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Contact: Carmen Yelle  


334-872-8058


 


January 18, 2022


 


Old Cahawba to
host ‘Road to Freedom Wagon Tour’


(Orrville, AL) On Saturday, February 12,
2022, from 10:00am to 11:00 am, Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, a historic
property of the Alabama Historical Commission, will host the Road to Freedom
Wagon Tour.


 


One hundred years before the 1965
Voting Rights March focused on the Dallas County courthouse in nearby Selma, a
brave community of recently emancipated African Americans gathered around an
older courthouse in Cahawba. These 19th century citizens exercised their right
to vote and –for a brief time – gained political power. The Road to Freedom
Wagon Tour tells the story of Cahawba’s African American majority and traces
their path from slavery to freedom with a special emphasis on how they reshaped
Cahawba as they pursued their dreams of equality.


 


“Of all the tours we do, this is
perhaps my favorite because it makes me think about the meaning of freedom,”
said Linda Derry, Site Director at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. “I like to
start this tour by asking participants to consider what they would do if
suddenly, one day, for the first time, they were told they were free. Then, as
we tour historic locations throughout the park, we discover the first freedoms
that Cahawba’s newly emancipated people sought. This look at the struggle for
freedom from the inside out can be a humbling experience.”


 


By 1860, approximately 64% of
Cahawba’s population was African American. After Emancipation, the formerly
enslaved laborers engaged in commerce for themselves with their highly skilled
craftsmanship, becoming bricklayers, carpenters, blacksmiths, plasterers, and
landowners. 


 


Many of those same citizens played
prominent roles fighting for hard-won political freedoms. Jeremiah Haralson
(born 1846) was self-educated and the only African American to serve in the
Alabama House, Alabama Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Jordan
Hatcher, Cahawba’s postmaster, was appointed to the Constitutional Convention.
Tom Walker was one of Alabama’s first state legislators and became a highly
successful lawyer in the District of Columbia, as well as a trustee of Howard
University. Sara J. Hatcher Duncan regarded as the Pinnacle of Women’s Power in
the A.M.E Church, was born in Cahawba shortly after Emancipation.


 


Participants will learn about how
voting rights and the pursuit of freedom shaped Cahawba. The Road to Freedom
Wagon Tour participants will meet at the visitor’s center, rain or shine.
Tickets are $8 for children and $10 for adults and available at the Old Cahawba
Visitors Center. A
maximum of 15 tickets will be sold, so interested
parties are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance of the event.
Tickets may be purchased by calling 334-872-8058. Old Cahawba accepts all major
credit cards.


Old
Cahawba lies at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, and from 1819
to 1826 it served as Alabama’s first capital. From downtown Selma, take Highway
22 (Dallas Avenue) west 8.6 miles. Cross over the Cahaba River and turn left
onto County Road 9 and follow this 3.3 miles until it dead ends. Turn left onto
County Road 2 and follow this 1.5 miles until you see the Visitor Center on the
right. Visitor Center Address: 9518 Cahaba Road, Orrville, AL 36767.


To learn more about Old Cahawba, or the Alabama Historical Commission,
please visit

Old
Cahawba lies at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, and from 1819
to 1826 it served as Alabama’s first capital. Today, the Alabama Historical
Commission owns and operates this significant archaeological site.

Located in historic
downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission
is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created
by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to
protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places. AHC works to
accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and
promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and statewide
programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation
activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated
by the AHC, hours of operation, and admission fees please visit
ahc.alabama.gov  

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