In celebration of Black History Month, Harrisonburg Tourism has announced the second publication of its African American Heritage Brochure. The brochure provides sites of interest in black history, monuments, galleries, and provides a history of black education, early churches, and the people who shaped our community.
According to a Harrisonburg Tourism release, the black community has been an integral part of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County since the beginning the 1700s. Most of the early African were brought to the Shenandoah Valley destined for agricultural and domestic labor. The majority worked on small family farms, in local businesses, and in regional industries like iron foundries and canal building. In the 1800s occupations included saddlers, waiters, blacksmith, wagon makers, well diggers, cake bakers, and laborers.
Economic opportunity and education for the black community was a challenge. In 1865, the Freedmen’s Bureau in Harrisonburg opened the first school for Negros built along Black’s Run. The brochure highlights several of the educators and institutions that have contributed to the education of our black citizens. Pick up your copy at the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center located at 212 S. Main St.