New Bedford Historical Society Launches Black History Trail

Photo: Courtesy of New Bedford Historical Society

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The New Bedford Historical Society is shining a spotlight on Black landmarks around the famous whaling city.

The society has launched an immersive Black History Trail as part of Black History Month, NBHS announced Monday.

People can walk the trail in person or virtually to "explore, learn, and celebrate highlighted historical places, statues, murals, and homes that all have a large part in the Black history of New Bedford," the society said.

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The trail starts at the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Plaza at William Street and Acushnet Avenue. It is the site of the local recruitment station for the first regiment of color commissioned in the north during the American Civil War.

Next at Purchase and William streets is a plaque commemorating the old site of Liberty Hall, which had a bell that was used to warn runaway slaves that U.S. Marshals were approaching.

A few steps down the road on Pleasant Street is a statue celebrating Lewis Temple, a blacksmith and former slave who was elected vice president of the antislavery New Bedford Union Society. Temple invented the toggle iron, a harpoon that improved the efficiency of whale hunting.

From there, the trail includes the Nathan and Polly Johnson House, the New Bedford Chapter of the NAACP, Elizabeth Carter Brooks Elementary School, and dozens of other landmarks.

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