Located in the historic West End community rests The Shrine of the Black Madonna; the ninth congregation of Pan African Orthodox Christian Church. Though the church itself contains a wealth of historic materials for Black History, its highlighted features are the bookstore and Black Holocaust Museum.

In 1975, 40 members of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church in Detroit moved to Atlanta and founded The Shrine of the Black Madonna. With a growing congregation, The Shrine added a bookstore and community center.

By 1991, with the discovery of an African burial site in New York, slave film “Amistad” hitting theaters nationwide, as well as the unearthing of a slave ship—the Henrietta Marie—the Shrine opened its doors to the Black Holocaust Museum on its campus.

Upon entry into the warm space of the Black Holocaust Museum, patrons will find amazing pieces of history that offers documentation on the slave trade as well as showing the enslavement, resilience, and resistant of the African people in the Americas.

These documents, which date back to the late 1700s, reveal African people—women and children included—being bought, sold, and bartered like cattle were. The museum’s collection also boasts a number of freedom papers, as well as letters from slave traders communicating amongst themselves in regards to the trading of African people.

A big part of The Black Holocaust Museum located at the Shrine of the Black Madonna is the artwork of Tom Feelings “The Middle Passage: White Ships, Black Bodies,” providing Feelings’ interpretation of what the slave trade may have looked like.

Because The Shrine of the Black Madonna Church, as well as its bookstore, community center, and the Black Holocaust Museum still rely on the word of mouth within the community, its curators and management team have been able to offer a beautiful intimate place for reverence, reflecting and history unmarred by oversaturation and foot traffic.

The Shine wanted to give our communities in Atlanta a place to come and reflect, by homage, and honor to our untold stories within our community that will always understand why we might express our confusion, joy, hope, pain, and love when embarking upon our history.

Although the museum wasn’t planned by the leadership at the Shrine of the Madonna, its team said it was in divine order that they were able to gather all of the artifacts for the community. Part of the intent for the museum was to assist every previous generation and to come to know that African people—and descents of African people—have endured a lot, but have resisted every step of the way.

The Black Holocaust Museum is just a snapshot of African American history, fashioned to let every generation know that struggle is a part of how the diaspora’s shared history but patrons can draw strength from their ancestors who ran away against all odds separated from their family, sold and shipped were able to survive.

So when you want to give up just come to The Black Holocaust Museum located at 946 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310 to get some strength and direction.

The Shrine of the Black Madonna Orthodox Church boasts an incredible bookstore and Black Holocaust Museum.

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