African American History Hike To Celebrate National Trails Day

Harpers Ferry, WV (May 16, 2012) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in partnership with the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (HFNHP), will lead an African-American History Hike on June 2, 2012 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. beginning at the ATC’s visitor center, to celebrate National Trails Day. The event will showcase some of the rich history that occurred along the Harpers Ferry section of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This event is free and is open to the public.

The moderate one mile guided hike will begin with a tour of the ATC’s Visitor Center and end by following the Appalachian Trail downhill past numerous scenic spots and historic structures. At each historic site, a Harpers Ferry Park ranger will give an interpretive presentation about its significance.

Participants will learn about Storer College, one of the nation’s first institutions of higher learning open to African Americans. They will be given the rare opportunity to view the inside the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church and the Lockwood House, where the college’s first classes took place. Attendees will also learn about the Niagara Movement, considered to be the cornerstone of the modern civil rights era, and John Brown’s Raid, which focused the nation’s attention on the moral issue of slavery and headed the country toward civil war.

Kweli Kitwana, A.T. Ambassador to Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, will lead the hike, along with longtime Harpers Ferry Park rangers and historians David Fox and Guinevere Roper.

“I am so excited to take people out on the Appalachian Trail to celebrate National Trails Day, as well as to share with them the historical significance of landmarks along this section of the A.T. that played a pivotal role in our nation’s history,” said Kitwana.

At the end of the hike, participants will have the opportunity to hear a presentation from Marcia Fairweather about her 15-year section-hike of the A.T. Ms. Fairweather is also a board member of the ATC.

This hike is not recommended for children under eight years old. Parental supervision required. RSVP encouraged to by June 1st. For more information, contact Laurie Potteiger at 304-535-2200 ext. 128 or

Hike Difficulty: Moderate; the hike is one mile long and short sections cover uneven terrain and rocks, as well as steep steps.

When: Saturday, June 2, 2012 – 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Appalachian Trail Conservancy
799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


10:30 a.m. – Orientation: Hike participants meet at the ATC’s Visitor Center to sign in.

11:00 a.m. – African American History Hike: The one mile guided hike will begin at the ATC’s Visitor Center and end in historic Lower Town Harpers Ferry.

1:00 p.m. – Lunch: Lunch will be provided for hike participants.

1:30 p.m. – “Marcia’s Appalachian Trail Journey”: After lunch, Marcia Fairweather, who completed a section-hike of the entire A.T. in 2008, will show a short video about her experience. Both lunch and the presentation will be held in the Allies for Freedom room on the second floor of the HFNHP’s John Brown Museum in historic Lower Town Harpers Ferry.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information please visit

Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: (304) 535-2200 ext. 117
Fax: 304.535.2667

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