HONORING ENSLAVED PEOPLE:
When the Hidden Brookline Committee was established in 2006, we posed ourselves two questions:
How can we involve Brookline residents today in thinking about the meaning of slavery in our town's past?
How can we best remember and honor those who had been enslaved here?
We knew that education came first, so that people could wrestle with the meanings of this terrible past.
Our own education as the Hidden Brookline Committee started with research on Brookline slavery: the who, how much, why, with what impact on the individuals - both the enslaved and the slavers. Much of the result of this research is available on this website. (For additional information, contact Barbara Brown)
We shared our research through public talks, exhibits in public places and on local television.
Our next step was to decide what the kind of a public memorial to create - both to educate people today and to honor those who had lived their lives in bondage.
We considered several options, such as a bench outside Town Hall to remember those who did not have the luxury of sitting a while in their lives. We considered a memorial stone in a public place.
Finally, we decided we wanted not just to teach that slavery had existed here but also to connect with those individuals who had been cruelly enslaved. So we chose the Old Burying Ground, where at least 10 enslaved men, women and children were buried.
It was here where we could most directly remember and honor those who had not been honored in their lives.
It was here where we could call their names: Felix, Ben Boston, Venus, Dinah, Boston, Charles, Adam, Hagar, Seco and Kate.
These ten known names stand in for the 70 or so others we also honor but whose burial places are not known to us.