The Invisible History of African Americans in Cape Charles, Virginia
The stories of African Americans are all but absent in the written and oral documentation of the history of Cape Charles, Virginia. This project aims to uncover their invisible history through oral history interviews and through a publicly available historical walking tour of African American sites, thereby preserving the accomplishments of the people associated with those sites, recognizing the heritage of their descendants, and fostering appreciation by all current residents of Cape Charles for the town's unique past. We chose the term "African American" to embrace everyone of African descent and to be specifically inclusive of those whose ethnicity is of the Accomacke and the Anishinaabe Nussawadou Lenape Indigenous peoples, who were largely absorbed into the unenslaved and enslaved African American community at Gingaskin reservation since the colonial era. Through this tour, we hope to not only to shed light on some of the stories and accomplishments of African Americans in Cape Charles, past and present, but to provide historical information for subsequent generations to know, reference, and cherish. This tour highlights sites and buildings significant to the African American community, though presently invisible in the written history of the town. We examine the impact and influence of this community on the town's development and progress so as to illuminate for residents and visitors alike what is relevant in the past in understanding the present. Acknowledgements: This walking tour is a community service project of the Invisible History Committee of the Rotary Club of Cape Charles made possible with support from Virginia Humanities and the Frances Bibbins Latimer Fund.