Photo: Professor Tom Doughton sourced from news.holycross.edu
The Heart of the Commonwealth officially unveiled the makings of a Worcester Black History Trail in 2022, a local commemoration featuring five markers to highlight locations of significance in the city’s Black history. The Trail aims to honor the legacy of Black people in Worcester and preserve that for centuries to come. From the colonial era to the civil right movement, various markers include:
- The 19th Century Community around John Street
- The A.M.E. Zion Church on Belmont Street
- The Liberty and Palmer Street Area
- The Rejoice Newton Farmstead of Newton Square
- The 18th Century Residence of the Afro-Indian Hemenway Family at Mary and Westfield Streets
These markers have been 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. The five formally marked locations will grow to nearly 30 as the Black History Trail committee continues to establish the trail.
Thomas L. Doughton is a Senior Lecturer at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he has taught for 20 years. In scholarship and instructing undergraduates and adult learners, he has specialized in the Holocaust, comparative genocide, Native American studies, local history, and African American history as well as seminars like “Global African Diaspora” and “African Experience in Europe.” A longtime former resident of Paris, Professor Doughton did graduate work at the University of Paris completing an advanced degree with a dissertation on the relationship of the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre and the emergence of post-colonial discourse in Black Africa. On alternate years he has been taking Holy Cross students abroad for a 6-week summer course entitled “History, Memory and the Holocaust in Central Europe” studying and traveling in Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany. He has also led tours on New England’s African American history for adults.
Photo: sourced from patch.com
Several events this month take extra pause in highlighting the trail, including:
February 11: Worcester's Black History Trail with Thomas Doughton at Worcester Public Library
Event details: Thomas Doughton discussed Worcester’s Black History Trail with local interest, an ongoing collaborative undertaking of the City of Worcester, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Branch NAACP and the Laurel Clayton Project. The goals of the project are to document and highlight historical sites important to understanding the experience of people of color in Worcester from the colonial period through the present by the placement of history markers and digital dissemination of a Worcester Black History Trail.
February 22: Worcester's Black History Trail at Worcester Historical Museum
Event details: Join the Worcester Country Bar Association CARE Committee for a night of education and vibrant discussion on local black history. Join Thomas Doughton and fellow creators for an in-person live experience of the Worcester’s Black History Trail. The Trail highlights historical sites important to understanding the experience of people of color in Worcester from the colonial period through the present. Worcester’s Black History Trail is an ongoing collaborative undertaking of the City of Worcester, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Branch NAACP, and the Laurel Clayton Project. This event will take place in the Fletcher Auditorium at Worcester Historical Museum.