Legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Testa to promote appreciation and awareness of Black history in the state was endorsed by the Senate today and now moves to the Governor’s desk for consideration.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Michael Testa to promote appreciation and awareness of Black history in the state was endorsed by the Senate and now moves to the Governor’s desk for consideration. (SenateNJ.com)
The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism would be required to establish a Black Heritage Trail and create the New Jersey Black Cultural Heritage Commission under Testa’s bill, A-2677/S-1805.
“This trail will salute the accomplishments of so many African people and their descendants who have contributed significantly to the fabric of New Jersey history for almost four centuries,” said Testa (R-1). “It is a long-overdue recognition for many who deserve to have their stories known.”
The Black Heritage Trail would celebrate Black history, tradition, and culture through education, public programs, and historical markers.
“The tour will be designed to highlight significant locations and events, bringing attention to those men and women who impacted industry, culture, arts, and everyday life in New Jersey, but whose roles have too often been overlooked,” Testa noted.
Sponsored by Testa’s fellow LD1 lawmaker Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, the Assembly version of the bill (A-2677) was approved in March with a vote of 76-0.
“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.