Being part of the Bullard exhibition has been a rewarding and challenging experience. I had the opportunity to work closely with Sarah A. Scott Shepard's photograph and the Dillon family portrait. This was a hands-on experience doing original research: several trips to the public library, much searching on genealogy databases and going through newspapers from the late 1880s all the way until the early 1900s. One of my favorite parts of this project was being able to talk to Mr. Fred Freeman, who lived in the Beaver Brook community and had relatives living in Worcester when these pictures were taken. I was moved and inspired by the memories he shared with me about the families involved in this project.
Having lived in other countries, I have always valued the importance of learning about the place where one lives. Looking back at our efforts as a class this semester, I can say we have put the puzzle pieces together. There were weeks where it was difficult to find information about my specific photographs, but by engaging with the project and learning from each other we understood the significance of this vibrant African American community in Worcester. Discovering the different places where these individuals came from, their participation in different organizations, and even just looking at where they lived and worked throughout the years showed the connection between this community and a larger American story after the Civil War. I look forward to seeing and working on the exhibition this fall!