Journey through time and discover the story of local African American families of the past through the Roots Run Deep tour, a self-guided tour created by the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project. 


Through the Roots Run Deep tour, you can journey to 24 remarkable sites.  At each stop, the app offers historical information about the sites that will allow you to gain insight into the ways in which the families built a life for themselves and gain appreciation for their contributions to the area. The story begins in historic Jail Hill, the neighborhood where freeborn families first built their homes in the early 1800s. Several historic homes, churches and businesses are still with us today.

The tour includes a stop outside the home of local legend Lucy F. Simms born a slave in 1856, later a graduate of Hampton University. She taught over 1,800 students from three generations over 52 years in the Harrisonburg area. The site of the Effinger Street School where she taught is also a stop on the tour.

The Roots Run Deep tour is FREE and can be accessed through the Traipse app available on either app store. Traipse can be downloaded at There are five other Harrisonburg tours on the Traipse app mostly historic focused which include a scavenger hunt component.

Maps and brochures are also available at the Hardesty Higgins House Visitor Center, Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Center, Lucy F. Simms Center, or the Friendly City Food Co-op. Visit or for more information.