Department of Development encourages Ohioans to celebrate Black History Month

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

COLUMBUS — This Black History Month the Ohio Department of Development and TourismOhio are encouraging Ohioans to celebrate the legacies of Black Ohioans who have shaped our state and support the vibrant communities and small businesses of Ohio’s successful Black entrepreneurs. 

“Ohio has a rich tapestry that reflects the historic contributions of Black Americans. Black History Month provides an opportunity for reflection, education, and support for communities and Black-owned businesses,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Department of Development, which oversees TourismOhio. “We are very fortunate to have so many destinations within Ohio to explore and celebrate Black history, not just in the month of February, but year-round.” 

Ohio is home to several Black historic and cultural institutions, many of which are hosting events throughout February. TourismOhio has compiled a list of destinations to inspire travelers to explore Ohio’s Black History. Featured on the site are the Paul Laurance Dunbar House in Dayton, the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (both in Wilberforce), the Kings Art Complex in Columbus, and many more. 

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In addition, TourismOhio released a new statewide trail in September 2023 showcasing Ohio’s involvement in the Underground Railroad. The Ohio Historical Underground Railroad Trail is available online and for download at 

Those looking to support local Black-owned businesses can check out Ohio, The Heart of it All’s list of “230 Black-Owned Businesses to Check Out while Traveling in Ohio.”  The list is just a fraction of the can’t-miss Ohio Black-owned restaurants, retail spots, and attractions across the state. 

The innovation, resilience, and dedication of Ohio’s Black entrepreneurs’ have played a vital role in fostering economic growth and community development, and this February, Development continues to uplift these businesses, not just for a month but as an ongoing commitment to inclusivity and equity through its Minority Business Development Division’s (MBDD) simplified certification and loan processes, expanded outreach efforts, and increased engagement with local partners who support small business growth and sustainability.   

MBDD’s network of Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC) offers free technical and professional, assistance, access to capital and bonding, and connection to business opportunities to empower entrepreneurs to succeed. Throughout the month, many of these centers will host free events specifically for Black entrepreneurs. Prospective clients should reach out to their local MBAC center or keep an eye out for event information online. 

Operating within Development, TourismOhio works to showcase all Ohio has to offer as a place of adventure, a place of promise, and the place for you. 

The Ohio Department of Development empowers communities to succeed by investing in Ohio’s people, places, and businesses. Learn more about our work at