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Black Monuments Project Imagines Honor for 19th Century Portsmouth School Founder


In recognition of Black History Month, website Mic.com launched what it’s calling the Black Monuments Project, which imagines new memorials for African American heroes in every state.


New Hampshire’s entry is Dinah Whipple, who’s credited with opening the first school for African American children in New Hampshire.


Historian Valerie Cunningham is an expert on Whipple and a founder of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire. She got the call from Black Monuments Project organizers.


“I was very pleased to have an opportunity to talk about Dinah,” Cunningham said.  


Cunningham said not enough is known about Whipple, who was a freed slave in Portsmouth and started her school in the early 1800s. But we do know she frequented her local library. “And they kept good records,” said Cunningham, “so we can go to the North Church Library and see what books Dinah checked out of the North Church Library.”


Mic’s other imagined monuments include musician Prince in Minnesota and science fiction author Octavia Butler in California.  

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