Take a dance lesson with James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.

Sample soul food that will have your tastebuds testifying.

See and hear stories of the African-American legends, leaders and influences that help define the spirit of Augusta, Georgia’s second-largest, second-oldest city. Music-shaker Brown, opera superstar Jessye Norman and educational pioneer Lucy Craft Laney all called this east Georgia city home at one time or another.

Should you find yourself down Augusta way in February, during National Black History Month, or any time of the year, you’ll find a bit of the classic South hugging the mighty Savannah River — antebellum mansions, hallowed historic sites and quiet, shady avenues ideal for walking. Here are a few of the spots that can enlighten and entertain you:

James Brown statue on Broad Street and Augusta Museum of History. Brown first began sharing his talents while shining shoes on city streets. The museum celebrates him and others who influenced the shaping of the Garden City.

Jessye Norman Amphitheatre. Named for the celebrated soprano who grew up listening to Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera while doing her household chores.

Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. This, the only museum honoring African-Americans in the area, pays tribute to the educator who opened the first private boarding school in Augusta and the first nurses’ training class for black students.

Cedar Grove Cemetery. Originally a burial ground for slaves. Each February students from Paine College do living history re-enactments and guided tours.

Paine College. The only U.S. college jointly founded by the United Methodist Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The historically black college dates to 1882 and has a 52-acre campus in the city center.

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s editor, is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project.

View all posts by Kathy Janich