Coming in June 2022: Temporary public art installation at Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

illustration of trees with blue bottles on limbs

Forgotten Souls of Tory Row: Remembering the Enslaved People of Brattle Street This summer, History Cambridge is partnering with Black Coral, Inc. to erect a temporary public art installation on the front lawn of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House at 159 Brattle Street. On view and open to the public dawn to dusk from June 3-October 3, 2022 Dates of note: Installation begins … Read More

Feb 3 – History Café: Local History and the Black Experience in Slavery and Freedom

  How do we bring the stories of both enslaved and free Black residents to the forefront of local history, and what can one city’s experiences teach Cantabrigians about uncovering these stories within our own communities? In our quest to do “history without borders,” we will be speaking with Dr. Barbara Brown of Hidden Brookline, an organization dedicated to bringing … Read More

Jukebox, a community storysharing project

Jukebox is a storytelling project located at the Cambridge Foundry. Combined with community-centered programming, it will: Create a centerpoint within the Cambridge community for listening to and connecting with one another through the sharing of our stories Build a platform that amplifies community voices, especially the voices of underrepresented community groups, including BIPOC individuals Develop an authentic archive of stories … Read More

Growing Up on Worcester Street

By Suzanne Revaleon Green Originally published in A City’s Life and Times: Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, 2007 Introduction written by Paula Paris, a member of the Cambridge Historical Commission and a co-founding member of the Cambridge Black History Project, an all-volunteer organization of individuals with deep roots in Cambridge, committed to researching, accurately documenting, preserving, and illuminating the journeys, … Read More

2021 History Café Recap

This spring, 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, History Cambridge was able to host two History Cafés exploring the rich history of the city’s Black community. Graduate intern Eshe Sherley created our Early Black Cambridge History Hub, a compilation of … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: Stories from the Early African American Community of Old Cambridge

By Jules Long, Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, 2018 | Edited by Eshe Sherley, History Cambridge, 2021 Slavery in Pre-Revolutionary Cambridge The oldest existing mention of slavery in Massachusetts was recorded in 1638, when African prisoners arrived in the colony on the slave ship Desire, built in Marblehead the previous year. In 1639, the mention of a … Read More

History Café: Harriet Jacobs and the World of Abolitionist Cambridge Women

Harriet Jacobs is best known for her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, in which she chronicles her enslavement in North Carolina, her subsequent period in hiding in a tiny attic garret, and her eventual escape north to freedom. But Jacobs was also for many years a resident of Cambridge, where she ran boarding houses and was part … Read More

History Café: Three Centuries of Black Cambridge

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 … Read More

‘Quiet Courage’: Maria Baldwin and the Racial Politics of Education in Cambridge

By Beth Folsom, Program Manager, History Cambridge In her 1905 report to the parents of ten-year-old Edward Cummings, his principal Maria Baldwin described him as “a most loveable little boy, and we are glad that he is part of our little community.”[1] Nearly six decades later, when that little boy had become the celebrated American poet e.e. cummings, he reflected … Read More