Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Papers, 1993-2014

Collection number: MC 218
Size: 9 boxes (2.97 cu.ft.)

About the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

Originally a part of the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation Diversity Committee, in 1995, the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail (PBHT) was incorporated as a non-profit organization and began operations distinct from the Foundation. With Valerie Cunningham spearheading the project together with Mark Sammons of the Strawbery Banke Museum, the Trail researched and created a self-guided walking tour and resource book emphasizing black heritage in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire seacoast area.

A shorter version of the current tour was released at a Preview Weekend on September 2 and 3, 1995. With feedback from attendees and the surrounding community, the organization gathered donations and grants, and fine-tuned the Trail and the accompanying resource book, the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Resource Book, first published in 1996. The first official site markers were unveiled on March 23, 2000. A follow-up book with updated information titled Black Portsmouth: Three Centuries of African American Heritage was published in 2004.

Since its creation, the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail has been an important part of the New Hampshire Seacoast community. The current trail has 24 historic sites in the city of Portsmouth, and the organization has supported the identification and research of other New Hampshire sites including Greenland, Exeter, Newmarket, Nashua, Manchester, Milford, Concord, Andover, Canaan and Warner. The organization’s activities have since expanded to include historic preservation, teacher institutes, curriculum development, public symposia, concerts and plays, and docent training for historic house museums.

About the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Papers

This collection consists primarily of papers collected by Valerie Cunningham and others associated with the trail over the years. There are photocopies of research material, handwritten notes, drafts of publications and educational materials, letters, emails, bills, invoices, and articles. The majority of the collection is about the foundation of the Trail itself, including the background research on Black Portsmouth that resulted in the creation of the self-guided walking tour and published resource book. In addition there is some information, particularly newspaper articles, on the involvement of the Trail as a nonprofit organization in the New Hampshire and New England Seacoast community.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder number], [Box number], Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Papers, 1993-2014, MC 218, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift, Valerie Cunningham, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, May 6, 2008 (Accession number: 2008.06); additions, 2016

Collection Contents

Series 1: Establishment of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, 1993-2006

Subseries A: Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation (GPCF), 1993-1997

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1GPCF Diversity Committee Meetings, 1993-1994
Box 1, Folder 2GPCF Diversity Committee Meetings, 1995-1997
Box 1, Folder 3GPCF Diversity Committee Subcommittees
Box 1, Folder 4GPCF Education Committee Materials
Box 1, Folder 5Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Preview Weekend, Labor Day 1995,
Box 1, Folder 6PBHT Preview Weekend Evaluations, Labor Day 1995,
Box 1, Folder 7GPCF Miscellaneous Materials

Subseries B: Background Research

Box 1, Folder 8Other History Trails/Walking Tours, New Hampshire
Box 1, Folder 9Other History Trails/Walking Tours, New England and elsewhere
Box 1, Folder 10New England Tourism
Box 1, Folder 11Black/Minority History
Box 1, Folder 12Black/Minority History
Box 1, Folder 13Black/Minority History, 18th century
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1Black/Minority History, 18th century
Box 2, Folder 2Black/Minority History, 19th century
Box 2, Folder 3Black/Minority History, 20th century
Box 2, Folder 4Black/Minority History, Articles
Box 2, Folder 5Site Lists and Maps
Box 2, Folder 6Early Drafts of Trail Literature
Box 2, Folder 7Early Drafts of Trail Literature
Box 2, Folder 8Early Drafts of Brochure and Signage
Box 2, Folder 9Brochure Printing Estimates and Information
Box 2, Folder 10Notes (Handwritten)
Box 2, Folder 11Notes (Handwritten)

Subseries C: Correspondence

Box 2, Folder 12Correspondence, 1993-1996

Subseries D: Structural Foundations/Legal Materials

Box 2, Folder 13Trade Name Registration and Board Elections, 1996-2000
Box 2, Folder 14Non-Profit/Tax-Exempt Status (includes By-Laws and Constitution), 1999-2000

