Join the Dots of Local History Through
Place-Based Educational Walking Tours
This summer, national history becomes place-based through a series of walking tours in Florence. Offered by the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, these tours will shed light on local connections to abolition, the Underground Railroad, and, of course, the many remarkable historical figures who spearheaded the radical movements of the 19th century.
Following the path of one of 25 great local walking tours, each expedition will include a thorough look at notable Florence landmarks and will tie each important location to people and events linked to some major parts of history. Among such locations are Park Street cemetery, final resting place of at least four former slaves; the Nonotuck Silk Mill dam, located near a mill where abolitionists processed sugar beets – grown as an alternative to sugar cane; and the Florence Congregational Church, where greats such as Frederick Douglass spoke beneath a 150-year-old old growth pine.
The tour’s route takes roughly 1.5 hours to complete, and follows a circuitous route through downtown Florence and across the Mill River. Families can supplement studies of Florence’s history by utilizing online resources offered by the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee. Gaining background knowledge before participating in the tour can help students to make deeper connections to the places they see and the stories that they hear during the tour, and putting national history into a local context can help students to contextualize the broad information that they may have previously learned about slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad.
Each tour will begin at the Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue, located at the corner of Pine and Park Streets in Florence. The next tour in the series will take place on Sunday, May 24th at 12 noon. Subsequent tours in the series will begin at 10am, and will be held monthly through October.