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Worcester Black History Trail to be Unveiled on June 2

For Immediate Release: 5/27/2022 8:11 am

WORCESTER – The first marker of the Worcester Black History Trail will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, at the corner of John and N. Ashland Streets.

This is one of five markers being made public through a collaboration of the City of Worcester, the College of the Holy Cross, the Worcester Branch of the NAACP, and the Laurel Clayton Project.

At this location, the Worcester Black History Trail highlights a 19th century community of people of color in the greater John Street area. Along with four other installations, these markers of the Worcester Black History Trail aim to educate the public about Black people in Worcester by documenting and highlighting sites of historical significance.

This area on Worcester’s West Side is the site of a significant Black “enclave” or “clustered” community dating before the Civil War.

“It is one of the oldest clustered communities of people of color in Worcester and also location of one of the city’s oldest Black churches,” said Dr. Thomas Doughton a professor at the College of the Holy Cross.

The public unveiling ceremony will include remarks from Gladys Rodriguez, Senior District Representative for Congressman James P. McGovern; Mayor Joseph M. Petty; Acting City Manager Eric Batista; City Councilor Khrystian King; the Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Hughes, Jr.; Doughton; Fred Taylor, President of the Worcester Branch of the NAACP; President Vincent Rougeau of the College of the Holy Cross; and music performed by Michal Frimpong.

“The Worcester Black History Trail is a tremendous resource, brought to life through the dedication and commitment of a fantastic cohort,” said Susan Hunt Associate Director at College of the Holy Cross. “The College of the Holy Cross looks forward to contributing to efforts to expand the Trail and sharing this essential history with our community.

More details will be announced as available on the Worcester Black History Trail website and the Worcester Black History Trail Facebook page.

On the same date, markers in the Worcester Black History Trail made public will include:

  • The A.M.E. Zion Church on Belmont Street
  • The Liberty Street and Palmer Street area
  • The Rejoice Newton farmstead at Newton Square
  • The 18th century residence of the Afro-Indian Hemenway family at May Street and Westfield Street

ABOUT THE WORCESTER BLACK HISTORY TRAIL

The Worcester Black History Trail is a collaborative undertaking of the City of Worcester, the College of the Holy Cross, the Worcester Branch NAACP, and the Laurel Clayton Project. The goals of the project are to document and highlight sites important to understanding the history of people of color in Worcester from the colonial period through the 1960s. Beginning with their roles as enslaved people in the colonial period, in their participation in abolitionist struggles in the Civil War through 20th century social justice movements Worcester’s Black people will be seen with a frequently imagined absence.

ABOUT THE WORCESTER BRANCH NAACP

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights on order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, thousands of dedicated members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans. Learn more at https://www.naacpworcester.org/.

ABOUT THE LAUREL CLAYTON PROJECT

The Laurel Clayton Project is a community-based network of Worcester people whose families lived in the old Laurel Clayton or Eastside neighborhoods. Since organization 2019 the project has been involved with several undertakings including the Laurel Clayton/Eastside Westside home coming reunion. In addition to an undertaking project working on a program entitled the old neighborhood as part of an August 2023 event. 

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