Our mission here at the Trail is to preserve the history and culture of the African-American community in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire region. Our work promotes awareness and appreciation of people of color through education and public programs. The accomplishments of our volunteer organization have also served as a model across the country, demonstrating that it is possible for a small number of dedicated individuals to celebrate and preserve the little known stories of African Americans.
When the Trail was established in 1995, our mission was simply to tell the stories of Africans and their descendants who have been a part of this region’s history for over 350 years. Since then we have placed 24 distinctive bronze plaques at historic sites in the city, offered a variety of educational programs to thousands of adults and school children, engaged teachers in workshops and curriculum development, and provided lecturers to schools, colleges, historical societies and national conferences—all focused on raising public appreciation for the Black history deeply embedded in this distinguished New Hampshire community and beyond.
We currently offer four major programs per year: a series of “tea talks” from February to April related to New Hampshire’s Black history and culture; a spring symposium that focuses on current cultural issues that have roots in history; Sankofa walking tours of the PBHT; and, the Black New England Conference that focus on African-American history and culture regionally.
Black culture informed and transformed American popular culture. The black presence made other Americans describe themselves as white. The black Civil Rights Movement remains a model for other marginalized Americans and an inspiration to the world. In brief, African American history is American history— even in New Hampshire.
Please enjoy our site and join us for stimulating dialogues at any of our many programs throughout the year.