Natchez Trace Parkway celebrates Black History Month with the release of the travel bug: Natchez Trace Parkway 2: Over the Bridge
This travel bug’s first goal is to stop near the town of Natchez and then bridge into more modern history by visiting places where famous 20th and 21st Century African Americans, were born.
In the early 1800’s there was a tremendous growth in the population in Mississippi. The old Natchez Trace was still in heavy use by travelers. Those travelers would have included indigenous American Indians, mostly Choctaw and Chickasaw; descendants of early settlers; European immigrants and migrants from the east. Also on this road were enslaved people, who most frequently were heading for “The Forks of the Road”, the second largest slave market in the south. The market became established when slave selling was banned from the streets of Natchez, and moved to the area of a “Y” in the following roads: Washington Road/Natchez Trace, Old Courthouse Road, and St. Catherine. These
streets are now D’Evereaux Drive, Liberty Road and St. Catherine Street. (The old Natchez Trace was a network of trails and roads.)
Listed below are some examples of influential African-Americans and their birth places. These towns would be appropriate destinations for the travel bug, Natchez Trace Parkway 2: Over the Bridge. However, there are thousands of other appropriate stops, all over the world. Please note, that some of the most famous 20th and 21st century African-Americans are not listed below.
When the travel bug is dropped in a cache beyond “The Forks of the Road”, please log the name of the person who was born in that town and a few sentences about their contribution to society.
About This Item:
The bridge medal commemorates 2013 as the 75th anniversary year of the Natchez Trace Parkway, as a National Park unit. Bridges are symbolic of passing from one place to another. This symbol is appropriate for Black History Month, as part of the old Natchez Trace was once a travel corridor of enslaved people. Significantly, in 2005, the Natchez Trace Parkway Superintendent who presided over the completion of the Parkway was Wendell Simpson, an African-American.
Tagging along on Natchez Trace Parkway 2: Over the Bridge, is a pin of York. York was a slave to William Clark and traveled with Lewis and Clark on the Corps of Discovery Expedition. York was mentioned several times in the journals kept by Lewis and Clark. Meriwether Lewis died and was buried on the Old Natchez Trace, now part of the Natchez Trace Parkway.