African Americans and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Historic Resource Study

Dublin Core


African Americans and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Historic Resource Study


North Carolina and Virginia; African American women; African Americans--Appalachian Region; African American men; African Americans--Southern States; African American heritage; African American churches; African American religious leaders; African American religious thought and life; African American youth; African American students; African Americans--Education; African Americans--Education--Southern States; Tourism and Cultural Resources


This study of African Americans and their relationship to the Blue Ridge Parkway includes information that focuses on segregation, a black Civilian Conservation Corps Camp that worked on the parkway in Galax, Virginia, and the African American communities that surround the parkway. Research was conducted at the Blue Ridge Parkway Archives in Asheville, North Carolina, the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection of Appalachian State University's Belk Library in the Appalachian Collection in Boone, North Carolina, Galax Carroll Regional Library in Galax, Virginia, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

The intended use of this study is to understand the involvement of African Americans on the parkway since its beginning and the communities the road passes through. Information in this study could be used to determine a site or sites to educate visitors about the relationship between African Americans and the parkway. Information in this study could also be used to help park rangers prepare interpretive campfire talks at existing recreational areas. A list of recommendations for further research is included along with a list of people who might be helpful in future investigation and study.

The study is constructed in three sections starting with segregation with sources spanning the years of 1936 to the 1960s. The black CCC camp is second with sources from 1940 to 1946. Finally, African American communities are studied with references from slavery times to present day.

The first section chronicles the process of parkway officials' planning and implementing segregated recreation areas on the parkway. It documents correspondence about segregation, pictures from segregated areas, and maps from yearly master plans illustrating segregated picnic grounds and bathrooms.

Section two focuses on the Black Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, NP-29, in Galax, Virginia, which opened in the winter of 1940 and closed in spring l 942. A camp inspection report is the key piece of evidence for this camp. Details of camp work on the parkway and activities are featured here.

Finally, section three explores African American communities along the parkway. Slave cemeteries, inhabitants of the African American communities, and African American farming settlements are studied in this section. The Blue Ridge Parkway Folk life study was a key resource in finding existing African American communities and churches.

The final section includes suggestions for further research and a contact list of people who have knowledge about this subject.


Rebecca Jones


Black in Appalachia


August, 2009


Faculty Advisors: Dr. Pat Beavers, Dr. Neva Specht
Research Assistants: Jackie Holt, Carolyn Jones, Leslie White


This item can be used for private reflection and research, and not for commercial purposes.



Rebecca Jones, “African Americans and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Historic Resource Study,” Black in Appalachia: Community History Digital Archive, accessed April 15, 2024,