Nashua Church To Rename Chapel To Honor Black Leaders

Sep 22, 2018

Rev. Jeffrey Campbell and Marguerite Campbell Davis
Credit Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua renamed its chapel in honor of two Black church leaders on Saturday.

The re-named Campbell Chapel will honor the lives of Marguerite Campbell Davis and her brother Rev. Jeffrey Campbell. Rev. Campbell became a minister in 1935 and Davis served on church staff until the 1980s.

In 2017, a church study group found out that the two siblings were buried in unmarked graves in Edgewood Cemetery. The current minister, Rev. Allison Palm, said this reflected discrimination the two faced from the church.

"When we found out that they were in this unmarked grave, it felt like it was just one more way that their stories were being erased," she said.

Palm said the event is part of a larger effort to decenter whiteness in the Unitarian Universalist Church.

"One of the things we often say about New Hampshire is that it's a really white state, and even that to me feels like it's erasing the experiences of people of color who live in our state," she said.

Another church, the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plymouth, has hosted discussions on racial inclusiveness and recently voted to raise a Black Lives Matter banner on the church starting in October.

The Nashua church held a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on Saturday, beginning with a graveside dedication at Edgewood Cemetery followed by a service. Representatives from the NAACP's Nashua branch and the New Hampshire Heritage Trail were in attendance, along with one of Rev. Campbell's daughters.