Series 2: Funding, 1994-2010

Subseries A: Grants

Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation
Box 3, Folder 2Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, “Unsettling Times,” NEH Grant
Box 3, Folder 3Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, Grants to Strawbery Banke, 1994-1996
Box 3, Folder 4Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, Grants to Strawbery Banke, 1998
Box 3, Folder 5Historic Preservation, 1999
Box 3, Folder 6Fleet Bank, 2001-2003
Box 3, Folder 7New Hampshire and National Organizations, 1994-2010

Subseries B: Marketing

Box 3, Folder 8Marketing, 1999-2008

Subseries C: Donations/Donor Relations

Box 3, Folder 9General Donations, 1997-2000
Box 3, Folder 10General Donations, 2002-2004
Box 3, Folder 11General Donations, undated
Box 3, Folder 12Donor Lists
Box 3, Folder 13Donor Lists
Box 3, Folder 14Site Markers Fund, 1999 – Mar 2000
Box 4
Box 4, Folder 1Site Markers Fund, Apr 2000 – 2002

Series 3: Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, 1995-2014

Subseries A: Site Markers

Box 4, Folder 2General Information on Historical Markers
Box 4, Folder 3PBHT Text and Drafts
Box 4, Folder 4PBHT Text and Drafts
Box 4, Folder 5Logos
Box 4, Folder 6Notes (Handwritten), 1995-2005
Box 4, Folder 7Correspondence regarding Site Markers, 1999-2000
Box 4, Folder 8Correspondence regarding Site Markers, 2001-2004

Subseries B: PBHT Board and Meetings

Box 4, Folder 9Meeting Minutes and Notes (Handwritten), undated and 1996-1999
Box 4, Folder 10Meeting Minutes and Notes (Handwritten), 2000-2002
Box 4, Folder 11Meeting Minutes and Notes (Handwritten), 2003-2011
Box 4, Folder 12Expenses, Receipts, Invoices, and Treasury Reports, 1995-2001
Box 4, Folder 13Expenses, Receipts, Invoices, and Treasury Reports, 2002-2011
Box 4, Folder 14Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, 1999-2006
Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1Executive Committee, 1995, 2007-2013
Box 5, Folder 2Board of Directors, 1999-2013
Box 5, Folder 3Board of Directors Retreat, NHCF Express Grant, 2010
Box 5, Folder 4Exicutive Board, 2005-1020
Box 5, Folder 5Board of Trustees, 2008-2014
Box 5, Folder 6Research Committee,2012-2013
Box 5, Folder 7Membership and Volunteers

Subseries C: Educational Programs and events

Box 5, Folder 8Docent Training
Box 5, Folder 9Educational Materials; programs
Box 5, Folder 10Educational Materials; programs
Box 5, Folder 11Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation, 2001-2006
Box 5, Folder 12Events, 2001-2009
Box 5, Folder 13Events, 2010-2013
Box 5, Folder 14African burial ground coverage, 2005-2007

Subseries D: Resources

Box 6
Box 6, Folder 1Tours
Box 6, Folder 2Revised Brochure, 2002-2003
Box 6, Folder 3Publications: North of Boston
Box 6, Folder 4Publications: Encyclopedia of New England Culture
Box 6, Folder 5Publications: Black Portsmouth
Box 6, Folder 6Publications: Black Portsmouth, Illustrations
Box 6, Folder 7Publications: Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Resource Book
Box 6, Folder 8Publications: Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Resource Book, Sales and Donations
Box 6, Folder 9Publications: Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Resource Book, Sales and Donations

Subseries E: Correspondence

Box 6, Folder 10General Correspondence, 1997-1998
Box 6, Folder 11General Correspondence, Feb – July 1999
Box 6, Folder 12General Correspondence, Aug - Dec 1999
Box 6, Folder 13General Correspondence, Jan - June 2000
Box 6, Folder 14General Correspondence, July - Nov 2000
Box 7
Box 7, Folder 1General Correspondence, 2001-2002
Box 7, Folder 2General Correspondence, 2003
Box 7, Folder 3General Correspondence, 2004
Box 7, Folder 4General Correspondence, 2005-2010 and undated

