About the

African American Trail Project


The African American Trail Project is a collaborative public history initiative housed at Tufts University. Originally inspired by the scholarship of Tufts Professor Gerald R. Gill (1948-2007) and driven by faculty and student research, this project maps African American and African-descended public history sites across greater Boston, and throughout Massachusetts. The African American Trail Project aims to develop African American historical memory and intergenerational community, placing present-day struggles for racial justice in the context of greater Boston’s historic African American, Black Native, and diasporic communities.

Under the leadership of Tufts’ Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, this project builds upon the work of many people and institutions, including: Tufts DataLab, Tufts Digital Collections & Archives, Tufts Consortium for Race, Colonialism & Diaspora, Tufts Africana Center, Tufts Africana Studies, Tufts Department of History, and the Gerald Gill Papers; Dean Bernard Harleston, Professor Gerald Gill, and Professor Vévé Clark; Professor Rosalind Shaw and the West Medford African American Remembrance Project; Mindy Nierenberg, Barbara Rubel, and Tisch College,” A Legacy to Remember”; Mr. Anthony Lowe; the Diversity Fund at Tufts University, the Office of the Provost, the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life; and the Tufts University Alumni Association.

Key community partners include the Museum of African American History, Boston & Nantucket, Royall House & Slave Quarters, West Medford Community Center, Robbins House, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The project currently documents over 200 sites across greater Boston and Massachusetts. For a copy of the paper map, or to be placed on our mailing list, please email the CSRD.

Further Reading

Catherine Adams and Elizabeth Pleck, Love of Freedom: Black Women in Colonial and Revolutionary New England (2010)

Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood, Race Over Party: Black Politics and Partisanship in Late Nineteenth Century Boston (2018)

Adelaide M. Cromwell, The Other Brahmins: Boston’s Black Upper Class1750 – 1950 (1995)

Franklin A. Dorman, ed. Twenty Families of Color in Massachusetts, 1742 – 1998 (1998)

Marilyn Halter, Between Race and Ethnicity: Cape Verdean American Immigrants 1860 - 1965 (1993)

Marilyn Halter and Violet Showers Johnson, African & American:West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America (2014)

Jared Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (2017)

James Horton, Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North 1750 – 1950 (2000)

James O. and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community,and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks 1700 – 1860 (1998)

James Jennings et al., “The State of Black Boston: A Select Demographic Profile” (2010)

Violet Showers Johnson, The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston 1900 - 1950 (2010)

Daniel R. Mandel, Tribe, Race, History: Native Americans in Southern New England 1780 - 1880 (2010)

Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and“Race” in New England 1780 - 1860 (2000)

Stephen Kantrowitz, More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic 1829 - 1889 (2013)

Jason Sokol, All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics From Boston to Brooklyn (2014)

Wendy Warren, New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America (2016)

Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (2013)

Click here to see our selected sites