New African American heritage brochure now available

Tue, 11/01/2022 - 09:15

A revised version of Winchester’s African American Heritage Self-Guided Driving Tour is now available at the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center.

“For too long, African American stories from the people of Winchester have not been told,” said Local Black History Task Force member Judy Humbert. “The places mentioned in the brochure are ones that we ride by all the time, and we don’t have any idea of the story behind these places. Once the stories in the brochure become public knowledge, they can be preserved for generations to come.”

Research for the first brochure, published in 2000, began in the 1980s, with growing interest in Black history programs planned by the Friends of the Handley Library and assisted by Ellsworth Turner’s donation of a lifetime collection of materials relating to African Americans in Winchester. Information in the brochure was researched over many years by Local Black History Task Force members Judy Humbert, Sharon Harris, and Betty Jo Bannister at the beginning and, more recently, Sharon Dixon and Brenda Nelson, with the support of Becky Ebert at the Stewart Bell, Jr. Archives at the Handley Regional Library. The new brochure was edited by Task Force member Ann Grogg and redesigned by Renee Bayliss, Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Creative Design and Visitor Services Manager.

The revised brochure has expanded information about several sites, such as Robert Orrick’s Home, Orrick Cemetery, and Douglas School, and several new sites, such as the Freedmen’s Bureau School and offices on Cork Street, Madison Briscoe’s Childhood Home, the King Hiram Masonic Lodge, and the Brown Family Home. For this edition of the brochure, the map and tour route were reorganized to accommodate new traffic patterns since the last update.

“We have seen interest in African American history increase significantly in Winchester and Frederick County, and we hope this self-guided tour brochure helps make these stories more visible and accessible,” stated Bayliss.

About the Task Force

The Local Black History Task Force promotes learning about and preserving Winchester’s African American history through public lectures and presentations, plays, and the installation of historic highway markers.