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African-American history hike to celebrate National Trails Day

By Staff | Jun 1, 2012

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in partnership with the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (HFNHP), will lead an African-American history hike on June 2, from 10:30 a.m. 2 p.m. beginning at the ATC’s visitor center, to celebrate National Trails Day. The event will showcase some of the rich history that occurred along the Harpers Ferry section of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This event is free and is open to the public.

The moderate one mile guided hike will begin with a tour of the ATC’s Visitor Center and end by following the Appalachian Trail downhill past numerous scenic spots and historic structures. At each historic site, a Harpers Ferry Park ranger will give an interpretive presentation about its significance.

Participants will learn about Storer College, one of the nation’s first institutions of higher learning open to African Americans. They will be given the rare opportunity to view the inside the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church and the Lockwood House, where the college’s first classes took place. Attendees will also learn about the Niagara Movement, considered to be the cornerstone of the modern civil rights era, and John Brown’s Raid, which focused the nation’s attention on the moral issue of slavery and headed the country toward civil war.

Kweli Kitwana, A.T. Ambassador to Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, will lead the hike, along with longtime Harpers Ferry Park rangers and historians David Fox and Guinevere Roper.

“I am so excited to take people out on the Appalachian Trail to celebrate National Trails Day, as well as to share with them the historical significance of landmarks along this section of the A.T. that played a pivotal role in our nation’s history,” said Kitwana.

This hike is not recommended for children under eight years old. Parental supervision required. RSVP encouraged to chobbs@appalachiantrail.org by June 1. For more information, contact Laurie Potteiger at 304-535-2200 ext. 128 or lpotteiger@appalachiantrail.org.