Visit Winston-Salem


African American

Take a step back in time as you walk through Old Salem one of America's most well-documented historic attraction and learn about the rich history of African Americans in Salem.  Visit St. Philips Moravian Church, the state’s oldest standing African American church, an interpretive site for the African American experience in the south. Also a component of Old Salem is the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA). MESDA showcases one of the finest collections of Southern decorative arts including works by African-American craftsmen, Thomas Day and David Drake, and painter Joshua Johnson. Visitors can schedule MESDA's "Hidden Legacy: The African American Influence in Southern Decorative Arts" behind-the-scenes tour at least one week in advance. 

View arts, exhibits and experience Winston-Salem’s vibrant African American culture at Diggs Gallery.  With its 6,500 square feet of gallery space, Diggs offers several visual art exhibitions each year and hosts educational programs in a number of disciplines.

Take a guided tour of the sculpture garden and see the breathtaking Biggers Murals, Origins and Ascension, located in the O'Kelly Library on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. These powerful works tower over you, standing more than 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

For lunch (or dinner), enjoy Southern food at Meta’s, one of downtown's oldest black-owned restaurants. Nearby in the Downtown Arts District is Sweet Potatoes (Well Shut My Mouth) - A restaurant. Serving up "southern with a side of soul," this popular woman-owned restaurant is famous for their sweet potato cornbread and sweet potato pie -- featured in New York Times and Dine for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch. Next door is their sister restaurant, Miss Ora's. The shining star here is the cast-iron fried chicken deliciously crafted based on the recipe of Chef Stephanie Tyson's grandmother. 

The Delta Fine Arts Center has provided quality educational and cultural programming. Since its founding in 1972, the organization's goal has been to stimulate interest and pride in American arts and humanities, emphasizing the contributions of African-Americans.  Programs in the visual arts, music, literature, drama, history and folk arts are offered.

The biennial National Black Theatre Festival, held July 29 - August 3, 2019, features more than 100 performances by the best black theatre companies in the world. Produced by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, the state’s first Black professional theatre company, this festival allows participants to mingle with celebrities and take part in nightly receptions, parades, films and poetry slams.  The North Carolina Black Repertory Company celebrates black theatre with multiple performances produced throughout the year.

Tour the -restored one-room schoolhouse, Historic Oak Grove School, built for African American students in the early 1900s.  It now serves as a museum exhibiting furniture, fixtures and school-related items found in one-room schools.  Enjoy a special tour guided by former students who attended one-room schools.


Find more about Winston-Salem's African-American history and heritage here.

Don't forget to request your copy of the African-American Arts & Culture Guide here