The spiritual history of Pittsburgh’s black community will be on full display Jan. 19, when nonprofit Doors Open and local African Methodist Episcopal church officials partner to host a “ Ride with the King ” black history tour the Saturday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Bonnie Baxter of Pittsburgh got the idea for Doors Open after attending a similar event while living in Chicago. In October 2018, more than 50 buildings throughout Downtown were part of a Doors Open event. It offered the public an opportunity to take guided tours, attend lectures and view exhibits about the architecture of the buildings as well as what takes place inside.
“People buy tickets and then they can help themselves to the building tours,” Baxter said. “We have about 400 volunteers at those buildings and when people come in, they get either a behind-the-scenes experience or just a chance, as we say in Pittsburgh ‘to be nebby.’”
Baxter also has put together a series of “Insider” tours, organized around a single location.
After talking with staff at Bethel AME Church in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood, “I thought the time might be right to pull the trigger on an ‘Insider’ tour at the church,” she said. “And with just the little bit of history they gave me, we started thinking that several AME church tours would be a really good opportunity.”
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