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Black History in the Monadnock Region Website Launches Juneteenth

June 19


BIPOC Monadnock launches Wednesday, June 18, 2024. www.bipocmonadnock.org

Explore a diverse history of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region between the 1730s and 1930s with the launch of a new website, BIPOCMonadnock.org, on June 19.

The Historical Society of Cheshire County (Keene) and Monadnock Center for History and Culture (Peterborough) are ready to share five years of work recovering the stories of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals and families in southwest New Hampshire. “What began as a citizen archivist research initiative to recover Black history in the Monadnock Region will now become accessible to the general public in time for Juneteenth 2024,” announced project co-director Jennifer Carroll.

As nonprofit educational organizations, the Historical Society and Monadnock Center use primary and secondary sources to communicate the history of the region. The documents, photographs, and artifacts preserved in their archives have led to hundreds of talks, workshops, walking tours, exhibits, school resources, and publications that have illuminated the past.

But there are gaps in the region’s historical collections. There are stories missing from local history, memories not preserved. The Recovering Black History in the Monadnock Region project was initiated to address those absences. Over 50 community volunteers, called “citizen archivists,” assisted the museums in collecting and interpreting primary sources related to Africans, African-Americans, and other persons of color who resided in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire between the 1730 and 1930. The citizen archivists researched source materials in local, state, regional, and national repositories.

The resulting BIPOC Monadnock website showcases biographies of individuals and families of color, along with genealogical information and bibliographic sources. “This kind of research is painstaking and time consuming,” said project co-director Michelle Stahl. “The volunteer researchers have put in hundreds of hours and their work made the project possible. It has been amazing to see what the citizen archivists have uncovered so far and we have really just scratched the surface.” The website portion of the project was made possible thanks to support from the Putnam Foundation and C&S Wholesale Grocers.

The Recovering Black History in the Monadnock Region research is ongoing. Specialized teams of historical researchers continue to pore over primary source materials located in museums, town halls, and libraries throughout New England. “I’m very excited about what’s to come,” Carroll explained. “We’re already noticing interesting patterns in our research and we know that our findings are going to add a new dimension to what we thought we knew about Black history in rural New England.”

Carroll and Stahl are looking to the future. “Museums, historical societies and individuals across New England are recovering BIPOC history in their communities,” Stahl noted. “The BIPOC Monadnock website provides an opportunity to share what we know right now in the hopes of creating connections to others doing this work. The most important part of the project will happen when we can pull together our research with the work of others throughout New England. This is just the beginning.”



June 19
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