Fort Henderson Historic Site and Trinity High School
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Built in 1863 by federal forces occupying Athens, the fort, situated on Coleman Hill, was a five-sided earthen fort with some frame buildings and underground bomb-proofs. Abatis lined the 15-foot deep perimeter ditch, a small portion of which is still visible. On September 24, 1864, after a brief fight and a clever ruse orchestrated by Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, the fort and its 900-man garrison of mostly the 110 U.S. colored infantry were surrendered. After moving the prisoners and captured supplies South, Forrest's campaign followed the railroad North to the Union fort at Sulphur Creek Trestle which he took the following day. Federals re-occupied Athens shortly after Forrest's departure. Fort Henderson is significant for its role in the pioneering fight for equality and what black soldiers that constructed it called The Jubilo (freedom). It was one of the first places where black soldiers were captured by Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest after the massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. Unlike the soldiers at Fort Pillow who were shot and stabbed after surrendering, the soldiers at Fort Henderson were returned to slavery. Trinity Congregational Church. This church was established during the time when racial intolerance was extremely high and any attempt at progress by blacks was viewed with suspicion. The church is significant for its role in pioneering nondiscriminatory religious, educational and social services in North Alabama. At the time it was the only religious facility in the area with both black and white ministers and parishioner. Although Alabama laws prevented the co-mingling of blacks and whites, the church played a vital role in promoting racial harmony during a period of intense racial division in America. Trinity High School. The school educated black students from 1930 through the 1970s and was the first school in the northern half of the state to provide kindergarten instruction for blacks. Among its most prominent students was world renown singer Patti Malone. Museum (under development) will tell the story of slavery in antebellum times in Athens and showcase history of Trinity School. All three sites are listed on the Alabama Register of Historic Places.
For more information visit:
800 Browns Ferry St.
Athens, AL 35611
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