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Harrisonburg, Virginia is an independent city situated in the Shenandoah Valley and the county seat of Rockingham County. In 1716, the first European explorers to come through the area were led by Alexander Spotswood. It was first called Rocktown but was later renamed in honor of Thomas Harrison, who settled the Shenandoah Valley in 1737. In 1865, when the slaves who lived in the Shenandoah Valley were freed, they settled next to Harrisonburg, in a place which they called Newtown. Around the end of the 19th century, Newtown was annexed by Harrisonburg. It has kept its flavor, and today, most of the black churches remain in the former Newtown.

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