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Chasing History: The Underground Railroad

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

The Oldest Black Community In The United States, Petersurg, Va.

Pocahontas Island, located in Petersburg Va., is the oldest black community in the United States. It was a part of the underground railroad and I had a chance to visit with Richard Stewart, the curator and owner of the Pocahontas Island Black History Museum.

Richard Stewart comes from a long line of descents from Petersburg, Va., eight generations to be exact. He has dedicated his life to preserving the artifacts and history of African Americans who toiled the soil of Pocahontas Island. At 78 years old, his expertise and wisdom were tangible. I sat quietly, and sheepishly, as he shared the history of the house I sat in. It's origin 1832, and on original ground.

It also serves as the Pocahontas Black History Museum.

The Battles of Petersburg

The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the siege of Petersburg, taking place on July 30, 1864. It is historically known as one of the deadliest of the civil war, killing mostly black soldiers. It is considered the worst racial massacre on the battlefield. A visit to the Petersburg National Battlefield and the General Ulysses S. Grant Headquarters, located in City Point, in Hopewell, Va., helped bring the story to life.

It was at City Point that General Ulysses S. Grant set up his headquarters, hosting many dignitaries, including President Abraham Lincoln. A must visit.

Poccahontas Island

Home to some of the earliest slaves since 1732, this black community is the soul of Petersburg. An homage to the Underground Railroad, it keeps the legacy of the Jarratt House. A house over 200 years old that was used as part of the underground railroad. Circa 1820.

For me, this chasing history road trip I have thrown myself into has been penetrating. Every experience empowers the next. An astounding voyage through time. I am grateful.

Stay connected as I continue on to the next stop on the underground railroad.

Please visit

Pocahontas Black History Museum

224 Witten St.

Petersburg, Va,

Appt Only.



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