Senate Passes Legislation To Establish Black Heritage Trail, Cultural Commission

Trenton – The Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Mike Testa (R- Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) that would require the New Jersey Historical Commission to identify a series of Black heritage sites to be part of a New Jersey Black Heritage Trail.

The bill, S-1805, would direct the New Jersey Historical Commission to give special consideration to Black heritage sites that are in close proximity to other sites thematically linked by surrounding arts, cultural, historical, entertainment or other interests. The Commission would also consider sites recommended by the New Jersey Black Cultural and Heritage Initiative Foundation. Online submission of recommendations for privately-owned sites to be included in the trail would be permitted.

“For nearly 400 years, Black Americans have been part of New Jersey’s history. Black heritage and history has, for far too long, gone underrepresented and untold despite our contributions to industry, culture and arts,” said Senator Singleton (D- Burlington). “The purpose of the Black Heritage Trail is to promote and honor these achievements through education, public programs, and historical markers.”

Under the bill, the commission would also be required to design, purchase and erect historical markers deemed necessary for sites or property owned by the State.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.