Concord's African & Abolitionist History

Drinking Gourd logo

Visiting in late summer from the USA was Cornishwoman and Hypatia-member Polly Attwood (the granddaughter of a former Vicar of Sennen), to inform and up-date us on the remarkable Drinking Gourd Project. Visiting in late summer from the USA was Cornishwoman and Hypatia-member Polly Attwood (the granddaughter of a former Vicar of Sennen), to inform and up-date us on the remarkable Drinking Gourd Project. Directly due to her work with the Human Rights Council of Concord, Massachusetts, and her curatorship of the Hypatia Collection of the Writings of Minority Women, Polly's shared initiatives with the historic town of Concord, has resulted in the establishment of a newly-formed Concord-based nonprofit organisation. It focuses on raising awareness of Concord's African and Abolitionist history from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Their mission "is to shine a light on this history and make it even more accessible to residents and visitors in a way that will add a new layer to our understanding of our past and a deeper appreciation for the complexity of Concord and its role in creating a diverse America."

The project will be accomplished with educational programmes, maps and tours, story-telling sessions & oral history projects, commemorating early African and African-American home sites with stone benches, providing engraved headstones for unmarked graves of African Americans and Abolitionists, and working closely with schools, museums, town agencies and organisations to raise the necessary funds to provide the educational information and materials.

This is just the kind of model project for which Hypatia exists to support and with which to give and take inspiration. Congratulations Polly to you and all your Concord colleagues for working positively and constructively with history, heritage, appreciation and intelligence.

*The Drinking Gourd is another name for the Big and Little Dippers. The North Star pointed out by these constellations was a guiding light for travellers heading North to freedom on the Underground Railroad.