Hiking events

Hike through history

WILMINGTON, North Carolina — A Black History Hike through Wilmington kicked off four days of events to mark June 19.

The holiday, historically celebrated on June 19, commemorates the declaration of the end of slavery by Union troops arriving in Galveston, Texas, months after the Civil War ended. Congress passed a law last year making it the new federal holiday.

Wilmington Juneteenth Committee Co-Chair Abdul Shareef leads the trek through the streets of Wilmington, reflecting on why Juneteenth is such an important day.

Abdul Shareef leads people through a black history tour of Wilmington. (Photo: Natalie Mooney)

“To me, that means an opportunity to not just celebrate being physically free, but in your human dynamic of being who you already knew you were,” Shareef said. “A human being with an opportunity to excel, to develop their own abilities like everyone else.”

Shareef guides people through many important places such as Gregory School where black people were first allowed to start formal education in Wilmington, Gregory Church where the Wilmington Ten protests took place and some dedicated areas to the 1898 uprising when white supremacists overthrew a majority black government.

The hike takes a few hours, but Shareef said there’s no shortage of black history to study in the port city.

Abdul Shareef is a guide for a Black History Tour in Wilmington, which kicks off four days of celebrations to mark the June 19 holiday. (Photo: Natalie Mooney)

For Shareef, understanding the worst times in history is just as important as celebrating the good times – and a way to help create a better future.

“History rewards all research and if history is not exposed, taught, expotentized, bad things will happen again, Shareef said. “So history is important because we want future generations to not miss out on the knowledge that has been written down, documented, so they can feel good about themselves.”

Wilmington’s Juneteenth Festival will continue throughout the weekend with many celebratory events scheduled.

You can view the full schedule of events here.