Be a tourist in your own backyard!

The Mobile Chamber team recently had the opportunity to go on the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail (DFFAAHT). Staff members got to explore our community and take a look into forgotten chapters of Mobile’s history. 

 The DFFAAHT takes people on an all-inclusive historical journey starting with the founding of Mobile in 1702. The mission of this organization is “to educate, preserve and mark the historic contributions of African Americans in Mobile.” 

 “The Mobile area has a long and rich history, but the story of our African American history is largely unknown to many people.  The tour showed the Chamber staff this history, both sad and joyful, and particularly the Africatown story of courage and resilience,” said Mobile Chamber President and CEO, Bradley Byrne. I would recommend this tour for anyone who wants to know the full story of historic Mobile.” 

 A few of the notable stops that you will learn about on this 44+ stop tour includes: 

  • The Clotilda (the last slave ship to arrive in the United States) 
  • Africatown/Plateau Graveyard 
  • Union Baptist Church 

 Click here to learn more about various stops along the tour. 

 There are a few exciting events coming up very soon benefiting the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail: 

  • Annual Griot Award Gala  
  • The “Preview” of Historic Franklin House Gallery  
  • Annual Underground Railroad Bike Tour  

 Learn more about each event below! 

 Friday, May 19th, 6:00 p.m. – Annual Griot Award Gala

The DFFAAHT will honor the Excelsior Band on its 140th anniversary. This year they are resuming the Annual Griot Award Gala post-Covid restrictions. They will convene in the Atrium of the Mobile Government Plaza

Saturday, May 20th, 2:00 p.m. – The “Preview” of Historic Franklin House Gallery

The DFFAAHT is tremendously proud to be unveiling the newly renovated home of Dr. and Mrs. James Alexander Franklin. The house has been renovated to its original grandeur and now bears the shield and
banner of the Mobile Historic Preservation Society. It is also adorned by plaques presented to the DFFAAHT by Alabama’s Bicentennial Fort to Port initiative and the UNESCO Slave Route.  

 The house features historic photographs of the Franklin-Finley family, cultural heritage art and pictures of dignitaries who stayed at the house during the Jim Crow era. The home will serve as an event center as well for gatherings of a maximum attendance of 100.

Sunday, May 21st, 2 p.m.  – Annual Underground Railroad Bike Tour

The DFFAAHT will hold its inaugural bike tour partnering with Adventure Earth, Heart of Mary School, and Visit Mobile with state grant sponsorships by Sen. Vivian Davis and Rep. Barbara Drummond.  

 We will give an abbreviated cycle tour of the DFFAAHT and then celebrate the heritage, contributions and bravery of those who were able to escape slavery to freedom.  

 The DFFAAHT Wallace Turnage marker which holds the distinction of being the first marker in Alabama to receive membership status on the National Parks Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom will be celebrated specifically as he is the only slave known to have escaped by traveling south instead of north. 

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