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Black Holyoke Uncovered: Archival Leads Collection Session

Black Holyoke Uncovered: Archival Leads Collection Session

Saturday February 24, 2018 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

With initial funding from Mass Humanities, Wistariahurst has embarked upon a community history project in conjunction with scholar Erika Slocumb titled Black Holyoke: Uncovering the History of the Black Community in the Paper City. The purpose of this project is to uncover the stories of the black community in Holyoke, from the time the area was settled in 18th Century to the present. We will work to uncover the problems, the joys, the pain, and the struggles black people in Holyoke faced in their daily lives.

Do you have documents or memories pertaining to the black community in Holyoke? We’re interested in any leads on names of individuals, collections of materials, documents, photographs, letters, diaries and personal memories. On this day we will be here to take notes, scan documents, and listen to your ideas and memories.

At this, our first, collection day we are particularly interested in documents, records, memories, and photographs pertaining to the following:

* Specific families or notable individuals in Holyoke
* Black-owned businesses in Holyoke
* Housing/neighborhoods (information pertaining to what parts of Holyoke were significant to the Black communities here)
* Education (especially information related to elementary and middle schools)
* Health
* Labor (unions and other worker organizations)
* Community organizations (the Monarch Club, NAACP, Urban League, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, etc.)
* Community and school sports teams (boxing, baseball leagues, etc)

Since December of 2017, Slocumb, along with a team of Wistariahurst volunteers and interns, has been researching and indexing existing content in our archives related to Black Holyoke thanks to a Research Inventory Grant from Mass Humanities. As we secure a better understanding of the material which already exists in our local repositories, we are now embarking upon a call to community members to add their own knowledge and material to that historical record.

If you plan on attending the session or you have information but are unable to attend, please fill out this form so that we can plan your visit or follow up as needed: Click here to fill out interest form.

This project is being headed up by Erika Slocumb, a native of Springfield, MA. She is a mother, an artist, scholar, community organizer, world traveler and an advocate for social justice. She is the co-founder of the community organization the Western Mass Women’s Collective and continues to do work in the Western Mass area. She has received her B.A. in Social Justice Education, a MS in Labor Studies, and is currently working toward her PhD in African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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