The DeLand Black Heritage Trail

The DeLand Black Heritage Trail project, is a self-guided cycling and walking route that extends and connects DeLand’s vibrant downtown social district to historic places that represent African American history.

Our goal is to break through the physical, social, and economic divides using guided and self-guided cycling and walking tours as a catalyst to break down invisible barriers and strengthen community ties. Increasing local history knowledge and raising comfort level for cyclists, walkers and other visitors to the area will strengthen community ties and lead to economic improvements. 

Greater Spring Hill is a historically underserved area with many places that carry fading (but not yet lost) stories of segregation and violence, but also of ingenuity, talent, prosperity, and commercial enterprise.   The trail will highlight stories and characters from the area’s past.

These historical and cultural gems include: the J. W. Wright building currently in restoration, the Greater Union Church where Stetson supports creation and installation of an interpretive sign, the African American Museum of Art, the Noble “Thin Man” Watts Amphitheater, the E. R. Burgess Pavilion Museum, and “The Hill” mural championed by Stetson’s Dr. Asal Johnson honoring African American figures from DeLand’s past.

What we provide: Our project will define DeLand’s heritage trail with maps, wayfinding/interpretive signs, online & printed booklets, self-guided tours, stories and narratives, educational lectures and seminars amplified through social media, and cycling/walking events. The project highlights  in-progress improvements such as the city’s Voorhis Avenue Streetscape CRA project, the restoration of the J. W. Wright building, and “the Hill” mural. It will inspire and accelerate additional active transportation infrastructure including the DeLand West Greenway that will extend through the area west to the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop and the future DeLand SUN Rail Station.

Our partners: Stetson University, Greater Union Church, the West Volusia Historical Society, Florida Victorian, DeLand Police Athletic League and many other organizations and businesses for information gathering, review, and active outdoor events. This project is supported by a grant from Florida Humanities. 

We are seeking additional partners, volunteers and sponsors to help organize and produce a “LIFTOFF/LIFTUP” street celebration to launch the trail in April. 

Please join us to make this project a success!

Click images below to view Project Posts

DeLand Black Heritage Trail Kickoff

We believe: Trails, bike/walk-friendly infrastructure and active outdoor lifestyles are part of the remedy for social, economic, and health problems. Active mobility, intellectual discovery and social interaction are a motivating and inspiring mix.

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.