Connected \\ June 17, 2022
This June PEM celebrates extraordinary moments in local Black history
Amid mass shootings and the widening political division over our future, on June 19, we will pause to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. At PEM, we are especially excited about an exhibition from our library collection that examines how US schools became integrated. And it happened right here in Salem. The show’s title, Let None Be Excluded: The Origins of Equal School Rights in Salem, comes from an issue of The American Anti Slavery Almanac, on display in the gallery. “As soon as we saw that phrase, we said, ‘That's the one. That's it,’” said Dan Lipcan, PEM’s Ann C. Pingree Director of PEM’s Phillips Library.
Dan Lipcan and Doreen Wade in the gallery. Photo by Ellie Dolan.
Record from the school committee, 1843–44. Photo by Kathy Tarantola.
“Kabria and I talked about seeing if the school committee had any documentation on these meetings,” said Lipcan. “It was like a shot in the dark. Like, let's just ask them. We'll see what they know. They went through some basement room. They found this volume.”
Meanwhile, the Remond family went on to speak out against slavery internationally, joining up with the likes of Frederick Douglass. Sarah Parker Remond, born free in Massachusetts, which was at the center of the abolitionist movement, wrote a searing essay describing her expulsion at 10 years old from Salem’s East School for Girls.
Photographer in the United States, Sarah Parker Remond, about 1865, Albumen print. Gift of Miss Cecelia R. Babcock. Phillips Library, Salem Streets Collection, PH322. Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.