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African American Heritage & History


African American Heritage Flyer

GreenBook‘African American Voices, Memories, and Places: A Four Rivers Heritage Tour,” helps fill in a notable gap in our County Inventory of Historic Places. An audit in 2017 found that around 7% of the County Inventory of Historic Properties—the list that helps us protect and save historic sites- were historic resources documented as having an African American component. 

This project helps ensure that our Historic Inventory is better reflective of the County’s rich and multi-cultural heritage. This online virtual trail is a way to share a broader range of historic resources that reflect African American heritage, and in identifying them, we raise awareness which will help save significant historic sites for future generations.  

The trail highlights publicly accessible historic sites that provide a tangible place to visit, explore, and contemplate important African American individuals, families, people, historic places, events, struggles, and accomplishments. It also included many privately-owned sites, and in far too many cases, sites physically lost to time. 

This virtual trail acknowledges and celebrates contributions by African-Americans over the County’s 370-year history; those who tilled the soil on farms that made Anne Arundel County prosper prior to Emancipation, those who harvested, processed and shipped the Bay’s seafood to feed an expanding Country, and those who physically built the grand colonial houses for wealthy landowners, many of whom were enslaved. We honor those families and individuals that came together in good times and bad, to start a church and a congregation, to found a school, to build a community, and to create a legacy.

Please note that many of the tour stops are privately owned and not accessible for visitation.

Thank you for respecting the privacy of these properties.

Sites open to the public are clearly marked.


Columbia Beach Sign

The team would like to thank the dozens of people who so generously shared their personal recollections, papers, photographs and history, and recognize that this tour has only scratched the surface. It has truly been a community effort. We also know there is so much more to explore, learn, document, and share.  The public is invited assist in future efforts to better document Anne Arundel County’s African American heritage and culture.

Email [email protected] if you know of sites, stories or resources that should be added in future versions of this tour, or if you have corrections to share.

Parole African American School

A Guide to African American Heritage & Culture in the Four Rivers Heritage Area  


This program has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of policies of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. Support has also been provided by Anne Arundel County, MD and its Office of Planning & Zoning.