Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

Courtesy photos

New Hampshire remains one of the least racially diverse states in the country, but that diversity is growing. Wednesday on The Exchange, we reflect on Black History Month and talk with leaders of color in the Granite State. We'll discuss the work they're doing in the Statehouse and in local communities, and about where New Hampshire still lags in equality and representation.

 Air date: Feb. 26, 2020.         

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The town of Warner will be the site of a new tour on Sunday as part of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire.

The tour will highlight the lives of black families and individuals, including Anthony Clark, a musician and dance master; and James Haskell, a veteran of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment.

JerriAnne Boggis is the director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire. She says it’s important to bring individuals from town history to life.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Last fall, a Dover High School teacher was placed on leave after a class assignment on the Reconstruction Period led to students singing about the Ku Klux Klan to the tune of Jingle Bells.

The incident led to discussions within the Dover School District and other local school communities about better equipping teachers on how they talk about the histories of persons of color in their classrooms.

And as students begin a new school year, typical New Hampshire classrooms will be filled with a majority of white students taught by mostly white teachers.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire has a new home in Portsmouth, and plans to expand statewide.

Dozens of people packed into the two-year-old nonprofit's new offices, in a historic downtown house near Strawbery Banke, for a blessing ceremony Wednesday.

Inside, retired Rev. Robert Thompson and other clergy led songs and dedications in front of shelves of books and cultural artifacts about African-American history. 

Courtesy, Photo by Leslie Tryon

The University of New Hampshire is hosting the 12th Annual Black New England Conference this weekend. This year, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Citizen of the Year Award goes to 95-year-old artist and writer Ashley Bryan.

“I'm always touched by such awards and hope that I'm worthy of them. There's so many wonderful people doing excellent work and my work is so modest in comparison,” Bryan said.

Courtesy BHTNH

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire purchased a property this week which will become its new home in Porstmouth.


Part of the group's mission is to share New Hampshire's African-American history.


Executive Director JerriAnne Boggis says the new headquarters will be an anchor for statewide educational tours.