Black Spaces Exist: New Bedford’s Historical Society  are celebrating abolition row

By Staff Writer Tamendy Raymond.

Come and join the Historical Society’s exhibit that will be held on January 30, 2019. The location of the gallery will be at the UMass Dartmouth Art Gallery, Star Store campus, and the address is listed below. The exhibit showcases the residences of African American historical figures and abolitionist through 3-D printed models, art illustrations and more.

Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783, almost a century before the Thirteenth Amendment. However, federal law supporting slave owners obsoleted the law and there were cases of slaves being “reclaimed” from Massachusetts in the years that followed. A strong network of abolitionists, both black and white, gave New Bedford its claim to fame that no slave was ever forcibly “reclaimed” from it.
“There were at least seven-hundred fugitive slaves who came to New Bedford on the underground railroad. Now what we are going to do is create a park, a place where people can come and understand the importance of the abolitionist movement,” states President Lee Blake of New Bedford’s Historical Society.
New Bedford’s architecture reflects and demonstrates the racial equality in the city of important historical figures, such as Fredrick Douglass, William Rotch Jr. and Lewis Temple just to name a few.
Through an exhibit, New Bedford experts alongside students and faculty from UMass Dartmouth [will] “reveal a lesser known progressive interracial neighborhood in the United States.”
We have seen the expansion and growing conversations about race, through this exhibit that will showcase the abolitionist neighborhood.
This tour celebrates New Bedford’s Abolition Row which includes a “virtual neighborhood tours, documentaries films, 3-D printed models, illustration from various artists, student projects, historical maps and photographs.”
Exploring the architects and aesthetics of an abolitionist neighborhood focuses on Nathan and Mary Johnson’s homes and other surrounding neighborhoods. We’ve seen scholars focused mostly on the negative side of such environments, lacking an in-depth exploration of the form and function of interracial neighborhoods. It removes the negative perception and creates a growing discussion for racial tolerance.
President of the New Bedford Historical Society, Lee Blake states, “we’re telling a story that has been buried so now as a city New Bedford can focus on the history where black people and white people and other people of color came together to change unjust laws; it becomes a way for us to move forward on the past but also to create these new opportunities for people to think about how you change things in the future.”
These individuals are taking a stance against racism and preserving historical monuments and sights in order to save places that have residence to people of color.
Grab your friends and come visit the exhibit at the following address: They would love to have and see you there!

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