The rich history of Black people, cultures, and communities in Essex County, Massachusetts, runs deep. This history is embedded in the cultural landscape, from cemeteries like the one at South Church in Andover where Pompey Lovejoy rests to renamed memorial parks such as Remond Park in Salem. Some Essex County residents, archivists, historians, and scholars alike have been working to unearth this history and recover fascinating stories in order to provide a fuller account of the county’s past and present. In a span of nearly four hundred years, Black people have shaped and been shaped by Essex County, which this report highlights.
However, real challenges, including the systemic marginalization of Black people, historically and now, have thwarted the efforts of even the most enterprising and well-trained archivists and historians because much of this history is hidden, scattered, or misplaced, sometimes surfacing at a local public exhibition or an academic talk, but not often beyond that. For those wanting to explore and learn more, frustration begets disappointment while trying to hunt down leads. What kinds of material does a repository in Marblehead have? What is in the collections at Lawrence History Center? Are there connections among these repositories in Essex County? These are some of the questions that this report has begun to answer.
National Park Service. African Americans in Essex County: An Annotated Guide. https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/african-americans-in-essex-county.htm