What is history? And who gets to tell it? What stories are validated? Why? Within traditional frameworks of educational systems and institutions, history is viewed as past events that have been thoroughly documented, and validated through research and primary or secondary sources. Much of the history of the city of Holyoke has been white-washed, focusing on the narratives of city’s founders, white-factory-owning-men and European immigrant communities, and their cultural industrial contributions to the city. More recently, stories of Puerto Rican migration and Puerto Rican culture and community have been shared and documented. The inclusion of these stories has helped to broaden the conversation about the city’s diverse communities. However, the history of the Black community here in Holyoke has been obscured and often times excluded from the larger narrative. With the support of members of the Black community in Holyoke, Wistariahurst Museum and grants from MassHumanities, Erika Slocumb embarked on a journey of uncovering and documenting the history of Black Holyoke through Black perspectives.
Join us in welcoming Erika Slocumb as she shares more about the history of Holyoke’s Black community through oral histories, archival digs, and readings of historical texts and documents.