Lecture and Booksigning on "Dorchester: A Compendium"

Dorchester, MA (PressExposure) June 15, 2011 -- Anthony M. Sammarco is a noted author and historian of Boston, and his new book (which happens to be his 62nd book) is "Dorchester: A Compendium" which was recently published by The History Press. This well illustrated book is the author's fourth book on Dorchester and he was honored, in 1987, to be named Dorchester Town Historian in a proclamation from city of Boston mayor Raymond L. Flynn and to have been awarded the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the George Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation. "Dorchester: A Compendium" is a selection of historical articles that had appeared in the "Dorchester Community News" between 1982 and 2002, and which outlined the rich and ever evolving history of Dorchester, the largest neighborhood of the city of Boston. The author was encouraged by "Dorchester Community News" editors Mark Pickering, Margaret Lamb, Sean Cahill and Peter Van Delft to research and write these articles on the fascinating history, architecture and development of Dorchester.

The book has chapters on the Town of Dorchester; Societies and Clubs; Artists, Authors and Activists; Fellow Townswomen of Dorchester: Fellow Townsmen of Dorchester; Businesses and Industry. Te book is well illustrated with selections from the Archives and Special Collections of Healey Library at the University of Massachuetts in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Mr. Sammarco will prersent amillustrated slide lecture, followed by a book signing at the Dorchester Historical Society, 195 Boston Street, Dorchester, MA 02125 on Tuesday, June 21st at 7:00 PM. Free admission, for furthur information please call (617) 265-7802

An exerpt from the book follows:

William Monroe Trotter

William Monroe Trotter, a resident of Dorchester's Jones Hill neighborhood, was a leading civil rights leader and journalist at the turn of the twentieth century. His life, though short, was dedicated to bringing about the recognition of the achievements of African Americans in this country. Raised in the town of Hyde Park, William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) was the son of James Monroe Trotter, a schoolteacher who had served as a lieutenant in the Fifty-fifth Regiment of the Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry during the Civil War. This company was composed of African Americans who enlisted in the Civil War, and Trotter was a well-respected member of Company G. His son attended Hyde Park High School, serving as valedictorian of his class. He entered Harvard in 1890 and graduated in 1894, magna cum laude; he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious fraternity of which he was the first African American member. His friendship with William E.B. Du Bois, who was studying for his doctorate at Harvard, extended well into their careers as civil rights leaders. Du Bois, a graduate of Williams College, was the first African American to be awarded a doctorate from Harvard.

Following his graduation from Harvard, Trotter began his career as a real estate broker in Boston. However, in 1901, he founded the Guardian, a newspaper somewhat critical of the treatment of people of color. The main purpose of the newspaper, in Trotter's words, was "propaganda against discrimination based on color and denial of citizenship rights because of color." Trotter was a crusader and a born leader in this movement, and he chose for his newspaper office the building that William Lloyd Garrison, an ardent abolitionist, used for the publication of his antislavery newspaper, the Liberator, and also where Uncle Tom's Cabin was first printed. Trotter's editorship of the Guardian was respected, but he led a precarious life that required great self-denial. Trotter said of his chosen career that the conviction grew upon me that pursuit of business, money, civic or literary position was like building a house upon sands; if race prejudice and persecution and public discrimination for mere color was to spread up from the South and result in a fixed caste of color...every colored American would be really a civil outcast, forever an alien, in public life. His newspaper and his ardent belief in equality made him a respected citizen of this country. In 1905, with the assistance of Du Bois, he founded the Niagara Movement in New York, the forerunner of what we now know as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Trotter was a dedicated editor of his newspaper. He received great support from his wife, Geraldine L. Pindell, whom he married in 1899; they moved to 97 Sawyer Avenue in Dorchester. Geraldine Trotter's family had been ardent supporters of the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools in the 1850s, and her family encouraged her to attend college. Her support of her husband contributed to an apparently idyllic marriage. Their home, which still stands and has been declared a National Historic Landmark, looked out "over all the country as far as Blue Hill and from my bedroom window over all the bay down to the red buildings on Deer Island," said Trotter. This stable home life enabled him to become the "watchdog" of discrimination, as he became known.

Throughout his life, he was assisted and supported by his wife, who worked with him in the weekly publishing of the "Guardian." Her interests ran from the support of St. Monica's Home for elderly black women to petitioning the government to make African Americans serving in World War I more comfortable. Geraldine's death in 1918 during the influenza epidemic caused a void in her husband's life, and the editorial page of the Guardian had a dedication for the next sixteen years to this woman "who helped...so loyally, faithfully, conscientiously, unselfishly." Following World War I, Trotter led a delegation to Washington to protest the treatment of African Americans who were employed by the government. He was later to attend the Peace Conference in Paris as a delegate of the National Equal Rights League, which tried to outlaw discrimination. William Monroe Trotter dedicated his life not only to the full participation of African Americans in life but also to their self-realization, to the understanding that they, too, had opinions and should be allowed to express them freely. Trotter's life after his wife's death was precarious, and he was often bothered by the many problems facing him. He once said, "My burdens are more than I can bear, you don't understand, you see one side, the public another side, but I see the third side."

In 1969, the City of Boston named a public grammar school at 135 Humboldt Avenue in Roxbury in memory of William Monroe Trotter, and his home in Dorchester was named a National Historic Landmark. His career, though controversial at times, proved that he really did see the "third side," the side that had made him an ardent journalist, a civil rights leader, the "watchdog" of discrimination and one of Dorchester's proudest sons.

About Dorchester Historical Society

Dorchester Historical Society

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Press Release Submitted On: June 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm
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