“These road trips and initiatives that target people of color in general are important because we have been left out of the travel narratives,” Braswell said. “If you are going to create experiences where people go out into the world, all people should be included in those experiences.”
Ms. Braswell added that most of her business comes from black travelers. These travelers, he said, are looking for black travel consultants who are knowledgeable about where they are welcome and can help them plan their trips. Over the past year, travelers of different racial backgrounds have increasingly been asking for tours and experiences that include black-owned businesses, he said.
Across the country, as people protested police brutality, travelers demanded to see more travelers who looked like them in advertising; spoke out against tourism boards that had not been inclusive in the past and formed organizations such as the Black travel alliance, calling for more black travel photographers, writers and influencers to be employed.
The Alliance and others have been pushing for more black travelers to be visible and included in the industry and leisure travel spaces.
Going beyond museums
At the same time, tourism providers such as Free Egunfemi Bangura, the founder of RVA not counted, a Richmond-based organization, offers tours that focus on the contributions of blacks. In a city like Richmond, once the capital of the Confederacy, he said that means seeing the value of working outside the established system of preservation societies and museums that are generally run by white leaders.
For Ms. Bangura and other activists, artists and tour operators, museums and traditional preservation societies are part of the culture of exclusion that has historically left blacks out and continues to present versions of history that focus on narratives. white. Ms. Bangura’s tours are held on the streets of the city as a better way to understand local history.
At a time when state legislatures are pushing and passing laws limiting what and how much students learn about the contributions of blacks and other marginalized people to the country, Bangura and others said, tours showing their contributions are even more important.