NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 27, 2010

Celebrating heritage

NEWBURYPORT — In a city where residents celebrate the past whenever opportunity arises, there's little question that local history will be a big part of this week's Yankee Homecoming.

The summer festival, after all, is a celebration of everything Newburyport.

About a dozen people turned out yesterday morning to take a heritage walking tour with local historian Ghlee Woodworth to learn about the African-Americans in the Newburyport 1800s and the city's abolitionist movement. The tours are ongoing all week during Yankee Homecoming.

Throughout the 11/2-hour tour, the group learned about key figures who called the Port City home in the 1800s, from the wealthy real estate mogul Moses Brown and his Brown Square property, to Dr. Luther Dimmick, who served as a reverend at North Church for 41 years.

She told of the time Dimmick invited William Lloyd Garrison to speak to the congregation about slavery. The townspeople didn't want him to speak for a second day and ran him out of town. He returned to Boston where he began working on the first issue of The Liberator, Woodworth says.

She explained the city's role in the Underground Railroad, touching on the subject of the "underground tunnels" around the city. Little is known of their purpose, Woodworth said. Were they used to help slaves escape or for rum runs, or to store items following the two devastating fires in the town?

"We just don't know," Woodworth said.

During the walk that began at Brown Square and traveled down Pleasant Street to the Unitarian Church and over to the library, Temple Street, State Street, Harris Street and Titcomb Street, Woodworth discussed a range of the city's more colorful characters and important figures in the anti-slavery movement.

William Ashby would hold picnics on the banks of the Merrimack River, inviting family, friends and supporters of the antislavery movement: Wendell Phillips, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Garrison and John Greenleaf Whittier.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features