Black History Month

Black History Month is a time when the contributions and culture of African Americans take center stage. It is a time for us to learn and reflect about parts of our American history that have remained hidden, often because of who gets to write the history we've been taught.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them” – Ida B. Wells

“Those being honored were contributors to their communities, whether it be here in the Andovers or beyond. Theirs is a history that has been marginalized that is now being acknowledged to set the record straight. Hallelujah! “ –Michele Phillips

"Learning the stories of the African Americans in our community who are being honored by this project, will make our historical information more complete." Susan Malloy, North Parish Racial Justice Team

This project was organized by Lynn Wentzel, Tina Klein, Michele Phillips, and Ralph Bledsoe, a group of passionate local citizens that believe that African-American history is American history, and that all people should be represented in local history. Sponsors and supporting organizations include the North Parish Racial Justice Team, the Town of North Andover, the North Andover Historical Society and the Stevens Memorial Library. Financial support provided by the North Andover Cultural Council and private donations.

Artwork for a series of banners was commissioned from Elevated Thought (ET), an art and social justice 501(c)3 non-profit based in Lawrence, MA. Through creative youth development, beautification projects, public outreach, and paid opportunities for BIPOC creatives, ET actively addresses forms of systemic injustice. They develop spaces for BIPOC youth and communities to engage and understand art's liberating power. Each banner acknowledges and celebrates the contributions of an African American with local, regional or state connection.

Starting February 2023, and each year following, banners will be displayed around the Common. While viewing the banners, snap a picture of the QR code posted with each banner to be directed to a short biography about each person, or visit the Biographies page. See the schedule of events for happenings throughout the month.

Read about the project’s art director and artist for this banner, Alex J. Brien