In 1955, during the decade known as “the golden age of travel,” Freddye Henderson and her husband, Jacob, opened Henderson Travel Service in Atlanta to assist African-Americans who wanted to travel internationally. The agency planned and booked thousands of trips for black travelers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1964 visit to Oslo, Norway, where he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement.
During the agency’s early years, the Hendersons saw the potential of specializing in travel to Africa (then known as the “Dark Continent”), planning trips to encourage travelers to explore the continent’s diverse, rich cultures. This travel agency provided services, including chartering planes to West Africa, where there were no commercial flights.
The focus on trip planning and tours to Africa would become a revenue generator and serve an underserved travel market and forge valuable connections in the black community. The agency specialized in African tours and gained a well-known reputation for working closely with almost all the major African-American professional associations, Those social and professional organizations, including the National Bar Association, National Medical Association, historically black colleges and universities, as well as black fraternities, sororities, and churches, during those early years.
Henderson Travel Service has survived the increase of travel apps and online travel aggregators by banking on its well-renowned reputation and expanding its tours to group-requested destinations such as India, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia, while still managing a few Africa tours per year.
Henderson Travel Service continues to bolster its reputation for specializing in tours in Africa, including their most popular tourist destinations of Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa. It also focuses on federal government contracts and assisting other countries in building their market shares.
- Henderson Travel Service.
- Mosby, Kwin. February 12, 2020. “After 65 Years, the First African-American-owned Travel Agency Continues to Provide Travelers With Unique Experiences.” Travel + Leisure.
- Henderson Travel Service logo. Henderson Travel Service.