African American Heritage Tour
TUNICA TO CLARKSDALE 48 Miles
Start your adventure at Tunica, just south of Memphis in the Mississippi Delta. Visit the Blues and Legends Hall of Fame, located at Horseshoe Casino. This comprehensive museum traces the history of the blues from its Mississippi roots in to its worldwide appeal today. After lunch try your luck at one of Tunica Resorts casinos. From Tunica, take famed Highway 61 South to Clarksdale, the first stop on the “chitlin’ circuit” traveled by bluesmen of the 1920s and 1930s. This Delta town is the former home of blues greats W. C. Handy, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf. Head for the Clarksdale Station and Blues Alley, the renovated railroad depot that houses the Delta Blues Museum, to bone up on the blues, take a look at Muddy Waters’ modest cabin and purchase a blues CD. Browse the shops along Delta Avenue and take a stroll down Issaquena and Sunflower Avenues, home to many historic blues sites. Tonight, enjoy a gourmet meal at an upscale restaurant owned by actor Morgan Freeman or a down-home catfish dinner served in a historic plantation commissary, followed by entertainment in a blues club or authentic juke joint.
DAY 2 CLARKSDALE TO MOUND BAYOU 24 Miles
MOUND BAYOU TO CLEVELAND 10 Miles
CLEVELAND TO GREENVILLE 36 Miles
Total – 70 Miles
Continue along Highway 61 South to Mound Bayou, the oldest African American town in the United States. The grounds of City Hall are adorned with statues of famous African Americans, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X. Pick up a one of a kind collectible from Peter’s Pottery, operated by the talented Wood brothers. Stop in Cleveland for lunch and shopping at the Historic Cotton Row District, then take a detour to Dockery Farms, the plantation where the first blues tunes may have been played. Continue south to Greenville for dinner, followed by an evening in the blues clubs along Walnut Street or casino gaming along the waterfront.
DAY 3 GREENVILLE TO JACKSON 117 Miles
Begin your tour of Jackson at the Old Capitol State Historical Museum, which features exhibits related the history of government in Mississippi. Next stop—the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, which celebrates African American history, heritage and art in the first public school for African American children in Jackson. Enjoy lunch in the Farish Street Historic District, once a center of African American business and entertainment. Call ahead to reserve a tour of the modest but inspiring Medgar Evers Home, the site of the civil rights leader’s assassination in 1963. Visit the Medgar Evers Library, where a life-sized, bronze statue of Evers is the centerpiece. Wrap up the day at the incredible Tougaloo College Art Collection, which contains more than 1,000 pieces; a visit to the campus of Jackson State University, Mississippi’s only urban university; or a tour of The Piney Woods School, a nationally-renowned boarding school for African American children just south of Jackson.
DAY 4 JACKSON TO PORT GIBSON 50 Miles
PORT GIBSON TO LORMAN 10 Miles
LORMAN TO NATCHEZ 30 Miles
Total – 90 Miles
Head south on the Natchez Trace Parkway to Port Gibson and the Cultural Crossroads, a workshop and gallery for award-winning quilters. Then head to the Matt Ross Administrative Building on Main Street for the civil rights photo exhibit, “No Easy Journey.” Alcorn State University, the nation’s first land grant college for African Americans, is in nearby Lorman and home to several antebellum structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue to Natchez, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River, for lunch before touring this city rich in African American history. Natchez is home to more than 500 antebellum mansions, churches and public buildings, many designed and built by slave artisans and craftsmen. Other stops include Forks of the Road, site of one of the antebellum South’s two largest slave markets; the Natchez National Historical Park and the historic homes Melrose and the William Johnson House; and the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. You’ll definitely want to browse the treasures at the Angelety House and Mostly African Market, many of which are imported from Africa. Enjoy the evening at Natchez Under the Hill and its shops, restaurants and casino gaming.