Quock Walker Day Community Celebration – Thursday, July 8, 2021

Join the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington on Thursday, July 8, 2021, for the 1st Annual Quock Walker Day aka Massachusetts Emancipation Day Community Celebration.

This virtual event begins at 7 pm.

To join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:

Please click this URL to join. https://zoom.us/j/98698920920?pwd=NzMwN0hHWTNuV2lNbkpITkdqM2VRdz09

Passcode: 757211

Quock Walker Day celebrates the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision of July 8, 1783, that found a White enslaver guilty of assault on Quock Walker, a freedom seeking Black man, and agreed with Chief Justice Cushing that the ideas of slavery and perpetual servitude were incompatible with the state constitution.

On June 15, 1780, the Constitution of the Commonwealth was ratified by the voters of Massachusetts. The first article stated, “All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”

The Quock Walker trials span from 1781 to 1783. In 1781 Quock Walker, a young man from Barre, MA and of Akan and/or Ewe lineage, filed a civil suit against Nathaniel Jennison for assault and battery.  Mr. Walker was found by the jury to be free and was awarded 50 pounds. Following appeals and a criminal case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found Jennison guilty of assault and agreed that the ideas of slavery and perpetual servitude were incompatible with the state constitution. Mr. Walker’s fight through the legal system to safeguard his natural freedom ended up ending slavery in Massachusetts.

This year ABCL will host a multi-speaker presentation about the history of slavery in Massachusetts and the life and legacy of Quock Walker. Come and learn about the Akan people of Ghana and the movement to officially recognize Massachusetts Emancipation Day.

Featured topics and speakers include:

  • Why Quock Walker Day – Phillip James, History Department Coordinator, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
  • Agency and Quock Walker’s Journey to Freedom (How Entrepreneurship and Hutzpah Allowed Quock Walker and his Siblings to Escape the Condition of No Longer Enslaved but Still Not Free) – Zine Magubane, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Boston College
  • The Language of the Massachusetts Constitution and the Quock Walker Cases of 1781 to 1783 – Robert Bellinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Suffolk University
  • The Akan Diaspora in Massachusetts – Kerima Lewis, Ph.D., Affiliated Faculty, Emerson College
  • Ongoing Akan & Ewe Ethnic Group Connections to Massachusetts – Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ph.D., Ambassador of Ghana to the United States of America
  • Traditional Akan & Ewe Ethnic Group Leadership – Osabarima Owusu Baafi Aboagye III, Chief of Akyem Dwenase, Akyem Abuakwa State, Ghana and appointed member to the Judicial Committee of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council in Ghana
  • Visiting the Quock Walker Family Historical Sites – Leslie P. Choquette, Ph.D., Professor of History, Assumption College
  • Next Steps to Making Quock Walker Day Legislation Law – Cindy F. Friedman, State Senator of 4th Middlesex

Hosted by the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, co-sponsored by Lexington Historical Society and Five Fields Real Estate – COMPASS.

Quock Walker Day Hike for Freedom – Saturday, July 10, 2021 8:00 AM – “RAIN or SHINE”

On Saturday, July 10, 2021, the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL) is hosting the first annual Quock Walker Day Hike for Freedom.  This intergenerational event is an opportunity for Lexington residents and other friends of liberty to celebrate Massachusetts Emancipation Day while enjoying the sites along ACROSS Lexington Route M.  ACROSS Lexington Route M is an approximately 3.3-mile looped trail. The event will start at 8 am at Bowman Elementary School, 9 Philip Rd, Lexington, MA 02421

Quock Walker Day (also known as Massachusetts Emancipation Day) celebrates a historic court case won in 1783 by Quock Walker, a self-emancipated man who sued his enslaver for assault and battery. In winning the case, Chief Justice William Cushing not only granted Walker compensation, but also the assurance that slavery was incompatible with the state constitution.

Participants may register online and in person between 7:30 and 9 am on July 10.  We encourage participants to register online by July 6, 2021, to guarantee receipt of a commemorative t-shirt.

ACROSS Lexington, a project of the Greenways Corridor Committee, is a network of marked trails and paths for walkers, runners, and trail bikers.  ABCL requests that participants practice “leave no trace” ethics by leaving the land in equal or better condition than you found it.  Participants are requested to remove and properly dispose of any waste that you generate.

Participants are responsible for bringing and using activity-appropriate equipment, (insect repellant, proper footwear, sufficient water, etc.), and for carrying the proper clothing (hat, rain gear, etc.).  Ticks and mosquitoes may be encountered along the trail.

Participants will have an opportunity to take a picture with the Quock Walker banner which is part of the Black History Project of Lexington.  Please upload photos of your experiences during Quock Walker Day Hike for Freedom on social media, #QWDHike4Freedom.

