Black History Month in Salem, Massachusetts

February is Black History Month, and we’re sharing a walking tour that focuses exclusively on Salem’s black heritage.

Voices Against Injustice 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.

Salem Abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond

Sarah Parker Remond

Stops on the tour include 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.

The tour continues 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.

Salem's Black Heritage Tour

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 also includes 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.