History Matters

Fall 2017/Spring 2018 Exhibit 

“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”  - Dora Franklin Finley,  Founder of the African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile

This exhibition is a component of the Common Read / Common World Initiative encouraging the USA community to share in reading the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Gyasi’s debut historical fiction novel examines the key themes of family, history, slavery, and race and racism. Our hope is to spark dialogue about these important issues, and remind visitors that history matters.  

Mobile’s story is told on the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile (DFFAAHT) tour. You will travel through time stopping at sites linked by contributors and events that shaped the city’s diverse history through the struggles and triumphs of African-Americans who have not been properly memorialized.

The DFFAAHT’s mission is to educate, preserve and mark the historic contributions of African-Americans in Mobile. The primary objective is to share Mobile’s multicultural legacy through the following stories:

  • The early Creoles de Color;
  • African survivors from the Clotilda, the last slave ship to enter the US in 1860;
  • Newly freed Blacks who worshiped and built some of the oldest churches in Alabama;
  • African-Americans who settled in an area named ironically for Jefferson Davis (Davis  Avenue) and later renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Avenue;
  • The Civil Rights advocates integral to the desegregation of the city’s schools,  private-sector workforce, and public offices.

Through the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail experience, participants will develop a taste for the rich gumbo of history as revealed by Mobile’s past.