Over the years, much of Jefferson County’s Black history has been lost, suppressed and ignored. Nevertheless, this tour is intended to uncover and recover Black history and to provide the visitor with brief descriptions of sites which have played major roles in the African-American community. The total tour has twenty-four sites. This online tour only covers six of those sites. Come to Charles Town and visit all twenty-four in person.
While taking this tour, you will gain an appreciation and understanding of the struggles of Black citizens in the early days of the county. It will also awaken your imagination to the rare opportunities afforded Blacks, and finally you will enjoy the historic landmarks our forefathers constructed, protected and preserved for future generations.
An important landmark in Jefferson County is the campus of Storer College, now the Mather Training Center, which is part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Storer was one of the first Black institutions of higher learning in the south. It was also the location where Dr. W.E.B. Dubois convened the second meeting of the Niagara Movement.
Some other points of interest in the county include: The Murphy Farm where the Niagara Movement visited in 1906 and the Halltown Memorial Chapel which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The chapel began as a Sunday School around the 1900s which evolved into a Baptist congregation that served the Black community. John Brown’s Fort at Harpers Ferry pays homage to the courage and determination of martyr John Brown and his 21 followers at Harpers Ferry. Johnsontown, founded around 1848, was the first town in the state founded by and named for a Black family, is another interesting place to visit.