Published On: February 15th, 2024

MBK Cambridge’s Liberation Libraries are one of many great, local resources to explore Black history.

Black history is Cambridge history. And a big part of our city’s story is Black leadership, resilience, creativity, and community. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, an extraordinary—for the time—number of middle-class African Americans rose to prominent positions in the city, like school principal Maria Baldwin and Alderman Clement Morgan. Today, Cambridge continues to benefit from Black leaders who make invaluable contributions to our city’s social fabric, whether through public office, like our Mayor and elected officials, or our schools and city departments, through work in nonprofits, or grassroots organizing and mentorship in their neighborhoods.

As we develop new strategies for strengthening social cohesion in Cambridge, we can learn so much from long-established Black communities, where community bonds run deep and people feel invested in their hometown.

This month, join us in celebrating Black history and Black futures in Cambridge. Below are some resources and events that highlight the extraordinary people, organizations, and cultures that make our city great.

Explore Cambridge Black history

Cambridge Black Trailblazers. 

This growing collection of bookmarks—from the Cambridge Black History Project and designed by Cambridge Cultural Visionary Frank Lucas—shares remarkable stories of hometown heroes whom you may not yet know. Copies available at all Cambridge Public Libraries. 25 stories >>

Preserving and reawakening Black culture in our city.

At St. Augustine’s Church on Allston Street, Imagined in Cambridge! Award winner Black History in Action for Cambridgeport creates an inclusive space for arts, documentation, organizing, joy, and community-based racial healing. Watch our short video by CCTV >>

Not your average “little free library”. 

My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge presents Liberation Libraries to build community by exposing Cambridge residents to the Black and Brown lived experience through literature for all ages. Find one in your neighborhood >>

Walk Black history in Cambridge. 

Last year’s MLK Day of Service’s Community Walk left us with a living map to discover pockets of Cambridge history like the site of Dr. King’s 1960 sermon, Cambridge Community Center, and lots of public art along the way. Get walking >>

More on our website: A brief glance at Cambridge Black history since 1630 and additional local resources for learning.

Upcoming events

Join NAACP Cambridge at its 38th annual MLK Brunch February 24.

The community gathering at MIT Walker Memorial will include a keynote from Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell, thought-provoking discussions, heartfelt tributes, and performances that capture Dr. King’s message. Buy tickets >>

Catch the Black Cambridge Sunday Matinee, February 25! 

Black History in Action for Cambridgeport is hosting this enriching experience at St. Augustine’s, featuring storytellers Rev. Kit Eccles and James Ikeda, poet Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, and musician Grace Givertz. RSVP >>

Mark your calendars! The 2024 Bob Moses Conference is April 27-28.

In honor of Bob Moses, our neighbor, legendary civil rights leader and organizer, and founder of The Algebra Project, this virtual conference reframes the historical roots of the denial of full citizenship rights to African Americans. Learn more >>