As Baltimore’s tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, some tourism officials say it’s the perfect time to highlight and invest in African American history and landmarks.
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During the era of racial segregation in the U.S., Black people created their own culture, businesses, and entertainment when they were shunned from white venues and events. In Baltimore, Black people congregated around Pennsylvania Avenue which currently has landmarks such as the Billie Holiday statue and Royal Theatre Marquee, first opened as the black-owned Douglass Theatre in 1922.
The city’s budget currently provides $2.2 million to the Walters Art Gallery, $2.7 million for the Baltimore Museum of Art, and $1.6 million for the Maryland Zoo but no direct funding towards African American institutions such as the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and dozens of other sites that are committed to telling the story of the city’s Black people.
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Lou Fields, the founder of the African American Tourism Council, has made it his priority to extract more support from the city to promote Baltimore’s Black history and cultural sites.
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