SALISBURY — Though it only scratches the surface, the African American Heritage Trial has brought to light historic places, leaders and experiences in the lives of Black Rowan Countians for more than 20 years.

The project was established in 2000 with support from Livingstone College and the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It has since been expanded to designate 20 sites in downtown Salisbury, 24 on the Livingstone College campus and 11 scattered across County Rowan.

Downtown sites highlight such figures as Joseph Ballard, a blacksmith and politician born into slavery and freed with emancipation, as well as Harry Cowan, a Baptist minister who established 49 churches across the state. A marker recognizes the achievements of Wiley Immanuel Lash, the city’s first black mayor, political activist and humanitarian. William Valentine is honored to own a barber shop which marks the oldest existing commercial structure in Salisbury, on the Innes Street side of the building at 101 North Main St.

A marker on the 120 block of West Innes pays tribute to the integration into historic cinemas following the Livingstone student protests in 1962.

A site commemorates the office of World War I veteran and dentist Lee Clarence Jones at 118 North Lee St., formerly known as Roseman’s Grocery. Historic black churches are also recognized, including Mount Zion Baptist, established in 1867; the Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church, founded in 1865; Crown in Glory Lutheran Church, founded in 1971; and the Dixonville Baptist Church, destroyed during 20th-century urban renewal. Salisbury’s first black public school, Lincoln School, and the adjacent Dixonville Cemetery are also recognized along the trail.

Other Salisbury sites along the trail include the Oak Grove-Freedman Cemetery, the Rowan Museum, the “Crossroads: Past and Present” mural along the 100 block of West Fisher Street, and the Historic National Cemetery of Government Street.

The Mowery Block, which runs from 113 to 119 East Fisher St., is honored on the trail of a history of black businesses operating in the area since its construction in 1902. These businesses include Noble and Kelsey’s Funeral Home, Mowery Tailor Shop, Union Drug Store and Medical Offices. Additionally, the Negro Center at 223 East Fisher Street honors the Negro branch of the Rowan Public Library and currently houses the Noble and Kelsey Funeral Home.

Markers on the Livingstone campus honor the school and the Union Hill neighborhood, both of which were part of the Frohock Plantation established in 1761. The trail notes that when General Union Stoneman invaded Salisbury in 1865, soldiers camped nearby in what is now known as Union Hill.

Markers on the Livingstone campus also highlight the homes of Lash and his family, as well as the Duncan Family Home built in 1917 for Samuel E. Duncan Sr., who headed the school’s math department. Additionally, the trail recognizes the homes of other notable Livingstone teachers including William O. Ferron, James EK and Rose Douglass Aggrey, Pinkey A. Stevenson, John C. Dancy and Joseph Charles and Jennie Smallwood Price.

The trail also recognizes Monroe Street School, JC Price High School, Moore’s Chapel AME Zion Church, Oakdale/Union Hill Cemetery, and Miller Recreation Center.

Through the county, the trail marks the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. A number of schools are included, such as RA Clement School in Cleveland, Dunbar High School in East Spencer, Shuford Memorial Elementary School in Granite Quarry, the gymnasium at the former Aggrey Memorial High School, and Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Elementary School in Salisbury.

a Gilliam Family Farm in Salisbury, Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, Landis, notable sites include the Sandy Ridge AME Zion Church and Museum, and the White Rock Community of Granite Quarry and the village of Gold Hill are marked.

Two decades later, the trail is still visible today.

Gretchen Witt, supervisor of the Edith M. Clark History Room at the Rowan Public Library, said patrons continue to print copies of the brochure, which includes a map and description of all the sites. The brochure can be picked up free of charge at the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 204 E. Innes St.