African American Heritage Trail markers to be unveiled Wednesday night

Posted on 16 October 2019 at 4:53am

COLUMBIA - New trail markers identifying places of interest in the African American community are coming to the downtown Columbia area.

The African American Heritage Trail will have new markers unveiled this afternoon at the J.W. Blind Boone Home. The event, which will unveil about half of the markers,  begins at 4 p.m.

Barbra Horrell is the vice chair of the Sharp End Heritage Committee, which strives to maintain the history of the historically black business district.

She said that these markers serve as a reminder of the history of past community members.

"Each of these markers are indicators of places in Columbia that were here amongst the black community as outstanding places, outstanding people, people we wanted to make certain that others remember and know," Horrell said.

She said that these new markers are outside of places that were historically black areas in the community.

"We're identifying churches, people, businesses, just everybody that we can remember in Columbia," Horrell said. "Our dentists, our doctors, famous places that were familiar to us as kids."

There are already trail markers along the route that runs throughout downtown Columbia. Some of these can be found at historic sites, such as outside of the J.W. Blind Boone home, or outside of 500 E. Walnut St., the site of the historic Sharp End district.

Jim Whitt, the chair of the Sharp End Heritage Committee, said that while this may be African American History, it's all part of Columbia's history.

"We want to make sure that when that history is told, that the black community is included in the overall history of Columbia, and because it's who we are as a community," said Whitt. "Everybody makes up the community, and we want to make sure everyone's history is told."

While these markers do help to remember the past, Horrell said that not all of this has to be serious.

"It's just fun that we are able to, for me it's fun to go back and remember," she said. "I'm not as old as some that have been a part of this committee, but we are remembering what our parents taught us, or who our parents taught us about."