Carol Aleman discusses and shares artifacts from her own research on African Americans in historic Greenfield.
- How do a number of individual artifacts begin, taken together, to suggest a story?
- What sorts of historical records and artifacts are likely to be housed in a historical society?
- What sorts of historical records and artifacts might be in your own attic, basement, or scrapbooks?
“For me, the Historical Society is both study hall and playground.” – Carol Aleman
Carol Aleman bio
Carol Aleman grew up in Shelburne and spent her early years mostly unaware of the rich history that lay within the hills and valleys and along the streets and meadows of the county she called home. It wasn’t until she edged closer to her 2018 retirement from the Five College Consortium in Amherst, that she began to volunteer for the historical society in Greenfield.
On discovering there was little in Greenfield’s formal written history that addressed people of color, Carol began a very personal mission to identify as many members of Greenfield’s black population of the past with an eye toward who they were, what their lives were like, and how they had participated in and contributed to community life. Marrying into a Black family in 1972, she was equipped with a starting point and despite the divorce that had come to follow, she stayed close to the O’Hare family. Over the next four decades, they shared fragments of their past and unwittingly prepared her for the quest she would later take and the goals she would later pursue.