On June 9 we were joined via Zoom by Dr. Janie Ward for a discussion of the changing geographies of Black Cambridge. This History Café built on our previous program on Harriet Jacobs and the world of Cambridge’s abolitionist women, tracing the threads of the Black experience through the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. We explored the ways in which the Black community flourished in the decades after independence, as well as the challenges it has faced from socioeconomic, political and geographical racism.

Dr. Ward is Professor of Education and Director of the Critical Race, Gender and Cultural Studies Institute at Simmons University. She shared with us her research on the history of race and geography in Cambridge. Dr. Ward has completed extensive research on the history of her own Cambridge residence, uncovering a fascinating web of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic factors that have influenced the makeup of her neighborhood and others in Cambridge over the past three centuries. Her work helped us unpack the complex array of factors that have led to the creation and recreation of the city’s neighborhoods, and allows us to better understand the connections between Black Cambridge past and present.

Thanks to the generous support of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati and a grant from the Bridge Street Fund, a special initiative of Mass Humanities, this program was available to the public at no charge. If you missed the program, you can view it on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn2dnVhpPPI