Worth the Drive: Celebrating Black History in Fayetteville

EE Smith monument

In the heart of the North Carolina Sandhills, Fayetteville is an undiscovered gem that has deep roots in the heritage and legacy of Black Excellence. Spend a weekend exploring the legacy of African Americans who shaped our country’s history on DistiNCtly Fayetteville’s African American Trail.

The Trail provides a historical glimpse into trials and triumphs of African Americans during Cumberland County’s formative years. Learn more about notable events and people, including:

MLK statue

AME Zion church

  • E.E. Smith: Dr. E.E. (Ezekiel Ezra) Smith, a respected African American educator, headed Fayetteville State University, the second oldest public university in North Carolina, for an impressive 50 years, giving some of his own land to build FSU’s first buildings. Other notable accomplishments include founding North Carolina’s first Black newspaper and serving as a Baptist minister for the Black First Baptist Church.
  • Hiram R. Revels: Born in Fayetteville, Revels was the first African American to serve in Congress, representing Mississippi in the Senate from 1870 to 1871 after he served in the Civil War as a chaplain for the Union forces.
  • Henry Evans: Henry Evans, a Black shoemaker and Methodist preacher, founded the congregation of Evans Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church. His arrival into Fayetteville was the beginning of Methodism in Fayetteville and eastern North Carolina. Evans preached to a congregation that welcomed all in the community.

Did you know? Fayetteville has one of the highest percentages of Black-owned businesses in the nation!

While immersing yourself in the deep history that runs through the veins of Cumberland County, take a moment to support one of the county’s many Black-owned businesses.

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