Bravery, innovation and perseverance are just a few of the words that come to mind when we reflect on black history in America. The month of February gives us an opportunity to honor the rich contributions of African Americans in our nation's history, despite the weight of social injustice. America's history is forever impacted by African American activists, scientists, inventors, artists, educators and leaders. Roanoke Island's history is no different.
This month, Roanoke Island Festival Park will celebrate Black History with our weekly video series, Black History on Roanoke Island. Each week, local historians will discuss significant figures and events that happened on the Outer Banks. The series will feature key crew members at the Life-Saving Station on Pea Island, information on Freedmen's Colony, and an interview with Elizabeth II carpenter, Ricky Tillett. Follow this blog along with our Facebook page to view a new video each week throughout the month of February. You can also learn more about our series topics by visiting our Adventure Museum when the park reopens in March.
Week 1 - Lt. Herbert Collins
Coast Guard hero and member of the all-African American crew at the Pea Island Livesaving Station
Week 2 - Ricky Tillett
Boat Carpenter on the Elizabeth II
Week 3 - The Freedmen's Colony
African American slaves sought refuge on Roanoke Island during the Civil War and established a colony from 1862 - 1867.
Week 4 - Keeper Richard Etheridge
First African American keeper in the Coast Guard and heroic leader of the all-African American crew at the Pea Island Life-Saving Station.