 1963, 2,000 Pittsburghers gathered there before witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, DC. Today, it lives on as a place for rallies, protests, and parades.

🎶 National Negro Opera Company
Mary Cardwell Dawson created the nation’s first African-American opera companyin 1941 inside of a Queen Anne-style mansion on Apple Street in Homewood, making classical music more accessible to Black audiences. Unfortunately, it sat neglected for a long time, but major renovations began last year!

🚑 Hear the History of Freedom House Ambulance
In the 1960s, a trailblazing group of Black men from the Hill District started saving lives in their community, setting the stage for the country’s first emergency medicine system. 

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