(TRENTON) – Black history, heritage, and culture has had a longstanding impact on New Jersey. Assembly members Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) and Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) sponsor legislation to bring that history to light with the New Jersey Black Heritage Trail. On Monday, the measure was passed by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee.
The bill (A-4706) would direct the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State to establish a series of Black heritage sites to promote Black history, heritage, and culture. Throughout the trail, sites and historic markers will connect the stories of Black life and resiliency in New Jersey.
Under the legislation, the division would also develop and maintain an interactive Internet site to provide information concerning the sites and trails. Additionally, an 11-member New Jersey Black Culture Heritage Commission would be created for the purpose of promoting awareness and appreciation through education, along with assisting in the creation of appropriate memorials.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Tucker and McKnight issued the following joint statement:
“We want to promote awareness and appreciation of Black history and culture. Black lives have helped shape New Jersey and for far too long have been hidden from view.
“This bill will allow us to share the many historical sites that the State has to offer and honor the history of Black life and resiliency. With an interactive website, we can also keep the public informed about current trail sites to visit and create itineraries for surrounding attractions within the Black Heritage Trail.”