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African American History

African American History

African American History

While Cabell County's African American history is as old as the county's establishment in 1809, the majority of the surviving buildings and sites associated with the history of the African American community date to the early-to-mid-twentieth century. During this period, segregation promoted a society that was inherently separate and not equal, but it also encouraged the establishment of businesses and institutions, created by and for African Americans, that contributed to a vibrant black culture in Huntington. Some of these institutions, including the West Virginia Colored Orphans' Home, Douglass Junior and Senior High School, and the Barnett Hospital and Nursing School, have been recognized for their historical significance through listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Other sites, such as several historic black churches, remain of vital importance to many people's lives, while places like the Bethel Memorial Park are in desperate need of recognition and preservation. The recognition of these sites is the first step in promoting the appreciation and continued use of those places that help communicate the stories of Cabell County's African American community.

As such, in 2014, the Cabell County Board of Education sponsored a countywide study of sites associated with African American heritage, which included documenting 12 sites throughout the community. The entire study, A Survey of Cabell County, West Virginia, African American Historical Sites, is available as a PDF (Part 1 and Part 2), and information on individual sites is presented in the West Virginia Historic Property Information Forms linked below. For additional information on African American history in West Virginia, see the West Virginia Division of Culture and History Timeline of African-American History.