Museum director Edmund Barry Gaither joins State Representative Byron Rushing in visiting the African Meeting House on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod. The Nantucket African Meeting House was constructed in the early 19th century and is now a National Park Service site and part of the Museum of African American History.
It is one of several reminders that Nantucket had a thriving black community from the 17th century through the first half of the 19th.
Adjacent to the Meeting House are several small buildings under renovation to provides additional support, teaching and programming space. Close by is the Florence Higginbotham House built in the 1770s by Seneca Boston, head of a noteworthy black family on the island. It was home to the very distinguished and enterprising Higginbotham in the 1800s. Not far away is the Historic Coloured Cemetery where the black community buried its dead, including members of the notable Boston family, one of whose sons, Absalom, was captain of his own whaling ship. A portrait of Captain Absalom Boston is on display in the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Representative Rushing was once director of the Museum of African American (formerly Afro-American) History. Marcia Butman, a summer resident of Nantucket and a social activist, invited the group of us to Nantucket to meet Charity C. Lambert who has recently become Site Manager for the Meeting House.