The Quock Walker Day Hike for Freedom is sponsored by Five Fields Real Estate – COMPASS. 

The Life and Times of Art Blakey: The Message Lives On – Thursday, April 29, 2021 7:00 PM

The Association of Black Citizens Lexington (ABCL) is celebrating the Life and Times of legendary jazz musician Art Blakey, one of the world’s most influential and prolific Black artists, with a virtual fundraising event. Art Blakey recorded over 400 records and was a respected mentor who was known to nurture artists and allow them the opportunity and space to grow and come into their own artistry.

We are honored to have Yawu Miller, editor of the Bay State Banner and nephew of the late great Art Blakey, moderate the conversation between Bill Pierce and John Ramsay.  Both Mr. Pierce and Mr. Ramsay played with Mr. Blakey.  Mr. Pierce has been a featured saxophonist at major international jazz festivals and is a former Woodwind Department Chair for the Berklee College of Music. Mr. Ramsay, a Lexington resident, is a former Percussion Department Chair for the Berklee College of Music. Mr. Ramsay is a drummer, recording artist, author, educator and a famous clinician who wrote Art Blakey’s Jazz Messages. The book is an insider’s view of Art Blakey’s unique drumming style and a “must have” for jazz drummers and all jazz musicians.

Click here to Purchase Tickets at eventbrite or enter the following URL https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-life-and-times-of-art-blakey-the-message-lives-on-tickets-148251390901

The Turner 15 Challenge – February 10th update

This challenge seeks 15 Donors of $500 or more in honor of the Turner Family of Grafton, Vermont and their Lexington, Massachusetts Descendants. A Turner descendant has lived in Lexington since the turn of the 20th century.  Read more about the Turner family here, Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga.

Thanks to our Turner 15 Challenge Donors and to all of our donors to date we have surpassed our fundraising goal of $25,000. See below the Turner 15 Challenge Donors list as of February 10, 2021.

Think Black: A Memoir – Cary Library Event – Feb 6, 2021

Author of ‘Think Black: A Memoir’: Clyde Ford
Saturday, February 6 @ 1:00 PM 

Meet Clyde Ford, author of ‘Think Black: A Memoir’ at 1:00 PM at Cary Memorial Library.

More on Think Black: A Memoir

Seattle Times column, July 28
Library Journal reviewed THINK BLACK and gave it a thumbs-up
Kirkus Review issued their highest rating for THINK BLACK
Publisher’s Weekly also issued their highest rating for the book
A podcast of the author being interviewed by editor Tracy Sherrod at the American Library Assn. annual convention in DC in June

You’re Invited to The Mountaintop – February 6 – 8, 2021

Reserve your access pass here https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/45420

The Mountaintop is a play by African American playwright Katori Hall. It is a fictional depiction of events the night before the assassination of the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Dr. King retires to his motel room where an encounter with a maid causes him to reflect on his mission and purpose. The play is set in 1968, Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.
Streaming run time: 90 minutes, no intermission.
Contains Adult Language.
**Ticket proceeds tonight are shared with The Association of Black Citizens of Lexington for continued programming and The Lexington Players!**

The Turner 15 Challenge – December 16th update

This challenge seeks 15 Donors of $500 or more in honor of the Turner Family of Grafton, Vermont and their Lexington, Massachusetts Descendants. A Turner descendant has lived in Lexington since the turn of the 20th century.  Read more about the Turner family here, Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga.

Thanks to our Turner 15 Challenge Donors and to all of our donors to date we have surpassed our fundraising goal of $25,000. See below the Turner 15 Challenge Donors list as of December 12, 2020.

Donate with a direct payment via PayPal or credit card https://www.abclex.org/donate-to-the-black-history-project-of-lexington/

Black History Project of Lexington – Update

Because of you we have exceeded our fundraising goal of $25,000!  Writing on behalf of the Black History Project of Lexington fundraising team, we are grateful for your generous and heartfelt support. 

  • ABCL’s Black History Portrait Banners
    • The portrait banners are scheduled to be displayed in Lexington Center from Thursday, January 14, 2021 through Monday, March 1, 2021, and then displayed annually.
    • The portrait banner biographies are scheduled to be available at www.abclex.org by January 14, 2021.
  • The Oral and Visual History Project of Lexingtonians of African Descent
    • The Period of Emphasis for February 2021 is 1960 to Present.
    • To schedule a donation contact us at admin@ablex.org.
  • ABCL’s Lexington Black Heritage Trail
    • According to scholars, cousins Eli and Silas Burdoo and Prince Estabrook fought on April 19, 1775.  We will honor these Black Lexingtonians with our first set of historical markers.
    • Additional monuments and markers commemorating the lives and histories of Black people in Lexington from the 18th century to the present will be installed.