Keeper Richard Etheridge was born into slavery, fought for the Union during the Civil War and became the first African American to serve as an officer in charge of a U.S. Lifesaving Station. You can the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum in Manteo to discover more along with dozens of other Black culture and heritage sites in the six county region of Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Pasquotank and Perquimans on the new African American Experience of Northeast North Carolina.

The African American Experience of Northeast North Carolina (AAENENC) will officially launch this Juneteenth (Saturday, June 19, 2021) encouraging a deeper understanding and recognition for the contributions of the Black community in one of America’s most history-rich corridors. The new self-guided discovery starts online here and connects dozens of visitable points of interest and African American influence across a six-county region that includes the islands of The Outer Banks, legendary Dismal Swamp, and some of the state’s earliest riverfront communities of Elizabeth City, Hertford, and Edenton. This is a great way to further educate yourself on the important historical moments that shaped our world today.

To help bring this project to life, the six-county partnership sought the assistance of North Carolina-based BRANDilly Creative Group, a Black-owned business with a portfolio of startups and grassroots branding clients. President and CEO Kemah E. P. Washington, Ed.D., and his team transformed all the histories and themes of the different time periods into a user-friendly planning tool to help travelers experience the trail both virtually and in person.

“Working with the NC Black Heritage Tour has been an absolute pleasure. It’s been a best of both worlds scenario for us. Not only did we have a chance to flex our creative muscles, but as a Black-owned agency, we were a part of an initiative centered on telling our story. Innovation. Determination. Perseverance. The resiliency of our ancestors — as featured in the project — continues to play out in the lives of African-Americans in our state and beyond.”

Juneteenth celebrations at some of the African American Experience of Northeast North Carolina tour sites include an 11 a.m. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Camden County Heritage Museum and Historic Jail; a 12 p.m. special vocal performance program at the Historic Jarvisburg Colored School in Currituck County by Dr. Walter Swan, Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Elizabeth City State University; and a 5 p.m. Sounds of Freedom performance with Tshombe Selby at the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum in Manteo.

SOURCE African American Experience of Northeast North Carolina

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige