Parks and Public Lands

Historic Places - Parks and Public Lands

Buildings and Structures Cities Parks and Public Lands Theaters

   

Highland Beach
Highland Beach, Maryland

 
Incorporated in 1922 as the first African American town in Maryland, Highland Beach began as a summer resort. In 1893 after being refused service at a nearby Bay Ridge Resort restaurant, Charles Douglass and his wife Laura purchased 40 acres of land adjacent to Chesapeake Bay including a 500-foot stretch of beachfront.

Highland Beach, enjoyed by friends and family of the Douglass', soon became a summer resort and home for several distinguished African Americans; including Paul Robeson, Robert Terrell and his wife Mary Church Terrell, Booker T. Washington, Robert Weaver, Alex Haley, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar and
Frederick Douglass.

Many of the more than sixty homes are still occupied and owned by descendants of the first African American residents. TheGrio.com rated Highland Beach #1 in its ranking of “The best historically black beaches in America.”
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PICTURES:

First, Second L and M:
Highland Beach. 
Second R: Highland Beach Plaque.  

Pictures taken December 4, 2011.

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SOURCES:

Internet
"Slideshow: The best historically black beaches in America." thegrio.com/2010/06/08/legacy-beaches-for-African
-americans/#historic_beachesjpg,
Web. 26 Nov. 2011.

"Town of Highland Beach Maryland." HighlandBeachMD.org, Web. 26 Nov. 2011.

Site Visit
Highland Beach. Highland Beach, MD. 4 Dec. 2011.
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SUBMITTED: July 1,  2012.
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Kelly Ingram Park
Birmingham, Alabama

       
Led by reverends Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, boycotts and protests of 1963 in Birmingham were centered in Kelly Ingram Park. During the first week of May 1963, Birmingham police and firemen attacked civil rights demonstrators, many of whom were children, in the streets bordering the park. It was here that Birmingham police and firemen, under orders from Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Conner, confronted demonstrators, first with mass arrests and then with police dogs and fire hoses. Images from the confrontations were broadcast nationwide and began a public outcry that focused the nation's attention on the struggle for freedom and racial equality. The demonstrations in Birmingham forced city leaders to agree to end public segregation. In addition, they helped ensure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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PICTURES:

First L:
Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. M/L: Base of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue. M/R: Statue of dog attacking child. R: Base of statue of dog attacking child.
                       
Second L: Statue of children in jail. M/L: Statues representing children in jail. M/R: Monument to children hosed by fireman. R: Reverse side of monument to children hosed by fireman.

Pictures taken December 29, 2006.

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SOURCES:

Internet
"West Park." nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/al10.htm, Web. 3 Dec. 2006.

Site Visit
Kelly Ingram Park. Birmingham, AL. 29 Dec. 2009.
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SUBMITTED: September 13, 2008.
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Lake Drummond and The Great Dismal Swamp
3100 Desert Road
Suffolk, VA  23434
            
      
From the 1600’s through the end of the Civil War, the Great Dismal Swamp and canal was a refuge to thousands of escaped slaves seeking freedom. Many of the slaves were lead to freedom by Harriet Tubman and assisted by the many people involved in the network known as the Underground Railroad.
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PICTURES:

First: Views of Lake Drummond.
                       
Second L: A small section of the swamp. M/L: Road to Lake Drummond. Part of the swamp can be seen on either side of the road. M/R: Part of the four mile long gravel road leading to Lake Drummond. R: Sign posted at the Lake.  

Pictures taken December 3, 2010.

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SOURCES:

Internet
Bartel, Bill. "Escaped Slaves May Have Lived in Great Dismal Swamp." hamptonroads.com/2012/01/escaped-slaves-may-have-lived-great-dismal-swamp, Web. 29 Jan. 2012.

"Dismal Swamp Canal." dismalswampwelcomecenter.com/History.php, Web. 15 Oct. 2010.

Site Visit
Dismal Swamp. Suffolk, VA. 3 Dec. 2010.
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SUBMITTED: December 12, 2010. Updated January 30, 2012.
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Freedmen's Colony - Roanoke Island
Roanoke, NC
            
  
   
Inscribed on the History Marker are the words:

The First Light of Freedom
The Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island
1862-1867

If you can cross the creek to Roanoke Island, you will find safe haven” was a phrase often shared by freed and runaway slaves during the Civil War.  In February 1862, Union General Ambrose Burnside defeated a Confederate force on the island and gained control of northeastern North Carolina’s strategically valuable waterways. Hundreds of slaves from the interior of the state then began to make the journey towards the island and their first light of freedom.

The first able-bodies men to arrive were offered rations o food and employment building a new Union fort.  As word spread, more freedmen arrived seeking food, work and shelter, as well as safety provided by the Union forces.  By May 1863, the situation was so acute that the Federal government seized unoccupied land and established a formal colony on Roanoke Island.

The Reverend Horace James as “Superintendent of Blacks in North Carolina” was directed to “settle the colored people on the unoccupied lands and give them agricultural implements and mechanical tools… and to train and educate them for a free and independent community.”  As the colony was being organized and laid out, the Union military began enlisting the able-bodies men to form the first North Carolina regiment of freedmen.

The colony continued to grow as more freedmen sought “safe haven”.  By 1864, a census reported 2,212 black residents on Roanoke Island.  A church and a symbol with seven teachers were established and a sawmill operation supported the Union Army quartermaster.  In 1865, the Superintendent reported 561 houses had been built and the population had grown to 3,901.

After the war ended, the Union government returned the seized land to its original owners.  Rather than homesteaders, the freedmen were viewed as squatters on someone else’s land and the colony was disbanded.  While most of the freedmen returned to the mainland, many descendants still live, work, and raise their families on Roanoke Island today.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
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PICTURES:

First L/M: Freedmen's Colony Monument.
 
Second: History Marker and History Marker pictures.

Pictures taken December 31, 2012.

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SOURCES:

Internet
"Ft. Raleigh." nps.gov/fora/historyculture/freedmenscolony.htm, Web. 29 Jan. 2013.

"The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony." roanokefreedmenscolony.com/, Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
                      

Site Visit
Ft. Raleigh National Park - Roanoke Island. Roanoke, NC. 31 Dec. 2012
.
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SUBMITTED: February 6, 2013. 
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Walterboro Army Airfield Memorial Park
Walterboro, SC

           
Tuskegee Airmen trained at Moton Airfield in Tuskegee Alabama. They also trained at Walterboro Army Airfield in Walterboro, SC. Black officers stationed there were treated as second class citizens and prohibited from using the all-white Officer’s Club. They reported being treated with less respect and dignity than the German P.O.W.’s housed on the base. When a national order restricted segregation on bases, white officers moved the Officer’s Club to an all-white country club in the city. Also, see Tuskegee Airmen.
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PICTURES:

First L, M/L:
History Markers. M/R, R: Tuskegee Airmen Memorial. 
                       
Second L:
Walkway, historical signs and search light. M/L: Search light. M/R, R.                         

Third L:
History Signs. M/L: Airfield. R: Entrance sign. 

Pictures taken December 23, 2010.

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SOURCES:

Internet
"Tuskegee Airmen." airforce.com/games-and-extras/tuskegee-airmen/, Web. 8 Nov. 2009.

Lecture
Jefferson, Alexander. The Tuskegee Airmen. Charles Houston Recreation Center, Alexandria, Virginia. 8 Nov. 2009. Lecture.

Site Visit
Walterboro Army Air Field. Walterboro, SC. 23 Dec. 2010.
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SUBMITTED: December 31, 2010.
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All pictures taken by Percy White and are the property of FindFamilyRoots.com unless otherwise indicated.

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