History Cambridge Presents “Forgotten Souls” Public Celebration
“Forgotten Souls of Tory Row: Remembering the Enslaved People of Brattle Street” will have a public celebration of the installation on Saturday July, 16th, 2022. It is free and open to the public. Highlights will be a pouring of Libation ceremony, readings by Boston based visual and performance artist, Director of Education at the Museum of African American History L'Merchie Frazier and drumming by Teacher, Performing Artist. for Health, Cultural Studies, Drums and Dance Cornell Coley M.Ed.
.Designed by the artists of Black Coral Inc. a non profit focused on reviving ancestral knowledge through the arts and education to improve the planet and combat climate change, “Forgotten Souls of Tory Row: Remembering the Enslaved People of Brattle Street” honors the enslaved adults and children who lived and worked on this land as well as those whose labor on Caribbean plantations helped finance the grand homes of white Tory Row elites.
“Cambridge and slavery are not often paired in the public imagination. Most think of the enslavement of people of African descent as a Southern phenomenon from which the North, particularly New England, was exempt. But slavery was a very real, ever-present institution in Northern colonies and, later, states – including Massachusetts. Recent efforts by academic and public historians to emphasize the role slavery played in the Cambridge area…. History Cambridge has also been engaged in this important work …This summer, we were fortunate to get a grant from Cambridge Arts and the Mass Cultural Council to create a temporary public art installation on the front lawn of our headquarters at159 Brattle St., West Cambridge. Designed by the artists of Black Coral Inc.,...”(Excerpt from Article in Cambridge Day by Beth Folsom)
Tory Row is the nickname historically given by some to the part of Brattle Street in Cambridge ,Massachusetts where many Loyalists had mansions at the time of the American Revolution, and given by others to seven Colonial mansions along Brattle Street. Its historic buildings from the 18th century include the William Brattle House (42 Brattle Street) and the Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site (105 Brattle Street). Samuel Atkins Eliot, writing in 1913 of the seven Colonial mansions making up Tory Row, called the area "not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most historic streets in America."