Route History Shares the Incredible Contributions of Blacks on Route 66

Without a doubt, Route 66 is one of the most famous roads in the United States of America. The historic road is a tourism attraction for many and is often visited by lovers of history. Many are not aware, but there is rich black history on Route 66. Route History is a museum and shop that offers visitors a window into the tragedy, resilience, and excellence of Black people along the Historic Route 66 and in Springfield, Illinois. After returning from a Route 66 driving tour early this month, I was introduced to Dr. Gina Lathan and Dr. Stacy Grundy, two of three co-founders of Route History. Thanks to Dr. Grundy’s detailed explanation and sharing, I have learned a lot about African American history and and the migration on Route 66 in 1930s-1940s. I also want to thank Frank McNeil for the introduction and meeting arrangement.

This educational business seeks to educate visitors and those generally interested in Route 66 about the untold stories of local African American history. They focus on such things as the major role that Black people played in the Underground Railroad, the 1908 Springfield Race Riot and how Springfield served as a safe haven for Black travelers during the terrible Jim Crow era.

Route History also seeks to highlight and celebrate Eva Carroll Monroe’s role in founding the first black orphanage in Springfield and in all of Illinois, the Lincoln Colored Home. When you visit Route History, you will be exposed to the appreciation of subject areas such as math and science in the black community during the ‘90s. They also keep the story of the Ambidexter Institute alive. This was an industrial school that was built based on Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute.


The ultimate goal of this organization is to educate people about the incredible contributions of African Americans to the city of Springfield and the state of Illinois.

In celebrating, recognizing, and highlighting the experiences of African Americans on Route 66, the team at Route History use methods such as exhibits, digital media, events, educational material collectable items. These are used in the process of educating, training and engaging people of all ages and classes.

The store is located at 737 E. Cook Street, Springfield, Illinois. You will enjoy every moment of your trip there. This oasis of the history of African Americans on Route 66 is housed in a reseeds gas station from the 1930s era. The selection of this location was strategic as they sought to be in close proximity to other locations and structures that carry heavy historic significance to the black community in Springfield, Illinois.

Organizations like Route History must be commended and supported for the efforts in keeping black history on Route 66 alive. To learn more about this edifying and uplifting entity, visit their website, give them a call at 215-503-4129, email them at or find them on Facebook or Instagram.

The sufferings, journey, and stories of African Americans need to be told to the young generations and Route 66 travelers from all the world. Route History is one of the mighty forces in America who are rallying to this call. 

Address: Route History, 737 E Cook St, Springfield, IL 62703
Phone: (217) 503-4129

Note: Route History is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. If you have any questions please email them at