Stretching as far back as our first pioneers, many Black Idahoans have called this state home. This history has been documented and exhibited thanks to the hard working volunteers at the Idaho Black History Museum.
Fifth generation Idahoan and operator of the Idaho Black History Museum, Philip, shared “Idaho was a land where Black Americans sought new opportunities (mostly after the abolition of slavery).”
But Idaho started seeing more and more Black migrants to the area after the brutal events of the Tulsa Race Massacre where the desolation of a thriving Black Wall Street was carried out in 1921. Other various race-related crimes encouraged many Black Americans to find new opportunities in the still relatively un-claimed lands of the West and Idaho became home to many.
Thanks to the work of the museum and the descendants of those first Black Idahoans, you can enjoy artifacts and stories at this historical site.
The Museums History
Located in the heart of downtown Boise, the Idaho Black History Museum resides inside the St. Paul Baptist Church. The church no longer runs a service, but has transitioned into showcasing Idaho's Black history. The church’s original structure was purchased by Rev. William Riley Hardy in 1921 and was later moved to its location in Julia Davis Park in the 1990’s.
Relative of Rev. Hardy, Cherie Buckner-Webb was instrumental in rallying support to move the church and having the museum created. Buckner-Webb herself is Idaho’s first Black Senator and is now the College of Western Idaho Zone 5 Trustee, and her own long-lasting family history in Idaho is one of the many stories you can learn while you visit the museum.
Exhibits at the Museum
The history featured at the museum runs from the pioneer days to more modern events. When you enter, you will be greeted by several displays telling these stories.
Currently the rotating exhibit being featured is the art works of Narges Shames, Homeyra Shams, Luma Jasim, and Hallie Maxell. The work takes a look at the feeling of diaspora.
Other artifacts and exhibits that can be found:
- Painting of Martin Luther King Jr. by Pablo Rodriguez
- Photographs from the early Black Idaho settlers
- A copy of a The Green Book, a resource used by Black Americans to drive and travel safely
- Klans member uniform from a Silver City resident
- Statue of Abraham Lincoln (outside)
Find the Idaho Black History Museum online and on Facebook,
Location: 508 Julia Davis Dr., Boise, ID
Other places to Recognize Black Idahoan History
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on Black Idahoan history, the museum is a great place to start. We also encourage you to head to the Cherie Buckner-Webb park located at the corner of Bannock and 11th st in downtown Boise. The park was dedicated to the former senator for her accomplishments in government and social causes.
Cherie Buckner-Webb Park, Named After Trailblazer, Now Open
We also encourage you to support these Idaho businesses owned and operated by fellow Black community members.
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