As a volunteer for the historical society in Greenfield, Carol Aleman discovered there was little in Greenfield’s formal written history that addressed people of color. She began a very personal mission to identify as many members of Greenfield’s black population of the past as possible with an eye toward who they were, what their lives were like, and how they had participated in and contributed to community life. Some of her research is featured in her presentation on this website, Local Institutions as Resources: Historical Societies.
Beyond the initial 10 sessions of the ECHO Program, ECHO has hosted several talks that further enrich our knowledge of the history of the Greenfield area.
Philippe Simon, local filmmaker and Production Coordinator at GCTV shares videos of three stories and subjects that he has documented to see how they developed over time: “An Inmate’s Story of Running in Jail,” “Bringing Modern Veterans’ Services to Greenfield and the Entire Upper Valley,” and “Black Lives Matter! From Street Protest to Mass March.”
A Return to Vibrancy on Miles Street: From Greenfield’s Train Station to the Greenfield Energy Park (coming soon)
Sandy Thomas, Park Director from 1997-2010, discusses how this section of town was first transformed as the town graveyard, then was renovated to become an active train station at the crossroads of N-S and E-W rail traffic for 80 years. When train service stopped in 1960’s, it became a blighted area for 40 years and, in accordance with a Master Plan, was revived as a community park focused on renewable energy and native plants with a performance stage.
Joan Featherman offers an opportunity to revisit the history of Greenfield’s involvement in the Underground Railroad and other anti-slavery activity during the 1800s. She will describe a year-long, community-wide project inspired by the belief that Greenfield’s history as a diverse and socially just community is a story that must be told. This project, funded primarily by a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 2007, pulled from the full range of humanities disciplines to engage a wide range of local residents in the local history and tradition of anti-slavery activism and the continued struggle for “liberty and justice for all” in our city and beyond.