THOMASVILLE, Ga. -- The grave site of the first black person to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has caught the attention of Georgia's Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper's grave in this south Georgia city will be listed, along with other black historical sites around the state, in a new tourism guide targeted at blacks. The guide is expected to be released in the spring, said Tracey McKeather, a marketing consultant with the tourism department.
"Our goal is to attract more African-American tourism dollars," Ms. McKeather said. "From what the statistics say, African-Americans spend $23 billion a year in the travel industry. We want to make sure we divert those funds to Georgia."
Flipper's grave will be listed alongside Atlanta's Auburn Avenue, the birthplace of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the one-time center for black businesses during segregation.
Also listed will be Lucy C. Laney Museum, Springfield Baptist Church and BL's Restaurant, all in Augusta.
The Mount Zion Albany Civil Rights Museum and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon are also among the 38 sites expected to be named in the guide.
"It's certainly time for the state to start focusing on this," said Fran Dudley, Thomasville's tourism director.
Currently, the state's black historical sites are relegated to two pages in the Georgia On My Mind travel book, which is available at the state's welcome centers.
Georgia's General Assembly appropriated $300,000 last year to promote black historical sites. But the money won't cover the complete cost of the guide, said Hanna Ledford, the tourism department's deputy commissioner.
The tourism department is trying to raise money through donations to pay for the printing of the guide, she said.
The guide will be advertised in leading minority publications, such as Black Enterprise and Ebony, as well as minority newspapers across the country.
Ms. McKeather also said the guides would be made available at trade shows and on the Internet.
A list of some of the black historical sites to be included in a new Georgia tourism guide (See Page 13A):
Source: Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism