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State commission accepting applications to add more markers to NC Civil Rights Trail

Listed in "The Green Book," the Magnolia House Motel, built in 1889 as a private residence, was converted to serve as a motel for African Americans traveling in the segregated 50s and 60s in Greensboro, N.C.
Lynn Hey

The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission is working to extend the trail and more Black history stories across the state.

The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission launched the NC Civil Rights Trail in 2020, hoping to reveal some of the lesser-known civil rights stories and activities that took place in different areas in the state. The organization is now accepting applications to add more markers to the trail. The commission recently added 14 markers, on top of 11 already designated for the Civil Rights Trail.

Angela Thorpe, the commission's director, says 25 markers are still available, but there are some requirements to follow.

“We are wanting to highlight birthplaces, sites of legal action, specific sites where sort of moving or rich civil rights activities took place, highlighting places where figures visited,” she said.

One of the sites includes Greensboro’s Historic Magnolia House, a former motel that housed public figures in the Jim Crow era, like baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Another marker is in Fayetteville at the 82nd Airborne and Special Operations Museum, which has an exhibit of the first all-Black parachute infantry platoon called the “Triple Nickles.”

“We have a pretty good amount in Western North Carolina as well because this is reinforcing the notion or the reality that Black people are everywhere,” Thorpe said.

The commission aims to complete the trail by the end of 2023. Community groups, individuals and institutions have until March 31 to apply.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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