In this Place: Reflections on the African American Trail Project
with Dr. Kendra Field and Dr. Kerri Greenidge
In this talk, scholars Kerri Greenidge and Kendra Taira Field share their experiences as public historians of the African American past. Lessons will be drawn from their own family histories, the history of Black Boston, and their work as co-founders of the African American Trail Project at Tufts University.
The African American Trail Project is a collaborative public history initiative housed at Tufts University. Originally inspired by the scholarship of Tufts Professor Gerald R. Gill (1948-2007) and driven by faculty and student research, this project maps African American and African-descended public history sites across greater Boston, and throughout Massachusetts. The African American Trail Project aims to develop African American historical memory and intergenerational community, placing present-day struggles for racial justice in the context of greater Boston’s historic African American, Black Native, and diasporic communities. Under the leadership of Tufts’ Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, this project builds upon the work of many people and institutions.
Key community partners include the Museum of African American History, Boston & Nantucket, Royall House & Slave Quarters, West Medford Community Center, Robbins House, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The project currently documents over 200 sites across greater Boston and Massachusetts.
Dr. Kendra Taira Field is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. Field is the author of Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2018). The book traces her ancestors’ migratory lives between the Civil War and the Great Migration. Field also served as Assistant Editor to David Levering Lewis' W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography (Henry Holt, 2009). Field co-convened a 2019-2020 Mellon Sawyer Seminar on the politics of kinship, “Defamiliarizing the Family: Genealogy and Kinship as Critical Method." Field has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University's Charles Warren Center in American History. She is the recipient of the Western Writers of America's, 2017 Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, the 2016 Boahen-Wilks Prize, the OAH's Huggins-Quarles Award, and was a finalist for the Museum of African American History's Stone Book Prize. Field has advised and appeared in historical documentaries including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" (2013) and "Roots: A History Revealed" (2016). Field received her Ph.D. in American History from New York University. She also holds a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Williams College. Previously, Field served as Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside, and worked in education and the non-profit sector in Boston and New York.
Dr. Kerri Greenidge is Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University. She is the author of Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (2019). Listed as a New York Times Notable Book of 2019, Black Radical received the J,. Anthony Lukas Prize in History from the Nieman Foundation, the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Massachusetts Book Award, and it was short-listed for the Cundill History Prize through McGill University. Kerri Greenidge received her Doctorate in American Studies from Boston University, where her specialty included African-American history, American political history, and African-American and African diasporic literature in the post-emancipation and early modern era. She is currently co-director of the African American Trail Project through Tufts’ Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD). She also serves as interim director of the American Studies Program in Tufts’ Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora. Her work includes historical research for the Wiley-Blackwell Anthology of African-American Literature, the Oxford African American Studies Center, the BBC, and PBS. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Times. For nine years she worked as a historian for Boston African American National Historical Site in Boston, through which she published her first book, Boston Abolitionists (2006).