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Docent Academy II: New London’s Black Heritage Trail

New London’s Black Heritage Trail stands as a testament to three centuries of Black strength, resilience, and triumphs. Spanning fifteen sites, this trail not only commemorates nationally recognized figures and events but also pays homage to those nearly forgotten. Each site weaves a narrative that reflects the unwavering determination of New London’s Black community to overcome obstacles, showcasing personal courage and the establishment of institutions to address social, political, economic, and spiritual needs.

Working in collaboration with the City of New London Cultural District Commission, Curtis Goodwin (trail creator), and various heritage trail contributors and researchers, Thames River Heritage Park is delighted to introduce  Docent Academy II – New London’s Black Heritage Trail. This innovative training program aims to empower interpreters with the knowledge and skills to effectively convey the rich tapestry of African-American history in New London and beyond.

Our mission is rooted in preserving African American history, filling gaps where stories have been forgotten or lost and where rediscovery occurs due to the absence of written records. Collaborating with cultural preservationists, storytellers, and cultural training experts, our interpreters will serve as ambassadors, sharing these invaluable stories with schools and visitors to New London.

New London’s Black Heritage Trail, factual and family-friendly, offers a profound experience that goes beyond mere historical documentation. It strategically emphasizes the interconnectedness of our community, fostering a deep understanding of the roles played by New London’s Black residents in the larger narratives of enslavement, the Great Migration, the intersectionality with other races, and the ongoing struggle for civil rights.

By becoming an interpreter for New London’s Black Heritage Trail, you are investing in preserving African-American history and the education and enlightenment of present and future generations. Your contribution directly continues to unveil, preserve, and share these vital stories that contribute to the rich tapestry of New London’s cultural heritage.

This training program consists of a series of 3 workshops, each lasting 3 hours and taking place once a week over a span of 3 weeks. These sessions will delve into the intricacies of New London’s Black Heritage Trail (NLBHT) and feature comprehensive information coupled with guided walking tours of the trail’s sites.

Session 1
Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Introduction to New London’s Black Heritage Trail by Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch, primary researchers.

Session 2
Saturday, June 1, 2024 | 1 PM – 4 PM
Exploration of Cultural Storytelling and Cultural Narratives by Tammy Denease, Hidden Women

Session 3
Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Walking the trail with Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch

Session 4
Saturday, June 15, 2024 | 11 AM – 2 PM
Docent-led Interpretive Review with Nicole Thomas and Tom Schuch

All sessions will be held at Public Library of New London, 63 Huntington Street, New London, CT 06320

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