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Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

NATCHEZ

The Natchez Convention Center Complex takes up an entire block in the city's historic district, providing 23,000 sq. ft. of divisible function space on the first floor of the Convention Center and 6,670 sq. ft. on the second floor, including three meeting rooms with balconies overlooking Main Street.

The old post office on Main Street houses the NAPAC Museum, established by the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture to focus on the Black heritage of Natchez and Adams County. Natchez National Park operates two sites, both with ties to African-American history: Melrose , 133-acre estate built by slaves and free men, and The William Johnson House, home of a former slave who became a prominent local businessman and slave owner himself.

Many of Natchez' historic homes open to tours during the city's popular spring and fall pilgrimages. Other notable events include the Natchez Bluff Blues Fest in April and the Natchez Powwow in March, which spotlights the area's Native American culture.

At the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, visitors can explore a reconstructed Natchez Indian house, three ceremonial mounds, a nature tail and a gift shop that sells Native American crafts. Admission to the attraction is free.

NORTH CAROLINA

Asheville, the largest city in North Carolina's mountainous western region, is best known as the home of the Biltmore Estate. Winston-Salem's St. Philips Moravian, the oldest remaining Black church in North Carolina, while the Old Salem Museums & Gardens recreates life in a 19th century Moravian community. Neighboring High Point, dubbed the "Furniture Capital of America," is the site of the Rosetta C. Baldwin African-American Museum.

Durham's African-American cultural attractions include the Hayti Heritage Center and the art museum at North Carolina Central University. A few miles away, in the capital city of Raleigh, you'll find the African American Cultural Complex and Mordecai Historic Park. In Vance County, located north of Raleigh on the edge of Kerr Lake, the Henderson Institute Historical Museum is housed in what was once the county's only high school for Black students. South of Raleigh is Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg and the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.

CHARLOTTE

The Charlotte Convention Center has implemented a number of green initiatives, including recycling, energy conservation measures and the use of biodegradable and environmentally-friendly products. The center contains 280,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, more than 90,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and a 35,000-sq.ft. ballroom.

There are nearly 30,000 guestrooms in the metro area, including more than 4,100 rooms within walking distance of the convention center.

Charlotte's Afro-American Cultural Center, which presents a host of art programs, exhibits and special events, will soon move into a new facility in Center City that will quadruple its current space and feature a rooftop terrace for meetings and receptions.

North Carolina's first art museum, the Mint Museum of Art, is housed in what was once the first branch of the United States Mint. Its sister institution, the Mint Museum of Craft & Design, has a new home under construction that will provide additional space for the collections of both museums, as well as space for traveling exhibits.

The Charlotte Museum of History has the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite located on its grounds. The home is the oldest surviving building in Mecklenburg County. The Levine Museum of the New South, with its award-winning "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers" exhibit, focuses on post-Civil War Southern history. Kids will love exploring Discovery Place, a hands-on science and technology museum in Center City whose exhibits include a live rain forest. A great outing for any meeting group with tots in tow would be a visit to ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, which features a 570-seat theater, a children's library and a story-telling area.

Recreational amenities range from 80 area golf courses to the U.S. National Whitewater Center's rafting course. Auto racing fans will be able to tour the new NASCAR Hall of Fame after its 2010 opening.

GREENSBORO

The Sheraton Greensboro Hotel & Koury Convention Center offers the city's most spacious accommodations for meeting groups, including 1,106 guestrooms, 250,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a business center. Greensboro has several Black heritage sites for delegates and family members to explore during their leisure. The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum at Historic Palmer Institute, is located at the site of the preparatory school for African-Americans that Brown founded in 1902. Other points of interest include the African-American Atelier, one of four art galleries at the Greensboro Cultural Center at Festival Park; Guilford College, where a haven for escaped slaves was located; and the Greensboro Historical Museum, which includes an exhibit on the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins. The local Woolworth store where the demonstrations took place is being turned into a museum that is now under construction.

Greensboro boasts an impressive list of historical attractions, including Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, where 28 monuments and gravesites honor Revolutionary War-era soldiers and patriots; Hoskins House & Tannanenbaum Historic Park, a former 18th century farmstead; Castle McCulloch, a restored 19th century gold refinery in nearby Jamestown; and Mendenhall Plantation, a Quaker estate where one of the displays is a false-bottom wagon used to carry runaway slaves.


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