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Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society

Charles Town

It has been said that there is a depth of rich Black history in Jefferson County. However, most of that information had never been compiled or shared with anyone outside this small county located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

In 2000, after years of discussing the need to document Jefferson County’s Black history, four African American men decided to take on the challenge. James L. Taylor, Nathaniel F. Downing, Sr., George C. Rutherford and James A. Tolbert, Sr., all life-long residents of Jefferson County, agreed to combine their private collections, collect other little-known or unknown information, develop exhibits and publish their findings. They decided to name their group, the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society (JCBHPS). Because of this new sense of urgency, they decided to meet weekly and have continued that tradition since September 2000. The JCBHPS was granted 501©(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service, and was incorporated by the State of West Virginia. When visiting Jefferson County, make sure to check out the African American Heritage Trail. this tour is intended to uncover and recover Black history and to provide the visitor with brief descriptions of sites which have played major roles in the African-American community. The total tour has twenty-four sites. While taking this tour, you will gain an appreciation and understanding of the struggles of Black citizens in the early days of the county. It will also awaken your imagination to the rare opportunities afforded Blacks, and finally you will enjoy the historic landmarks our forefathers constructed, protected and preserved for future generations.

The Heritage Trail is free.

Please check the individual sites along the trail to see their opening hours.

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