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The Heart of the Commonwealth unveiled the makings of a Worcester Black History Trail in 2022, a local commemoration featuring markers highlighting 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 rights movement, 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 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.

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Upcoming event: "The Old Neighborhood" discussion at Worcester Historical Museum

February 22: Join Thomas Doughton for a look into “The Old Neighborhood,” better known to many as the Laurel-Clayton neighborhood, as he discusses a 2024 project with Holy Cross students in partnership with the Worcester Black History Trail. Students work to document life in this area is in partnership with the  Laurel Clayton East Side West Side Homecoming Reunion scheduled for August 2024.