Celebrating Black History Month

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The richness of African American culture is one to be revered. From struggle does come strength. February marks Black History Month, a tribute to African American men and women who have made significant contributions to, not only America, but the rest of the world.

Travel with us as we take you on a tour of some amazing monuments and historic sites or simply plan your own trip. Before we begin our journey, let me introduce you to Ms. Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest African American female park ranger and civil rights activist. At 100 years old, Ms. Soskin still works part-time at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in California.

Black History Month: From Struggle Comes Strength

“Paths to Freedom” takes us to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Born into slavery in 1822, and hired out at an early age, Harriet Tubman knew she was born to be free. In 1849, Tubman escaped to freedom. Throughout her journey, from 1850 – 1860, Tubman returned to Maryland 13 times to carry about 70 slaves to freedom.

Continuing the journey west along the Underground Railroad takes us to the present-day Payne’s Crossing near the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. Known historically as, “The Underground Railroad,” which consisted of an elaborate, entanglement of network “conductors” formed a secret human-to-human passage. The railroad extended into the Hoosier National Forest in nearby Indiana.

The “Freedom Trails Initiative” is currently on three national forests: the Wayne National Forest in Ohio, the Hoosier in Indiana, and the Shawnee in Illinois.

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Virginia

Nestled near the District of Columbia, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site preserves the home and legacy of Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave, abolitionist, civil rights advocate, author, and statesman. Being born into slavery, Douglass grew up to fight for the freedom of his people.

The Douglass site covers 8.5 acres known as Cedar Hill, an area that includes the main house, gardens, and an extensive collection of personal effects that helps to educate visitors about Douglass and his family.

The “Growlery” is a highlight for many visitors. The “Growlery” is one room building with a stove, bed, and desk where Douglass would retreat to work and “growl” when he was in the mood.

Another highlight is The Douglass Library Collection which includes books, monographs, pamphlets, serials, record books, photographs, and many more artifacts. Many of the volumes were signed by Douglass or includes his personal bookplate.

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