Series 4: Press/Media and Public Relations, 1995-2010

Subseries A: Correspondence

Box 7, Folder 5Press Contact Information
Box 7, Folder 6Press Correspondence, 1997-2004

Subseries B: Articles

Box 7, Folder 7Portsmouth Herald series by Jennifer Vento, Jan – Apr 2000
Box 7, Folder 8Portsmouth Herald series by Jennifer Vento, May - Dec 2000
Box 7, Folder 9Other newspaper articles, 1995-2010
  • “Portsmouth tour tells story of blacks,” Portland Press Herald, 1995
  • “Banke hosts preview tour of Black Heritage Trail,” Portsmouth Herald, 1995
  • “Trail blazers,” Portsmouth, 1995
  • “Black Heritage Trail adds to understanding,” Portsmouth Herald, 1995
  • “Correction,” Portsmouth Herald, 1995
  • “Portsmouth tour tells story of blacks,” Portsmouth Herald, 1996
  • “Historian discusses slavery found in Colonial Seacoast,” Portsmouth Herald, 1996
  • “City was once home to 200 slaves,” Concord Monitor, 1996
  • “Tulani Freeman earns Eagle Scout Award,” Portsmouth Herald, 1996
  • “The Black Heritage Trail,” Portsmouth Herald, 1996
  • “Portsmouth slave cemetery dedicated in ceremony,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 1996
  • “Black history recalled,” Portsmouth Herald, 1997
  • “Black Heritage Trail serves as reminder of city’s painful past,” Portsmouth Herald, 1997
  • “Spirit of the Seacoast awards honor 8 agencies, 2 individuals,” Portsmouth Herald, 1997
  • “A place to live, not quite their own,” Herald Sunday, 1997
  • “New Hampshire historian studies lives of state’s slaves,” Bay State Banner, 1998
  • “Bringing N.H.’s slavery stories into the light,” Portsmouth Herald, 1998
  • “Black history a huge hit on Seacoast Web site,” Foster's Sunday Citizen, 1999
  • “History celebrated with stamps,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 2000
  • “Black Heritage Trail begins,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 2000
  • “Historic dedication,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 2000
  • “Point of interest,” Portsmouth Herald, 2000
  • “Funding sought for Heritage markers,” Portsmouth Herald, 2000
  • “Travel back in time along the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail,” York Weekly, 2001
  • “Black Hertiage Trail celebrates Juneteenth with escorted tour,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 2001
  • “Trail recalls black history,” Portsmouth Herald, 2001
  • “Trees, potent remembrances of things past,” Portsmouth Herald, 2002
  • “Share your stories of Black Portsmouth,” Portsmouth Herlad, 2003
  • “Seacoast black history explored at exhibit,” Portsmouth Herald, 2003
  • “Black Heritage Trail showcases accomplishments,” Portsmouth Herald, 2003
  • “Local organizations holding numerous events to mark occasion,” Foster's Daily Democrat, 2004
  • “Strawbery Banke Presents Historic Portsmouth,” Portsmouth Herald, 2005
  • “Marking Time,” Portsmouth Herald, 2007
  • “Juneteenth Celebration in Portsmouth,” 2009
  • “Black Heritage Trail marker dedicated,” n.d.
  • “Input wanted on handling of 18th-century remains,” n.d.
  • “Nonprofits hold open house,” n.d.
  • “Black heritage to be traced on trail,” n.d.
Box 7, Folder 10Magazines, 1999-2004
  • “Finding Venus,” Yankee
  • “The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail,” Coastline
  • “Past and Present,” Portsmouth
Box 7, Folder 11Magazines, 2006-2010
  • “Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail: Light Shines on the Darkness,” New Hampshire To Do
  • Attractions and Activities entry, New Hampshire Official Visitors Guide
Box 7, Folder 12Magazine articles (photocopies), Academic, and Online articles, 1995-2010
  • “The First Blacks of Portsmouth,” Reunion, 1995
  • “Discovering History and Passion,” Our Time, 1996
  • “Sharing oral history,” Spotlight, 1996
  • “’Unity Walk’ Honors Local Black Heritage Trail,” North Star, 1999
  • “Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail is a treasure in the community,” Foster's Online, 1999
  • “Black Portsmouth,” The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio, 2003
  • “Local man wins grant for grave-restoration project,” Seacoast Online, 2003
  • “Saturday, January 30, 2010, 9am-1pm Public Forum: ‘Putting Portsmouth on the Map’ History Project at Discover Portsmouth Center,” Portsmouth Historical Society, 2010
  • Interview with Valerie Cunningham (transcription), n.d.
Box 7, Folder 13Correspondence and articles re Trail Website, 1997-2002
Box 7, Folder 14Awards/Nominations and Recognitions, 1997-2007
Box 7, Folder 15B.H.T slides, 1995-1998
Box 8
Box 8, Folder 1Newspaper clippings
Box 8, Folder 2Newspaper clippings
Box 8, Folder 3SeacoastNH.com

