5 Things That Set Philadelphia Apart as a Black Tourist CitySep 02, 2022 09:00AM ● By Eric Nzeribe, with contributions by Sandra Lawrence and Joseph T-Toe
As Summer wraps up, FunTimes Magazine explores five things that set Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, apart as a historic city with plenty to offer tourists - especially those who are Black.
From the famous Liberty Bell to the delicious cheesesteaks, there's something for everyone in Philly. And with a rich African American history, it's a great place to learn about and celebrate Black culture. Here are five things that make Philadelphia a must-visit city for Black tourists.
First, the city was a major stop for the Underground Railroad and home to several influential civil rights leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson. Philadelphia is home to several museums and historical sites celebrating the city's African American history. The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first of its kind, funded and built by a municipality dedicated to African American history and culture in the United States. Other historical sites include the grave sites of President Washington's Philadelphia slaves, Mother Bethel A.M. E. Church, Paul Robeson House Museum, The Colored Girls Museum, Aces Museum, Marian Anderson Historical Society, Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum, Lest We Forget Museum, and The Johnson House. These sites are important not only for their historical significance but also for their educational value. They offer visitors a chance to learn about the vital role that Black Americans have played in the history of the United States.
Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of freedom. The bell was rung when the Declaration of Independence was first read aloud in 1776. A slaveholder and speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly named Isaac Norris actually chose its inscription. The Liberty Bell is a reminder of the importance of civil rights and equality for all people. Visitors can explore these sites to learn more about the struggles and triumphs of Black Americans.
Second, there are numerous Black-owned businesses and attractions in Philadelphia. This includes soul food, African and Caribbean restaurants that whip up mouth- watering dishes with exotic spices, cafes, shops, and more. Thus, Black tourists will feel right at home in Philadelphia. FunTimes Magazine knows plenty of resources and events here in Philadelphia that Black tourists will love exploring.
Third, Philadelphia is a city that is committed to diversity and inclusion. This commitment is evident in the city's many Black-owned businesses, cultural institutions, and community organizations.
Fourth, besides having a number of Black-owned restaurants and chefs offering food from around the world, Philadelphia is also a city of neighborhoods like African towns, Chinatown, and Italian markets, amongst others.
Finally, Philadelphia has a long and rich history of Black music and art. The city has produced some of the world's most influential Black musicians and artists. Notable living Black entertainers and celebrities include Patti Labelle, Kenny Gamble, Meek Mill, Terrence Howard, The Roots (Tarik Trotter and Questlove), Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, the Intruders, Jill Scott, Boys to Men, actors Kevin Hart, Will Smith are all Philly natives. Past greats include Teddy Pendergrass, Marion Anderson, and Billie Holiday.
FunTimes knows that the city's music and art scenes are vibrant and thriving. Many Black-owned businesses include music venues, art galleries, and performance spaces. Visitors can experience the city's Black culture through its music, art, food, and history.
Eric John Nzeribe is the Publisher of FunTimes Magazine and has a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry since 1992. His interests include using data to understand and solve social issues, narrative stories, digital marketing, community engagement, and online/print journalism features. Nzeribe is a social media and communication professional with certificates in Digital Media for Social Impact from the University of Pennsylvania, Digital Strategies for Business: Leading the Next-Generation Enterprise from Columbia University, and Master of Science (MS) in Publication Management from Drexel University.
Sandy is a Deaconess at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church. She is retired and has worked in the field of elementary education and adoption/foster and geriatric social work. She is founder and CEO of ICAP Inc (Intergenerational Community Alliances & Programs Inc.) a nonprofit organization. It provides workshops and motivational speaking on select topics. Sandy is an amateur Storyteller and has authored 2 adoption specialty children’s books and has published an inspirational book for women available on amazon titled "Weaving the Threads of Faith… Sisterly Encouragement 1." The Part 2 is soon to be released. She has held/holds membership in various socially impacting organizations promoting the betterment of women, children/families and seniors. She is associate publisher and advisory board member to FUNTIMES Magazine. Sandy is the mother of son, Rasheen. She lives the philosophy that “If I can help somebody along the way than my living is not in vain..”
Joseph T-Toe is Associate Editor Emeritus of Funtimes Magazine. He holds an Associate in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra, Ghana. He once served as Foreign News Editor at the Liberia News Agency (LINA). He is author of The Voice My Silence, an anthology African poems and short stories (under revision), and two children’s books – Fatu and Lake Piso and The Adventure of Little King Dahhena. T-Toe also serves on the boards of Christ International Baptist Church and Tip Global Educational Resources (TGER) in Philadelphia.