BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Office of Tourism is seeking input from the community to shape a rebranded African American Heritage Trail for the state.
The trail was originally launched in 2008 and revolved around Black history as early as 1719 showcasing eras in history such as the Civil Rights period, slavery, exploring themes of music, literature, commerce and more.
The moderator of the city meetings for the African American Heritage Trail Norman Robinson emphasizes that it’s time for a relaunch.
“We’re updating the trail that the original trail was erected or established in 2008. A lot has changed since 2008, technologically, digitally,” said Robinson. “We’re using the information that we gather on these fact-finding expeditions as a means of modernizing the African American Heritage Trail.”
Robinson said with the state meetings, the mission is to seek nominations of stories that site visitors can experience in hopes they learn about the contribution that African Americans have made.
“They will learn about the wholesome contribution of African Americans, what African-Americans have brought to the table in terms of improving the quality of life, not only for the African-American community but for the whole of society, for the community at large, for everyone,” said Robinson.
Reverend Alexis Anderson attended the meeting and hopes the trail reflects unknown history.
“I hope that the trail fills in the blanks in Louisiana and the United States history,” said Anderson. “I hope that people all over the country will learn to recognize that you have to stop excluding stories and you have to be about including because these stories are not just African American stories. They’re not even just Louisiana stories, they are American stories.”
Anderson believes it’s important for the community to be part of this and hopes people participate.
“Don’t let other people tell your story,” she said. “We have wonderful stories and we have wonderful histories. They are in our cemeteries, they are in our churches, they are in our HBCUs. They are in our families. Those legacies will go undiscovered unless we all sit down and do it.”
For those interested in sending a site nomination, the Office of Tourism is taking nominations until January 31, 2024. The next meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17 at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans.
Click here to send site nominations.