Series 5: Audio/visual Materials

Box 9
Box 9, Item 1Month of Sundays, Aug 2001 (30 minutes)

Interview with Valerie Cunningham by Lee Jones about the New England Underground Railroad, the Blues Bank Collective, Black Portsmouth, VHS

Box 9, Item 2Rochester Historical Society Meeting, Jan 11, 2007 (1 hour 32 minutes 45 seconds)

Lecture presented by Valerie Cunningham (begins at about minute 7) about the history of blacks in Portsmouth, VHS

Box 9, Item 3UNH Teachers Institute, Aug 2001 (1 hour 30 minutes 20 seconds)

Biographical interview with Valerie Cunningham; topics include her trip to Ghana, her own family history, her experiences with racism, and the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, VHS

Box 9, Item 4Compton Historical Society Meeting, Jan 22, 2001 (1 hour 8 minutes 16 seconds)

Lecture presented by Valerie Cunningham about slavery in the North, the lives of blacks versus whites, and recording and preserving history, VHS

Box 9, Item 5Portsmouth Black Hertiage Trail Symposium, May 19, 2009 (1 hour 2 minutes 28 seconds)

Lecture presented by Keith Stokes (executive director of Newport County Chamber of Commerce and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation) about the history of blacks in New England, VHS

Box 9, Item 6Chronicle from WMUR-TV, July 16, 2004 (Total: 30 minutes 57 seconds; Story length: 7 minutes 40 seconds)

News feature on the African burial ground in Portsmouth, VHS

Box 9, Item 7Chronicle from WMUR-TV, Jan. 17, 2005 (22 minutes)

News feature on the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, VHS

Box 9, Item 8NH Outlook from PBS, Jan. 20, 2003

News feature on the Black Heritage Trail, VHS

Box 9, Item 9NH Outlook from PBS, Sept. 23, 2003

News feature on Pearl Street, VHS

Box 9, Item 10Unchained Memories from HBO, Feb. 10, 2003 (1:15)

Readings: WPA slave narratives, VHS

Box 9, Item 11Undergreound Railroad (UGRR) conference, Concord, NH, VHS August 2001 (Part 1)
Box 9, Item 12Undergreound Railroad (UGRR) conference, Concord, NH, VHS August 2001 (Part 2)
Box 9, Item 13Strawbery Banke Museum, 1997 Community Forum, VHS August 2001
Box 9, Item 14Interview with Jody Fernald on the Portsmouth Black Heritage TrailNov. 8, 2005 (1 cassette tape)
Box 9, Item Undergreound Railroad (UGRR) conference, Concord, NHAugust 2001 (3 cassette tapes)
Box 9, Item 15African American Graves from NHPR, June 4, 2004
Box 9, Item 15African American Graves from NHPR, June 4, 2004 (DVD)
Box 9, Item 16Black Portsmouth from NHPR, June 4, 2004 (DVD)
Map Drawer A7Poster: Black Heritage on the Seacoast, presented by Valerie Cunningham, USDA Forest Service, Durham NH Feb 4, 2004 (32 x 24")
Finding Aid Image TEMP
  • Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail logo