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First Sites Selected for the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail

The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) has selected 32 sites to receive markers for the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail. This first round of selected sites includes “Bivalve, Shellpile & Maurice River” in Cumberland County.

Signed into law by Gov. Murphy on September 7, 2022, the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail legislation calls for the NJHC to establish a Black Heritage Trail that will “highlight Black heritage sites through historical markers and a trail-like path that connects the stories of Black life and resiliency.”

“The Black Heritage Trail will serve an important role in connecting our state’s residents and visitors with the complex histories of African Americans in New Jersey,” commented Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way. “We have a responsibility to make all of our histories visible, and I am proud to oversee the New Jersey Historical Commission and its work uplifting these aspects of the American story.”

In March, the NJHC Black Heritage Trail team received over 60 responses to their first call for nominations. After passing eligibility and historical accuracy reviews, 32 sites were brought before the New Jersey Historical Commission at its public meeting on April 19th. All of the recommended sites were approved in a unanimous decision.

“Our goal is to showcase the many contributions of Black Americans to more than 300 years of New Jersey history,” explained Sara Cureton, executive director of the NJHC. “The creation and maintenance of this trail will be an ongoing process, but I am thrilled to have the first sites selected and proud of the work of the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail team.”

Markers will be placed at sites across New Jersey with 15 counties receiving at least one marker during this initial round. The markers will not only be geographically, but also thematically and temporally, diverse.

To help visitors navigate the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail, the NJHC will work closely with the Division of Travel and Tourism, New Jersey’s leading voice for promoting the importance of tourism as essential to the state’s economy, image, and overall quality of life.

“This is the just the beginning for the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail,” said Director of the NJHC African American History Program Noelle Lorraine Williams. “We plan to hold nomination rounds on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. Sites that were not selected in this round will have the opportunity to work with us to strengthen their nominations and resubmit. Additionally, there will be opportunities for organizations and individuals to nominate new sites in future rounds.”

Continuing the work of the NJHC African American History Program, the markers will feature QR codes that will lead visitors to more information about the site, offerings from the NJHC, such as special events and augmented reality, and programming from the sites themselves.

For the full list of selected sites, visit

The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) is a state agency dedicated to the advancement of public knowledge and preservation of New Jersey history.

For more information about the NJHC, visit