Explore historic sites commemorating Black history in California

Written by:
May 25, 2022
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Explore historic sites commemorating Black history in California

The legacies of influential Black Americans have not always been acknowledged, so it's not uncommon that modern-day residents may overlook the historic sites of their own cities.

While some historical Black figures in the U.S. are more well-known than others, there are in fact thousands of people dating back generations to 17th-century slavery who left traces of their visions and impacts all across the country. Whether prominent figures such as Robert Abbott, who founded one of the largest African American newspapers in the country, or more under-the-radar originators such as Obrey Wendell Hamlet, who cultivated unique vacation experiences in the Rocky Mountains, one thing's for certain: There is far more uncharted Black history in this country than charted.

Stacker identified historic sites commemorating Black history across 47 states, using the National Register of Historic Places. North Dakota, Vermont, Hawaii, and Wyoming did not have Black historic sites listed on the registry. While some states, especially in the South, are home to many sites central to the civil rights movement, Stacker listed the total sites in every state and the names of three historic sites where available. You can visit the full registry of 232 historic sites and explore the Civil Rights Trail to learn about additional locations across the U.S.

Read on to explore and learn about the historic sites celebrating Black history in your state, or read the national story here.

California by the numbers

- Sites commemorating Black history: 24 (3 with state significance, 2 with national significance)
- Liberty Hall (Oakland)
- Women's Building, The (San Francisco)
- Somerville Hotel (Los Angeles)

Built in 1877, Liberty Hall in Oakland was purchased by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s. Liberty Hall was where he used the building as a meeting headquarters for his fraternal organization. Since then, the building has served the West Oakland community for more than 100 years.

Continue reading to see which sites commemorate Black history in other states in your area.


- Sites commemorating Black history: 4 (0 with state significance, 0 with national significance)
- Alston, Dr. Lucius Charles House (Mesa)
- Phoenix Union Colored High School (Phoenix)
- Swindall Tourist Inn (Phoenix)

Dr. Lucius Charles Alston was the first African American physician to practice in Mesa. He treated patients of all ethnicities and did not discriminate. Dr. Alston initially treated patients from his home, which remained a prominent fixture until his death in 1958.


- Sites commemorating Black history: 6 (1 with state significance, 0 with national significance)
- Moulin Rouge Hotel (Las Vegas)
- Berkley Square (Las Vegas)
- Clark Avenue Railroad Underpass (Las Vegas)

The historic Berkley Square area was designed in 1949 by Paul Revere Williams, a renowned African American architect from Los Angeles and named after Thomas L. Berkley, a Black attorney from Oakland. Berkley Square was designed for Black residents in Las Vegas at a time when segregation was at an all-time high. The district provided affordable housing for its residents and was financed by Berkley, along with other financiers J. J. Byrnes and Edward A. Freeman.

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