“Rise,” by Daniel P.B. Smith (2005) Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan Square, Mattapan, MA
For most of the early twentieth century, Mattapan was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood at the southern edge of Dorchester. During the late 1960s and 1970s, due in part to Boston Banks Urban Renewal Group (B-BURG), redlining and blockbusting led to white flight from the area. Mattapan’s black community grew during the 1970s, and since the 1980s, Mattapan has been home to an increasingly ethnically diverse black community, including especially immigrants from Haiti and the Caribbean. This 2005 sculpture, designed by former Mattapan residents and cousins Fern Cunningham and Karen Eutemey, serves as a gateway to Mattapan. The pair of nineteen foot statues celebrate the diverse history of Mattapan, including its Native American (Mattahunt), Jewish, German, Irish, African-American and Caribbean origins.
Boston City Hall and Election of Council Member Ayanna Pressley
1 City Hall Sq., Boston, MA
In 2009, Ayanna Pressley (b. 1974) was elected the first woman of color to serve on the Boston City Council. A native of Chicago, Pressley attended Boston University. Her career in Massachusetts politics includes her work as senior aide for U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II and U.S. Senator John Kerry. In 2018, Pressley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District.
I-93 Black Lives Matter Protest
I-93 North and South, Medford and Milton, MA
On January 15, 2015, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, activists in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement coordinated demonstrations on Interstate 93 in Medford and Milton. The protest responded to police killings of unarmed black people in Missouri and New York. Demonstrations coincided with the morning commute into Boston from Massachusetts' southern and northern suburbs. In a statement to the press, organizers stressed their solidarity with organizers in Ferguson, Missouri, stating, “We are a diverse group of LGBTQA, pan-Asian, and Latin@ people acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, both locally and nationally.”
Porter Square Student Protests
“Tufts Students Join Nationwide Movement Against Campus Racism,” Tufts Daily, 2015 Massachusetts and Somerville Aves., Cambridge, MA
In November 2015, students from Tufts and Harvard staged a major public protest in solidarity with the national Movement for Black Lives. After concluding separate rallies at their respective campuses — the Science Center Plaza at Harvard, and a campus-wide walk out at Tufts — students joined together to demonstrate against racism on and off campus, and to demand greater student and faculty representation, among other concerns.
Massachusetts State House and Election of Governor Deval Patrick
Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts State House, WBUR, 2015 Beacon St., Boston, MA
In 2006, Deval Patrick (b. 1956) was elected Governor of Massachusetts. As the first African American elected to the governorship of the Commonwealth, and one of the only popularly elected black governors since Reconstruction, Patrick was born in Chicago, attended Massachusetts’ Milton Academy, Harvard College, and Harvard Law School, and served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton (1994 - 1997). As Governor, Patrick oversaw the implementation of Massachusetts’ healthcare reform legislation when the State became the first in the country to mandate universal healthcare for its citizens. This law became the basis for the Federal Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010.