Black History

BHM 2017 - Jessie Redmon Fauset

A huge part of what we do here at Lynnfield is uncovering people that have fallen to the wayside in historical records. History is not as unchanging as you may think.  Finding new stories and new interpretations of old stories keeps things fresh. One Harlem Renaissance writer is a perfect example of this idea.

Many of us read Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school. She was integral to the Harlem Renaissance, but she was not the only woman to contribute her literary talents to the movement. Jessie Redmon Fauset was another talented writer of this era. The New Yorker recently published a piece on her work. Read it for some perspective on some of the issues prevalent in the lives of Harlem Renaissance writers and activists.

Further Reading

In the meantime, Lynnfield wishes you a Happy Black History Month! We have just a week to go. We hope you've learned some new things during the last few weeks.


BHM 2017 - Freedom Colonies


We are nearing the halfway point of Black History Month 2017. I've had a few questions from people who are interested in genealogy based in historically Black communities. This is a fascinating topic! In recent years, we have seen several archeological discoveries that have taught us more about Black communities of the nineteenth century, called freedom colonies.

Freedom colonies were located across the country. Some, like Nicodemus, Kansas, were positioned outside white communities, and were completely self-sufficient towns. Others were sizeable neighborhoods within larger cities, like Seneca Village in NYC.

If you are in Texas, you might want to read Thad Sitton's and James Conrad's Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow. It is a good starting place for anyone interested in Texas family histories, regardless of race.

If you have ancestors who lived in a freedom colony, this may be a great advantage for your genealogical research. Many of these communities now have a centralized historic society or records maintained by public parks or libraries. Contact Lynnfield if you need assistance getting started, or if you've hit a wall in your research. We are here to help!