On my most recent trip, I stepped back into the past; Black history, to be specific. Like much of the South, the Outer Banks is a region steeped in African American history. I had the honor to explore some of these sites and experiences. The Pea Island Cookhouse Museum and Herbert M. Collins Boathouse in Manteo offered a look into the service rendered by Richard Etheridge and his fellow surfmen, the first all-black crew to save the lives of those in peril on the sea in the United States. Etheridge’s grave and statue gave me an even deeper understanding of the legacy of this great man.
The Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island stands as a remembrance of the harrowing path to freedom that far too many had to take, and the hope that my ancestors had for a brighter day. It is a humbling and impactful place. My visit was made all the more powerful by the presence of Michael Tillett, a fellow Freedman descendant. OBX is all about community and the things that bring us together. Step into this Outer Banks resident's world to learn how he shares the things he loves with others around him on the barrier islands and beyond.
If you’re looking for an easy getaway that allows you to embrace both the past and the present to their fullest extent, take a trip down to the Outer Banks. The region's nature and the people are always waiting to embrace you with open arms. Still not convinced? Check out the information and videos below to get hyped for your next trip to the OBX! Read more about the African American Experience of Northeaster North Carolina or discover more history in our blog "First in Freedom | A Culture of Diversity on the Outer Banks."
To explore the Outer Banks' African American cultural sites in person, download our Black Heritage itinerary below.