NC African American Heritage Commission and Conservation Trust for North Carolina: A partnership built on cultural preservation and land conservation
North Carolina’s Black history and culture is rich and diverse; broad and deep. We have a responsibility to know, celebrate, and protect sites of cultural significance — and the stories and memories that they carry — to gain a greater understanding of the realities of the African American Experience in North Carolina.
North Carolina African American Heritage Commission has partnered with Conservation Trust for North Carolina to celebrate our state’s rich history by educating North Carolinians and conservation advocates of the significant places and spaces across our state. Explore this digital map to learn more about the diversity of the African American Experience in North Carolina.
The African American Heritage & Culture of North Carolina Digital Asset Map identifies locations of significant natural and cultural value to Black and African American people across North Carolina’s history.
By better understanding their mutual interests, cultural preservation and land conservation organizations can work more diligently to build relationships and collaboration efforts that meet shared goals, and benefit diverse communities across the state. North Carolina lands hold a deeply-rooted history of African American and Black experiences dating back centuries. Throughout our 100 counties, our land holds the stories of significant African American heritage sites along the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement, once-segregated parks and beaches, Rosenwald School sites, and much more.
Our history is directly tied to land and people’s relationship to land.
A partnership between Conservation Trust and the African American Heritage Commission (AAHC) is a natural evolution of our organization’s commitment to equity and inclusion throughout the conservation sector.
CTNC and AAHC have collaborated on projects for several years to educate advocates and supporters to the importance of our shared goals for land preservation and conservation. In order to effectively conserve land for community benefits, we must understand how people’s relationship with these places have been formed over time.
This map can be used as a tool for people across the state to elevate our awareness of rich African American heritage and culture. The map will also serve to help cultural preservation and land conservation organizations better visualize the connections between African American cultural assets and natural resource values of land.
An Iterative and Collaborative Process
Through this map, we hope North Carolinians can explore their own understanding of land and culture and learn about new experiences they never knew.
We also acknowledge that this map is not complete. If you know of a significant African American cultural site that should be included, please contact us. We empower our network to help make this tool a robust resource to all North Carolinians so we can expand our collective knowledge of our past. By learning about the connection between people, place, and cultural histories, we can all do our part to make land conservation more equitable and inclusive in an effort to achieve a more resilient North Carolina.