Spotlight: Hartford’s Black Heroes Trail

3 min read

Abbey O’Leary ’24

Features Editor

In February of 2023, the city of Hartford opened the Black Heroes Trail. The project was originally developed by a local advocate in Hartford, Bridgitte Prince, and her office in collaboration with Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, the Hartford Department of Public Works and Office of Equity and Opportunity, and a number of different local neighborhood organizations. It was sponsored by Councilwoman Tiana Hercules. Additionally, Hartford Council Majority Leader TJ Clarke and Councilwoman Shirley Surgeon also supported the organization and establishment of the project. The initiative was conceptualized and created with the goal of honoring local Black heroes who made their mark on both local and national history. The trail courses throughout the city and includes sites at the Hartford Public Library Downtown Branch, Central Row, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Hartford City Hall, the Women’s League Inc. Child Development, Hartford Fire Department Engine Co. 2/ District 2, Old North Cemetery and St. Monica’s Episcopal Church among a number of others. Overall, the trail incorporates 19 installation sites, each of which honors a Black hero and details their history, background, description and accomplishments.

The project is advertised with the slogan, “Honoring Hartford’s Black History, for generations to come” (hartfordct.gov) and was launched to celebrate Black History and the impact of leading Black figures on our modern world. The information provided along the Black Heroes Trail is based heavily on the information compiled by the Hartford History Center’s “Changemakers” program and is connected with this resource which aims to honor new heroes annually and build an expanding collection celebrating Black history. Hartford Changemakers is a comprehensive online resource center comprised of reference materials on Black heroes as well as Latine and Indigenous Hartford historical figures who have contributed to Hartford’s local history as well as larger historical events, including national undertakings. The Hartford Changemakers initiative itself is based largely on information presented in the 2016 Black History Month “More than a Month” exhibit in combination with the 2017 Hartford-based local community art project “Draw a Hartford History Maker.” This project has compiled various resources and references to create a database intended to be ever changing and expanding, gradually including more materials, figures and their stories. Hartford Changemakers is dedicated to diversity not only in race and background, but has dedicated its attention to a diverse array of heroes in multiple professional fields and lines of work. It celebrates the work of individual changemakers in the fields of art, business, athletics, social advocacy and community leadership.

Originally designed to celebrate Black History and the impact of Black leaders throughout history, Hartford’s Black Heroes Trail not only celebrates the accomplishments of Black individuals but has created a growing network of knowledge and cultural history. With clear foundations in community engagement, the Trail is open to the public and welcomes active participation and celebration within the Hartford Community. As stated in the project’s slogan, the Black Heroes Trail will stand as a testament to history and will be a landmark in the city of Hartford for future generations.

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  1. 1
    Bridgitte Prince

    Thank you very much. Hartford is wealthy with Black History that transformed the nation. I sincerely appreciate the time Trinity Tripod took to share this very important tribute to Hartford’s Black Heroes. Thank you again.

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