Black History Moment: The rich history behind the Dora Franklin-Finley African American Heritage Trail in Mobile

Updated: Feb. 24, 2022 at 3:00 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail is one accomplishment that helps to preserve the city of Mobile’s rich and diverse history.

It was named and founded by one of Mobile’s strongest advocates for preserving history, Dora Franklin-Finley. The trail now keeps her memory and legacy alive.

It took Dora countless presentations, phone calls, and a little bit of arm-twisting to finally help the trail come to life in 2006. There are 43 markers across the city that mark and highlight important events and locations, that many believe shouldn’t be forgotten.

Places like Hank Aaron’s Playground, a Slave Market, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and Africatown, all leave a mark.

Harrietta Eaton who works with local high school students and was one of the first board members for the African American Heritage Trail said the trail is a vital tool for education.

“I asked one of them, what do you know about black history in Mobile? The answer the student gave me was, there isn’t any black history in Mobile. The only black history I know about in Alabama happened in Montgomery. They don’t know their history so this helps share their history and gives them a sense of pride,” said Eaton.

Eaton said the trail is something everyone has to experience, one of the newest markers meaning a whole lot to her.

“The most recent marker, celebrating Bolden vs. the city of Mobile, my father’s relative was Mr. Wiley Bolden who was part of that case that changed our form of government in Mobile.”

The theme of the trail is something Dora Franklin Finley firmly believed in and hopes everyone lives by: “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”

If you would like to take a tour or find out more about the Dora Franklin-Finley African American Heritage Trail click here.