Self-guided map and app unites stories of African American heroes, historic places and events
The "Road to Freedom" program, created through a partnership between the American Battlefield Trust and Civil War Trails, Inc., offers free physical and digital manifestations — a map guide available in visitor centers and distribution sites across the state and a web app with downloadable versions for Android and iOS devices.
The trail highlights 88 spots across Virginia, a key Civil War battleground state and an important passageway in the Underground Railroad. Sites stretch from Alexandria, just outside Washington, D.C., to Abingdon, near the Tennessee border, and tell stories of soldiers, slaves, educators, politicians and others, marking the places where they staged rebellions, fought for freedom, educated their children, were born and were buried.
An ongoing research partnership with the African American Heritage Preservation Foundation will result in adding further context to existing entries by allowing Black voices to delve into the artistic, architectural and cultural significance of included sites. The addition of new sites and curated "collections" will further enhance the experience.
"Since 1994, the African American Heritage Preservation Foundation has worked toward the preservation, maintenance, and awareness of endangered or little-known historical sites, especially in the mid-Atlantic," said president and founder E. Renee Ingram. "We are excited to join this dynamic project and look forward to showcasing the history and legacy of important places across Virginia."
In February 2022, the American Battlefield Trust won a Silver Award from the Anthem Awards for its work in Education, Art & Culture. 'Road to Freedom' App Telling Story of Black Virginians In Civil War Era Wins Silver In Inaugural Anthem Awards | American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org)
In 2023, the African American Heritage Preservation Foundation has extended its research partnership with the American Battlefield Trust that includes Civil War and African American Sites in North Carolina and Tennessee.
HAI extends its sincere gratitude to our two interns from Howard University, Kolbi Holston and Farrington Asberry-Lindquist, as they complete their time with us. Just graduated fifth-year architecture students, they were a wonderful addition to our team as they worked on collections to spotlight our partnership with the AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE PRESERVATION FOUNDATION INC and its President and Founder, E. Renee Ingram. We extend our thanks, as well, to Professor Edward Dunson, Jr. AIA, at Howard University for his leadership and guidance as we established this internship program. We are excited to pursue this relationship in years to come!
The African American Heritage Preservation Foundation has created a free mobile app "African American Sites," that is available through The App Store and Google Play. The African American Sites app features more than 1,900 African American Sites located throughout the United States that include Heritage Trails, Military Sites, Museums, National Historic Landmarks, Endangered Historic Places and other historic places that focus on the rich contributions of African Americans to our nation's history. We were able to cull information from various websites and search engines to consolidate these wonderful African American Historic Sites into one application. In January 20222, a new version of the app was released!
The African American Heritage Preservation Foundation worked with Virginia House Delegate C. Matt Fariss to implement the provisions of a House Bill that would recognize at least 36 historical African American graves at The Stanton Family Cemetery in Buckingham County and that The Stanton Family Cemetery be added to the list of Historical African American cemeteries cared for pursuant to § 10.1-2211.2 of the Code of Virginia. The Stanton Family Cemetery was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has developed a Virginia Historical African American Cemetery and Graves Fund Manual that is an invaluable resource that other states can replicate for its historical African American cemeteries and grave sites. Given the results of the Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) survey, the Foundation submitted an amendment to the Virginia General Assembly for the 2021 Legislative Session.