Hundreds of women join the 500-mile trek from Bethlehem to N.C. to promote women’s education

Written by on September 28, 2021

Hundreds of women join the 500-mile trek from Bethlehem to N.C. to promote women’s education

By Megan Frank

September 28, 2021

A group of people started crossing a bridge in Bethlehem as they begin their walk to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photos | Megan Frank / WLVR

Almost 250 years ago, a small group of Moravian women walked from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

That’s where they founded Salem Academy and College, one of the first schools in the country for girls.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, a few hundred people set out to make the same trek. 

More than 400 Salem College alumni and students signed up to walk various legs of the 500-mile journey. Organizers said they’re promoting equal access to education.

Reading resident Dail Richie is a 1972 graduate of Salem College. She was with the group of about a dozen women who kicked off the walk in Bethlehem. 

“This is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, while honoring our sisters of the past,” Richie said. “It’s an amazing journey, an amazing project, with lots of love and lots of energy.”

Annie Jenkins graduated from Salem College in 1970. She traveled from North Carolina to Bethlehem to walk several legs back. 

“It’s going to be challenging, because this leg is, you know, 18 miles. The shortest leg is maybe 6 miles. But, hey, women can do it, you know,” Jenkins said. 

The trip wraps up on Oct. 26. Next year is Salem College’s 250th anniversary. 

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