Celebrate Black History Month with Hampton’s 400 Years Forward Driving Tour

Celebrate Black History Month by taking a driving tour that highlights Hampton, Virginia’s more than 400 years of rich African American history. The 400 Years Forward Driving Tour explores heritage sites including Fort Monroe National Monument, Emancipation Oak, Aberdeen Gardens, Little England Chapel, Tucker Family Cemetery, and the Hampton History Museum. Begin your driving tour by calling ahead to reserve a visit at Hampton History Museum. Learn about Hampton history and contributions of African Americans in Hampton. After taking a trip through 400 years of history, travel to Fort Monroe, the largest stone fort in the United States. At Fort Monroe begin your tour at the First Africans in Virginia Historical Marker. It was at this spot in 1619 that the first Africans in English North America landed at Old Point Comfort. Next on your driving tour is the Emancipation Oak at Hampton University. A living symbol of freedom for African Americans, the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation was under this Oak in 1863. Designated as one of the “10 Great Trees of the World” by the National Geographic Society, this oak is 98 feet in diameter, and continues to be a source of inspiration and freedom for all. After taking in the beauty and significance of Emancipation Oak drive to Little England Chapel. Built in 1879, this is Virginia’s only known African American missionary chapel. Your next stop will take you to the Tucker Family Cemetery. One of the oldest black cemeteries in Hampton, it is the resting place for generations of the William Tucker Family. William Tucker, the first recorded baby of African descent born to be baptized in English North America. Finally, conclude your driving tour with a visit to Aberdeen Gardens. This historic neighborhood was built for “Blacks by Blacks” in 1935 as part of the New Deal Settlement. Out of the 55 New Deal communities proposed and constructed at the time, Aberdeen Gardens was the only Resettlement Administration community for Blacks in Virginia. Listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register, this iconic neighborhood is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is currently closed for renovations, however, there are historical markers in the backyard to learn more about the neighborhood’s heritage and original residents. Hampton is the site of America’s first continuous English-speaking settlement, the site of the first arrival of Africans in English North America, and is home to such visitor attractions as the Virginia Air & Space Center, Fort Monroe National Monument, Hampton History Museum, harbor tours and cruises, Hampton University Museum, The American Theatre, among others.

NEW JERSEY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SITES, EXHIBITS, ART AND MORE

Milestone Anniversaries of 15th and 19th Amendments Make 2020 a Special Year. With numerous, easily accessible historical sites and special exhibits found at cultural institutions throughout the state during Black History Month this February and beyond, New Jersey invites visitors and residents to learn more about the achievements of African Americans and the impact they had in shaping the Garden State’s history. This year’s theme, “African Americans and The Vote,” offers an opportunity to reflect on two key anniversaries and their impact on the lives of black men and women: the 150th anniversary of the 15thAmendment (1870), giving black men the right to vote, and the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920), granting women’s suffrage. Special events and exhibits throughout the state will examine this aspect of American history. “More than a million African Americans call New Jersey home, so Black History is our history,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This February, join me in exploring the rich and meaningful contributions African Americans have made to our state and our nation. Beyond this Black History Month, I look forward to recognizing these stories throughout the year, and I am particularly excited to welcome Cape May’s new Harriet Tubman Museum in June.” Honoring a key figure in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, the Harriet Tubman Museum will display artifacts related to the pioneering freedom fighter along with African American art. The museum’s opening coincides with Juneteenth, which celebrates the 1865 executive decree that freed more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. More information about the museum can be found here. Visitors and residents don’t have to wait until June to learn more about African American culture in New Jersey, however. The state will celebrate Black History Month though performances, events and cultural happenings, which can be found here. In addition, visitors are encouraged to explore New Jersey’s many notable African American landmarks and important sites, including: Afro-American Historical Society Museum and Shady Rest Country Club, America’s first black-owned and operated country club, opened in 1921 and featured a nine-hole course, tennis, croquet and horseback riding. Prominent figures in the African American community, such as Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Althea Gibson, often frequented the club. Follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube for more events and news throughout the state.

DISCOVERING NEW YORK STATE’S “PATH THROUGH HISTORY” PROGRAM DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

New York State offers visitors and locals alike the opportunity to experience the “Path Through History” program offering a glimpse into the historic sites and museums that highlight African American history and American culture along with the major events that helped shape today’s society. From the Adirondacks to Long Island, New York State offers a window into African American history and American culture as it was a center for 19th century anti-slavery organizations, and home to Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and many other abolitionist and Underground Railroad leaders. Today, thought-provoking historic sites, museums and events throughout New York State help visitors understand the roles and lives of enslaved Africans, the struggle for freedom and equality, and the many contributions of African Americans. There are more than 24 Underground Railroad sites throughout the state and former slaves’ quarters can be viewed at many well-preserved 17th and 18th century homes and estates. The “Path Through History” program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, makes it even easier to explore Black heritage sites. Civil Rights, a key aspect of African American culture, are one of 13 themes used to organize 500-plus heritage sites across the state. The program includes identifying markers on major state highways as well as additional local signage with a distinctive Path Through History logo to help point the way. For more information visit http://paththroughhistory.ny.gov/.