It’s Black History Month and if you’re looking for a way to learn about and celebrate the achievements of African Americans right here in Chesapeake, the African American Heritage Trail is a fantastic, and COVID-safe, option. This self-guided driving tour consists of six stops, mostly throughout southern Chesapeake. Each stop has an accompanying podcast which tells the stories, straight from local experts, of the historical significance of each area. Here are a few highlights of what you’ll learn about.
You’ll start your tour at the site of the Battle of Great Bridge. It was here where Billy Flora fought alongside the patriots in 1775. He was the last to retreat across the bridge under heavy gunfire, pulling up bridge planks to stop the British advance.
Another stop will bring you to the Great Dismal Swamp, which was part of the Underground Railroad. Maroon communities, made up of those escaping slavery, lived deep within the swamp, an existence that, while free, was anything but easy.
The tour will also take you by the Cornland School, one of the earliest efforts in Virginia to formally educate African American children after the Civil War. The one room school house was in operation into the 1950s.
These are just a few examples of what you’ll find on this tour. It’s a walk in the footsteps of freedom seekers, pioneers, and heroes. And it’s the perfect way to spend a chilly afternoon during Black History Month. Find the path, the stops, and the associated podcasts at VisitChesapeake.com.