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Who Built Beverly? A History of African Americans in 19th Century Western Virginia

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An imaginary curated exhibition of the life, work, and death of freed and enslaved African Americans in Beverly, West Virginia.

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Who Built Beverly? A History of African Americans in 19th Century Western Virginia

  1. 1. WHO BUILT BEVERLY? A History of African Americans in 19th Century Beverly, West Virginia
  2. 2. Built in 1827-28 by slave labor, the former Bosworth-Blackman is currently home to the Randolph County History Museum. The store had a vault in the cellar that was used to store valuables until the bank was built. Used as a commissary during the Civil War, there is still graffiti visible left by soldiers in the upstairs.
  3. 3. Located behind the Beverly Heritage Center the slave quarters housed the slaves who built the Bosworth-Blackman store. Slaves also lived and worked on farms of most of the prominent founders of Beverly. A small number of freed African Americans lived in Beverly around the same time.
  4. 4. The road that passes through Beverly is the historic Staunton- Parkers burg Turnpike. This vital east-west route allowed slaves to travel secretly to cross the Ohio River at Parkersburg to freedom.
  5. 5. Slaves and freed African Americans are buried in Beverly Cemetery, mostly in an unmarked plot toward the back, the final proof of the people of color who helped to build this frontier town. By the end of the 1800s, almost all African Americans had left Beverly. Today, Beverly is 98% white.

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