Black History Month in Salem, Massachusetts
February is Black History Month, and we’re sharing two walking tours that focus exclusively on Salem’s black heritage.
Pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure for Salem’s African American Heritage Sites from the Salem Regional Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street. (You can also view and print the tour online here.)
Following the tour to Hamilton Hall on Chestnut Street, where Curacao immigrant John Remond ran a successful catering business in the early 19th century. Remond was a successful local businessman whose catering business was responsible for planning important events like Salem’s 200th anniversary and a dinner for President Andrew Jackson. Today, Hamilton Hall continues Remond’s legacy by hosting social events each year including weddings, catered dinners, themed balls, lectures, and more.
Continue to Harmony Grove Cemetery, where John Remond and members of the Remond family are buried. From here, learn about Remond’s children, Charles and Sarah, who became known for their activism during Salem’s abolitionist movement in the mid-19th century.
The two traveled throughout the U.S., Ireland, Scotland, and England where Sarah stayed during the Civil War to convince British Parliament to offer no assistance to the Confederacy. Following the war, she stayed in Europe and moved to Florence, Italy, where she became a physician.
Charles was selected by the American Antislavery Society to work as a representative at a world convention in London, where he also continued to travel from speaking about the importance of the abolitionist movement. His work was supported by abolitionists in Salem as well as William Lloyd Garrison. During the Civil War, Charles worked as a recruiter for the Massachusetts 54th Regiment.
The tour continues to include stops at Lyceum Hall, which was home to the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, Pond Street and Rice Street, where the homes of many African American sailors and merchants are located, and Cedar Street, whose residents have included a number of volunteers in the Massachusetts 54th Regiment as well as Regiment Captain Luis Emilio.
Prefer an audio tour instead? The Salem Award Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice sponsors an audio tour that you can download (for free) on your smartphone. Download the UniGuide mobile app and select “Salem’s Black Heritage” to visit 24 stops around town associated with Salem’s black history. This tour covers historical figures and events from the role of Tituba in the Salem Witch Trials to the success of contemporary author Stephen Hemingway.
Be sure to keep the UniGuide app after your tour, as additional Salem tours, as well as tours for sites around the country, may be found on the app.