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Tour Black History

Virtual story-telling adds to our sense of place

          Maps don’t tell us everything there is to know about a place. Most don’t show what used to be in a location or how it was significant to people. A new online tour bridges that gap for some 200 sites in the Four Rivers Heritage Area of Anne Arundel County.

            African American Voices, Memories and Places tours historic sites, places and buildings through videos, images and maps to tell about the lives of African Americans in the ­county. Some of the spots are standing; others are now gone.

            “We explore and reveal sites not previously thought of as historic,” said C. Jane Cox, Chief of the Historic Preservation for Anne Arundel County, which collaborated with the Lost Towns Project on the tour. “Many have heard of Carr’s Beach, or the Old Fourth Ward, but who recalls the Upshop juke joint in Lothian and Lady Ellen’s Beauty Corner in Galesville?’”

            Sites recall sometimes challenging histories, including slavery, voting rights, desegregation and the Civil Rights movement, while helping to acknowledge and celebrate contributions by African Americans over the county’s 370-year history. Local and professional historians, genealogists and citizens contributed to creating the Heritage Tour.

            It’s purpose, Cox added, is “instilling citizens with an enhanced sense of place and a deeper connection to their communities and to our shared past.”

            The Four Rivers Heritage Area is one of Maryland's 13 Heritage Areas. Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

            “I am very excited to be a part of this important project that shares brand-new discoveries as well as well-documented achievements, makes them readily accessible to anyone with a computer, and encourages additional input from the community," said Carol Benson Four Rivers’ executive ­director.

            Take the tour: