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Historic Sites

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island | Richard Etheridge Family Cemetery

The cemetery of Richard Etheridge and his family resides on the grounds of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  Just outside the entry gates, this historic location is open to all visitors and does not require aquarium admission to visit.  The fenced gravesite features the headstones of Etheridge and his family, along with a …

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North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island | James Melvin Gallery

Richard Etheridge and the great watermen who served with him in the late 1800s at the only all-black lifesaving station on Pea Island are commemorated by African-American artist James Melvin.  Painted in the 1980s, these paintings reside as an exhibit inside the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  Access to the exhibit requires aquarium admission.

Maritime Underground Railroad Waterfront

National Park Service Underground Railway Network to Freedom, Maritime Underground Railroad Site, Waterfront Park, located at the foot of South Broad Street. The Maritime Underground Railroad was composed of a network of African American watermen who worked with individuals of other races and occupations to identify sympathetic seamen to arrange passage on ships for freedom-seekers …

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Historic Edenton Trolley Tour

For visitors (and residents) wanting to experience a leisurely tour of Edenton and learn about its 300-year history, hop aboard the Edenton Trolley Tour. The guided tour is one of many fun things to do in Edenton, showcasing notable sites throughout the Downtown Historic District and supporting historical residences of Edenton’s citizens; the African American …

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Harriet Jacobs Tour

Hear the amazing tale of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born into slavery in Edenton, who escaped to become a well-known abolitionist and author.  As documented in her 1861 autobiography, “Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl”, this walking tour shares history and takes you through downtown Edenton to see many of the sites mentioned …

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Josephine Napoleon Leary

Step inside the “Edenton Women of Distinction Exhibit” and learn about Mrs. Josephine  Napoleon Leary, a remarkable African American woman who was born in slavery and became a successful entrepreneur.  The intact and classic iron-fronted building still standing on Broad Street was constructed by Theo Ralph with Mrs. Leary’s name in the pediment came from the popular “Mesker …

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Mariners’ Wharf

 The busy wharf was the site of much Civil War activity. Black troops, free Black Elizabeth City residents, and those escaping slavery would certainly have comingled here in 1863 when a brigade of Black soldiers—many of whom had been previously enslaved in the region—returned to Elizabeth City under the command of Brigadier General Edward Augustus …

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