Heritage Sites

Heritage Map
National Park Service
In partnership with the National Park Service

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We are your heritage area!  The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area is designated to heighten appreciation of the region, preserve its natural and historical resources, and improve the quality of life and economy of the area. Your donation allows us to continue this important work.
 
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One Minute a Free Woman - book about Elizabeth Freeman
One Minute A Free Woman
Elizabeth Freeman and the Struggle For Freedom



Elizabeth Freeman and the Struggle For Freedom

Take a journey of heart and mind across time, place, families, and communities. Our journey focuses on the life of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, perhaps the best-known and most influential woman from the Berkshires. In 1781, seeing a contradiction between her enslavement and the quest for freedom being waged by the patriots in town against British rule, she sought her own freedom from Colonel John Ashley in Sheffield, Massachusetts. She won her lawsuit and helped end slavery in Massachusetts.

Paperback, 272 pages, 50 illustrations, chapter endnotes, index.
Published by the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area /African American Heritage Trail, 2010,
ISBN: 978-0-9845492-0-7. For more information: www.AfricanAmericanTrail.org


Book - African American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley


African American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley



A Unique Resource for Teachers – Students – Tourism
Regional History – Community Studies 

Tucked away in western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut is a treasured place. Bound on the east by the Berkshire Hills and on the west by the Taconic Range, the Housatonic River gives it life. This place has played a pivotal role in the political, religious, industrial, and cultural history of the region and the nation. What has largely gone unrecognized until now is a rich history of African Americans who played pivotal roles in key national and international events and made significant contributions to our culture. African American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley presents this great heritage, telling the stories of the Black luminaries who have lived in the area—W.E. B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, to name but a few—and detailing the life and times of the many ordinary yet extraordinary African Americans who have made their mark in the region from the 1700s to the present. The book is a guide to the people and places along the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, encompassing twenty-nine Massachusetts and Connecticut towns in the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area.

Key Features

  • 67 Articles on Business and Professional Life, Civil Rights and Social Action, Education, Military Service, Religion, and Society, Arts and Ideas 
  • 120 Photos and Illustrations
  • 8 Original Maps
  • 35 Primary Text Sidebars
  • Timeline of Regional African American History
  • Directory of Local and regional Resources
  • Trail Guides to 14 Communities  
  • Massachusetts Communities: Gulf Road/Wizard’s Glen, Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Sheffield
  • Northwest Connecticut Communities: Salisbury, Norfolk [Canaan], Sharon, Cornwall, Kent, Warren, Barkhamsted Lighthouse


 

Book - Mass 54th Volunteer Regiment - The Other Side of Glory


The Other Side of Glory - The Berkshire Men of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

 


The Other Side of Glory - by David Levinson

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, one of the first official African American units in the United States during the Civil War, was comprised of men from Berkshire County, Mass. and Litchfield County, Conn. The story of the unit, including its struggle for equal pay, was depicted in the 1989 film “Glory.”  The MASS 54th Trail is the most recent addition to the African American Heritage Trail, a program of Housatonic Heritage.

The kick-off celebration will coincide with the publication of a new book, “On the Other Side of Glory,” by David Levinson and Emilie Piper and published by Housatonic Heritage. The reception will include remarks by David Levinson.

The MASS 54th Trail includes 24 sites – homes, churches, cemeteries, monuments – in twelve communities, from Dalton, Mass. to Sharon, Conn.  Each site is associated with an African American man or group of men who served in the 54th.  A self-guided tour brochure will be unveiled at the reception.  This brochure directs visitors to places regiment members lived, went to church, are memorialized, and buried.  For more information about the June 22 event visit, www.AfricanAmericanTrail.org/MA54.html.

The “MASS 54th” interpretive trail is the most recent addition to the African American Heritage Trail, a program of the Housatonic Heritage. The African American Heritage Trail celebrates African Americans in the Upper Housatonic region, ordinary people of achievement and those who played pivotal roles in key national and international events—W.E.B. Du Bois, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, James Weldon Johnson, Rev. Samuel Harrison, James VanDerZee, and others.  More information about the trail can be found at AfricanAmericanTrail.org.

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