Page students learn about local African American history

Kim Robins - Posted on Mar 13, 2019 - 01:52 PM

Photo: Sixth graders from Page Middle School went on an African American Heritage Tour through Gloucester last month. Above, students Summer Slater and Douglas Aune stopped to read a historical plaque at Zion Poplars Baptist Church. Photo by Kim Robins

Sixth graders from Page Middle School went on an African American Heritage Tour through Gloucester last month. Above, students Summer Slater and Douglas Aune stopped to read a historical plaque at Zion Poplars Baptist Church. Photo by Kim Robins

Page Middle School sixth graders went on an African American Heritage Tour on Feb. 28, boarding school buses for a day-long trip through Gloucester County.

The sixth grade teachers worked out the tour using resources provided by the Fairfield Foundation and Dr. Dorothy Cooke, which included information for each location along with historical and recent photographs of the sites. 

With the trip, students were able to take a step back in time and learn more about local influential figures and their stories. Each location offered a unique piece of history that is often overlooked by residents who live among the legendary sites.

The tour began at 8 a.m. and took students to Main Street where they drove by Thomas Calhoun Walker’s home, Watkins Florist and Motel, and the Gloucester Museum of History, where an exhibit for Black History Month honoring the late Eldridge N. Cook of Gloucester was on display.

From there they visited the Servants Plot, where white indentured servants and African slaves combined forces for a proposed rebellion. They next visited the site of the Gloucester Agricultural and Industrial School, the first black secondary school in the county that opened in the late 1800s.

The students then passed by Bethel Baptist Church on their way to the Moton Conference Center and Holly Knoll, where they were able to take a tour. They then boarded the buses for a drive by the Woodville School on Route 17 and a stop at First Morning Star Church on Guinea Road.

At First Morning Star, the children were welcomed by Deacon Levi Foster and the Rev. Ward Warren Jr., who is married to Irene Morgan’s niece. Ward told the visitors about Morgan and her influential courage on a Greyhound bus in 1944.