The Freedom Trail is a historical marker in US History, yet feels quite removed from the freedoms of Black and brown communities that laid down those same bricks all those years ago. Little do most Bostonians know, a different trail exists and veers from the same meeting point as the Freedom Trails. It is the trail of Black Heritage in this city and tells the stories of unsung heroes and pains of our most disenfranchised communities.
The buildings along today's Black Heritage Trail were the homes, businesses, schools, and churches of a thriving black community that organized, from the nation's earliest years, to sustain those who faced local discrimination and national slavery, struggling toward the equality and freedom promised in America's documents of national liberty. The Black Heritage Trail passes by 5 Pre-Civil War Structures and 10 Historic sites, of which include the 1805 African Meeting House, the oldest surviving black church in the United States.
The path these markers exist on has little to no demarcation or is indicative of its important history. Students in this studio, will create interventions that tell the story of this trail, understand its past and bring to light present-day design interventions as a means to
“preserve a vital, but long-neglected, part of American heritage; the history and culture of Americans of African ancestry and their role in the history of our nation.” MLK JR.
Students in this studio will visit the Black Heritage Trail and African American History Museum in Beacon Hill, recreate the map through engaging visualizations and storytelling, as well as engage in action-oriented research that pulls from contemporary black artists that they will bring into their work. The Studio projects will culminate in a collection of proposals for new methods of wayfinding, an understood and necessary path of the trail, as well as scaled interventions as a means for tourists and pedestrians of beacon hill to truly understand the history of this site through the lens of Black History and through the inspiration of contemporary black artists.