Oral History Collection Event for Black History Project of Lexington – Saturday, February 12, 2022

Join the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington from 10 am to Noon at Lexington Historical Society Archives & Research Center (1332 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington MA)

Everyone has a story. Will you share yours with us?

Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL) and the Lexington Historical Society are teaming up again to document the history of the Black experience in town. Our inaugural event was in 2020.

Collecting oral histories, photographs, documents, and artifacts will help historians build a clear and complete picture of Lexington’s multiracial history.

On February 12th, we will be collecting stories and scanning photographs at the Archives and Research Center at Munroe Tavern.

If you or someone you know is interested in contributing to this project, please contact the ABCL Historian at historian@abclex.org to schedule an appointment.

All participants must provide proof of vaccination prior to having their appointment confirmed.

Only those with appointments will be allowed into the building during the event.

Black History Month Book Talk with Cary Library – Wednesday, February 9, 2021 at 7 pm

A Black Intellectual’s Odyssey: From a Pennsylvania Milltown to the Ivy League by Martin Kilson, PhD

Register at https://carylibrary.assabetinteractive.com/calendar/a-blacks-intellectuals-odyssey-a-memoir/

Guest Speaker – Marion Kilson
Moderator – Marc Saint Louis

Martin Kilson was an American political scientist and, in 1969, he became the first black academic to be appointed a full professor at Harvard University. In A Black Intellectual’s Odyssey, Kilson takes readers on a fascinating journey from his upbringing in the small Pennsylvania mill town of Ambler and the racist margins of twentieth-century America to one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. Join Marion Kilson and Mark St. Louis, for a deep dive into the life and accomplishments of the late Martin Kilson.

In 1969, Martin Kilson became the first tenured African American professor at Harvard University, where he taught African and African American politics for over thirty years. Dr. Kilson was buried in Westview Cemetery in 2019, https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/5/1/martin-kilson-obituary/

Lift Every Voice with Songs of Freedom & Justice – MLK Day at the Library – Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 1 pm

Join the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington and Cary Library on Saturday, January 15, 2022 for a unique look into the songs that inspired marchers during the Civil Rights Movement.

Here is a poster to download and share.

Click the picture to register

Aniece Kerr, Lexington resident and active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, will share a brief history of each song and their significance to the movement. The songs will be performed by Candice R. Henry, Nellie R. Henry, Gwendolyn Kerr, and Stephen Kerr.
Advance registration is required. Sign up online at https://www.carylibrary.org/programs

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.