New Jersey's 1st Legislative District

Senator Michael Testa

Senator Michael Testa

A Step Forward for Black Heritage Trail as Testa Bill Clears Senate Panel

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Senator Mike Testa’s legislation to promote awareness and appreciation of Black history in the state was endorsed today by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

Senator Mike Testa’s legislation that would establish a New Jersey Black Heritage Trail and create the New Jersey Black Cultural Heritage Trail and a Black Heritage Commission was advanced by committee. The trail would feature historic sites like the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May. (Wikimedia Commons)

Under Testa’s bill, S-3727, the Division of Travel and Tourism would be required to establish a Black Heritage Trail and create the New Jersey Black Cultural Heritage Commission.

“The lives of African people and their descendants have contributed greatly to the fabric of New Jersey history for almost four centuries,” said Testa (R-1). “Highlighting significant locations and events, the Black Heritage Trail will bring attention to those men and women who impacted industry, culture, arts and everyday life in New Jersey, but whose stories have too often been overlooked. It is the right thing to do, and it is long overdue.”

The Black Heritage Trail would celebrate Black history, tradition, and culture through education, public programs, and historical markers.

The Assembly version of the bill (A-4706), sponsored by Testa’s fellow LD1 lawmaker Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, was approved by a 73-0 vote in June.

“This bill is so important because our history as African-Americans in this country extends so much farther than just our lessons about slavery and our struggles for freedom,” McClellan said. “The trail will connect the stories of Black life and resiliency in our state. From the new Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May here in the 1st District to the Hinchliffe Negro League Baseball Stadium in Newark, Black history and accomplishments are a rich part of the history of New Jersey.”

Under the bill, the Division of Travel and Tourism would maintain a web site containing information about Black heritage sites and providing vacation itineraries based on the Black Heritage Trail which would identify surrounding attractions, restaurants, lodging, and other exhibits or places of entertainment along the trail.

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