Celebrate Black History Month with Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Nantucket Historical Association and sponsored by Nantucket Bank: A Division of Rockland Trust, Wednesday, February 21st, 5:00pm - 6:30pm at Nantucket Historical Association's Greater Light, 8 Howard Street!
Black History Month is an opportunity honor and understand Black histories. We're thrilled to host an amazing program of oral presentations and song by the Nantucket High School Students & Diversity Club, and keynote speaker, author, educator and historian, Barbara White.
Enjoy an impactful evening of celebration and reflection. We'll discuss notable Black Americans on Nantucket, the integration of Nantucket schools, and how Nantucket abolitionist helped spearheaded national change. Light refreshments will be provided for guests. This event is FREE, but due to limited space registration is required. We are thrilled to be honoring Black History with you!
Keynote Speaker Biography
Barbara White - White was a teacher at Nantucket Public Schools for 33 years teaching both in the high school and middle school. She retired in June, 2004. She came out of retirement in 2007 to be an interim principal at the Cyrus Peirce Middle School while they conducted a search for a permanent principal. She holds a Master's Degree from Boston University in African-American Studies, as well as a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Lancaster in England. Barbara and her family took a leave of absence in 1997 in Cairo, Egypt, where she was the academic head of an international school.
Barbara received a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship in 1978 which funded her research in African-American history on Nantucket. Her work on the integration of the Nantucket Public Schools in the 19th Century was published by Boston University Press. WGBH based a documentary, Rock of Changes, on her work. This work helped lead to the preservation of the African Meeting House which is now managed by the African American Museum in Boston. In 2002, Barbara received an award for her work in African-American History from the Museum of African-American History in Boston.
In 1982, Barbara was one of ten recipients in the state of Massachusetts of an award recognizing "outstanding work in the field of stereotyping and combating discrimination for her work in Chapter 622, Title IX."
Barbara and four eighth grade students mapped the black cemetery behind Nantucket Cottage Hospital, recording all the information on the headstones before they got lost to erosion. This is now on the Nantucket Historical Association's website.
The year after she retired, Barbara was the recipient of the James Bradford Ames Fellowship administered at UMass Boston. Barbara uses the grant to further her research of Nantucket abolitionist-teacher, Anna Gardner. Her research was presented at a symposium in Boston and part of it was published in a book of the Ames Fellows called, Nantucket's People of Color.
However, her main project since retiring has been to research the life of Cyrus Peirce, the first principal of Nantucket High School and the man for whom the middle school is now named. the result is Live to the Truth: The Life and Times of Cyrus Peirce.