Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail

Thursday Feb 21, 2013

When it comes to our nation's diversity, Vermont has a strong history of firsts: the state was the first to abolish slavery in its constitution as well as the first state to enroll and graduate a black student who went on to serve in state legislature.

Vermont's new African American Heritage Trail offers visitors 10 destinations that illuminate the lives of African Americans for whom the Green Mountain State played an integral part of their lives.

Visitors can interact with teachers, storytellers, activists, ministers and legislators, people unique in history for being the first to attain positions formerly held only by an elite few.

"Vermont is defined not only by the varied people who made our history, but also by our distinct geography," said Elise Guyette, author of "Discovering Black Vermont: African American Farmers in Hinesburgh, 1790-1890." "This trail anchors the stories of African descended Vermonters to our landscape and, as such, does a great service in helping to change the history of our state from a predominately white story to what it has always been from the beginning, a multicultural endeavor."

??The trail includes one of New England’s best documented underground railroad sites, Rokeby Museum, the Old Stone House Museum, which includes the school built by African American Alexander Twilight, Hildene, the Lincoln family home, and exhibits about raconteur Daisy Turner.

"Vermont’s cultural organizations and historians have been eager participants in the development of the Vermont African American Heritage Trail," Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith said. "This speaks to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s intent to showcase our state’s cultural heritage and diversity to residents and travelers alike."


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