Cultural Destinations


Before the Civil War, cotton cultivation brought tremendous wealth to Black Belt plantation owners. Antebellum mansions dot the Black Belt, reminders of that era. Black Belt antebellum homes offer impressive examples of Greek Revival, Classical Revival, and Federal architectural styles. Many of these homes are now open to the public, such as Magnolia Grove Historic House Museum in Greensboro and Kirkwood Mansion in Eutaw. The graceful Southern architecture is also captured in the 53 Historic Districts in the Black Belt, and reflected in the abundance of historical churches throughout the Black Belt towns.


The year is filled with annual festivals throughout the region that actively celebrate the food, music, arts and spirit of the Black Belt. Click on the following link to view upcoming events: View calendar


Throughout the Black Belt, family and churches have long been centers of rural life. Since settlement days, churches have brought community members together for weekly prayer and fellowship, baptisms, funerals, weddings, and revivals. Music infuses these gatherings, from gospel hymns and spirituals to sacred harp singing. Black Belt churches have also served as meeting places for political and social organizing, a role they still play today. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-60s, community leaders galvanized support and action through church meetings. The Black Belt has 26 churches and 3 cemeteries on the National Register. This is only a sample of the many churches organized in the nineteenth century that form the central block of towns throughout the Black Belt. Today, these churches are repositories of deep cultural traditions and the cemeteries, from Selma’s Live Oak Cemetery to Rumpt Slave Cemetery are genealogical references for residents and visitors seeking biographies of the past.

Folk Arts and Crafts

From the intricate pottery of indigenous Mississippian artisans to the exquisitely wrought quilts, baskets, and hooked rugs of today, thousands of years of artistry and craftsmanship enrich Black Belt life. Today, arts is viewed by the Black Belt region as way to blend aspects of the past together, improve the local economy, and increase pride in the region. The following lists provides a sample of the Black Belt sites that recognize and promote local artists, and seek to preserve their skills for future generations of Black Belt artisans.

ArtsRevive, Dallas County

A non-profit community development organization established to create economic development through the promotion of the arts, architecture, and history of Selma. ArtsRevive hosts workshops, performances, and art shows, which engage artists, arts audiences, and visitors in and around Selma.

Black Belt Treasures, Wilcox County

A non-profit community craft center that features work from over 250 local artists, including quilts, carved decoys, white oak baskets, jewelry, and more than a hundred other high-quality handcrafts from the Black Belt region.

Coleman Center for Arts and Culture, Sumter County

The Coleman Center for Arts and Culture has brought the arts to the Black Belt region since the mid-1980s, holding exhibitions, conducting workshops, and sponsoring local festivals and events. The Center’s goal is to improve the quality of life in the Black Belt region by nurturing creativity and by revitalizing traditional arts, culture, and community.

Gee’s Bend and Ferry Terminal, Wilcox County

Generations of women in this small African-American settlement between Selma and Camden have created quilts from any materials available, using patterns of their own design. They gather at the Quilters Collective to piece together and sell the quilts, which cover abstract to traditional pattern styles. Many quilts have toured America’s greatest art museums and are featured in a 2006 U.S. postage stamp series.

StoryTree Company, Greene County

Founded in New York in 1992 by award-winning writers/performers/activists Malik Browne and Vassie Welbeck-Browne, StoryTree develops original works for children and adults that simultaneously build self-esteem and explore the multicultural world perspective.

The Rural Heritage Center, Marengo County

The foundation was formed in 1987, and incorporated in 1990, with a mission to preserve and protect Alabama’s rural heritage. Completed in 2006, the center boasts a folk art gallery, gift shop featuring all Alabama hand-made items, a state of the art commercial kitchen, vegetable cleaning room, restaurant area, outdoor space as well as meeting and office space.


Influenced by the convergence of cultures from Native Americans, African slaves, and European planters, the American South has produced a distinctive food culture that is represented in the Black Belt region of Alabama. Based on a diet of vegetables harvested from the fertile black soil, farm-raised catfish from local ponds, fried chicken, and barbecue, the Black Belt is home to a multitude of local restaurants, such as Priesters Pecans and Ezell’s Fish House where visitors and residents can experience authentic representation of Southern cuisine.


"The blues was sent down for oppressed people to ease their mind…The blues have worked miracles for me and many people." – Willie King, Pickens County bluesman Blues, work changes, shaped-note singing, gospel quartets, union songs, mining camp fiddle tunes, jug blowing, and hambone slapping – the irrepressible human spirit emerges in song and dance in the Black Belt. Music infuses the Black Belt at backyard barbeques, bluegrass festivals, fiddlers' conventions, and church gatherings. Below are a few of the sites that celebrate the musical history of the Black Belt.

Hank Williams Museum, Montgomery County

The Hank Williams Museum is located in downtown Montgomery where Hank lived from 1937 – 1953, and documents the life of the country musician.

Sucarnochee Revue, Sumter County

The Sucarnochee Revue is a radio program featuring musical and literary artists from the Black Belt. Its primary purpose is to introduce radio listeners in Alabama, Mississippi, and other parts of the nation and world to the artistic community of performers from the Black Belt area. The show not only preserves original music and the works by original artists but also captures the evolution of that music and its current generation of performers.