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2nd annual Trails Day celebration

By Staff | May 17, 2013

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in partnership with the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, will host the second annual African American History Hike in celebration of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The one mile guided hike takes participants back in time as they learn about the rich African American history in Harpers Ferry along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This event is free and open to the public.

The guided hike will begin at 10 a.m. in the ATC’s Visitor Center at 799 Washington St. and will be led by National Park Service rangers and historians. Participants will learn about Storer College, one of the nation’s first institutions of higher learning open to African Americans. They will also learn about the Niagara Movement, considered to be the cornerstone of the modern civil rights era, and John Brown’s Raid, an attempt by abolitionist John Brown to start an armed revolt with the intention of ending slavery. Attendees 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.

From the Lockwood House, the hike will follow the A.T. past Jefferson Rock and down into Lower Town. Once in Lower Town, participants will have the opportunity to hear a presentation by former National Park Service superintendent and ATC life member, Clark A. Dixon.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is 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 Appalachian Trail that played a pivotal role in our nation’s history,” said Javier Folgar, Director of Marketing and Communications for the ATC.

Lunch will be provided at the end of the hike and there will also be a special craft session for children in the ATC Visitor Center courtyard by Kweli Kitwana, owner of the craft store, Art Shack Baby, in Harpers Ferry’s Lower Town.

Space is limited for this event and pre-registration is required; e-mail Claire Hobbs at chobbs@appalachiantrail.org by May 30.