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10 Black Heritage Sites to Visit in 2021 (

First Landing Park, Virginia Beach, Va.

Virginia’s most-visited state park was built by an all-Black regiment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created I the 1930s by President Franklin Roosevelt to provide jobs to three million young men, including 250,000 African-Americans.

CCC’s Company 1371 constructed more than 20 miles of trails, drained marshes, built cabins, and planted trees and shrubs for what was then known as Seashore State Park and was later renamed First Landing State Park.

Despite building the park, southern segregationists barred Black citizens from using it. In 1951, local African-Americans filed suit against the Virginia Conservation Commission for being denied entrance to the park and in 1955, state officials closed the park rather than integrate it. The park was reopened to all citizens in 1965 regardless of skin color.