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Charlotte, Essex sites added to Vt. African American Heritage Trail

Observer courtesy photo The Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte is one of the oldest and largest African American-owned farms in Vermont.
Observer courtesy photo
The Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte is one of the oldest and largest African American-owned farms in Vermont.

The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing along with the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity have announced the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte and the Buffalo Soldiers Historic Markers in Colchester and Essex as additions to the Vermont African American Heritage Trail for 2017.

The Clemmons Family Farm is one of the oldest and largest African American-owned farms in Vermont. It has been in the Clemmons family since 1962. The 148-acre property includes six historic farm buildings, prime farmland and forest on the shore of Lake Champlain and serves as an African American heritage and multicultural center.

“Less than half of one percent of farms in the U.S. are African American-owned, making the Clemmons Family Farm a unique and important asset to Vermont’s identity and a valuable addition to the African American Heritage Trail,” Hilary DelRoss, heritage and recreation specialist at the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, said in a press release. “The farm blends agriculture with storytelling, art and cultural events, captivating visitors.”

The other landmark added to the trail commemorates the “Buffalo Soldiers” and is located at Fort Ethan Allen, which straddles the Essex and Colchester town line.

Dubbed the “Buffalo Soldiers” during the American Indian Wars, the 10th U.S. Cavalry was one of the first peacetime all-black regiments established in the regular U.S. Army after the Civil War. The 10th U.S. Cavalry arrived at Fort Ethan Allen in July 1909 and engaged with the local community during their assignment.

The Vermont African American Heritage Trail takes visitors to museums and cultural sites where exhibits, films, tours and personal explorations illuminate the lives of African Americans for whom the Green Mountain State was part of their identity. This trail was established four years ago to celebrate the historic and new populations of Africans in Vermont and to promote the attractions associated with their achievements and contributions to visitors and residents alike.

In a proclamation ceremony earlier this year, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott declared February 2017 Vermont African American Heritage Trail Month to celebrate and highlight the significant contributions of individuals and sites associated with the trail.

“Vermont’s history, at its roots, is multicultural, from the members of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys with African heritage to the state’s constitution, which was the first to prohibit slavery,” Scott said.

More information, including resources for student educational programming, can be found at vtafricanamericanheritage.net.