“Unmasking and Evolution of Negro Election Day and the Black Vote”
Those interested in Saugus history are encouraged to see the new temporary exhibition “Unmasking and Evolution of Negro Election Day and the Black Vote” at the Lynn Museum, which will open in a few weeks in the museum’s first floor gallery space. Through more than 20 paintings, displays and banners, visitors will learn how the first Black voting system evolved into Salem’s 281-year-old “Black Picnic Day” celebration. Guests will learn how West African slaves pioneered Black self-governance and how white America used voting suppression methods to constrain elections.
The exhibition’s story begins with the first Black King/Governor in Massachusetts, known as Pompeii, who lived in Saugus between Vinegar Hill and the Saugus River. He was elected by the Black community in 1740. From there, it follows other Black New Englanders who have earned this title and explains the relevance of their contributions.
Salem United, Inc. was founded in 2015 by three Black women: mother and daughter Lorraine and Doreen Wade and their colleague Su Almeida. The Wades have traced their family history back to the 1600’s in Massachusetts.
Salem United, Inc. President Doreen Wade has taken a powerful interest in preserving the history of Black self-governance in New England. This exhibit is the fruit of her research efforts. Doreen was the speaker at the November meeting of the Saugus Historical Society.
As part of her research for the exhibit at the Lynn Museum, she has uncovered information about Pompeii, who was given his freedom by Saugus resident Daniel Mansfield and whose home was the gathering place for local slaves and freedmen.
The Saugus Historical Society would also like to remind those interested in local history that books written by the Society’s October speakers, Doug Heath and Alison Simcox, will be available through the Society for the holiday season. To order, call Saugus Historical Society President Laura Eisener at 781-231-5988.
The Saugus Historical Society is delighted to have one of its vacant Board of Directors positions filled. Dolores Venetsanakos is the new secretary. She joins longtime members Laura Eisener, Paul Kenworthy, Jayne Parrott, Allen Humphries, Jack Klecker and Judy McCarthy.