Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire to mark prominent Andover residents

  • A sculpture by Winslow Eaves depicting Marian Anderson, a champion of civil rights and singer from the mid-1900s. Courtesy – Black Heritage Trail of NH

  • BHTNH—NH Veterans Home

Monitor staff
Published: 1/17/2021 5:21:25 PM

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, a nonprofit organization that brings attention to the state’s African-American history, will extend its reach to Andover to mark the lives of noted residents Richard Potter and Winslow Eaves.

The expansion was prompted by the donation of a sculpture created by Eaves, who lived in Andover for 50 years, moving there in 1952.

The sculpture depicts Marian Anderson, a champion of civil rights and African American singer from the mid-1900s. Anderson was most known for her 1939 concert in which she sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at the Lincoln Memorial after members of the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow her to sing at its Constitution Hall.

It was that concert that inspired Eaves to create the sculpture, which stands about 2½ feet tall.

The sculpture was donated by Dana Dakin, who decided to give it to the organization in preparation for the presidential inauguration. It will be added to the Black Heritage Trail’s permanent collection in Portsmouth and available for public viewing in the summer, according to the nonprofit.

“The sculpture reminds me how deeply art can make us feel injustice and learn to act,” Dakin said in a statement. “Clearly, art leads the way in expressing injustice.”

In exchange, one of the trail’s historical markers will be placed at the Andover Historical Society, which is located in a part of town known as the village of Potter Place. This village bears its name because it holds the homestead and grave site of Richard Potter, a well-known Black magician and ventriloquist who performed across the United States in the early 19th century.

New Hampshire has a rich, but often overlooked African heritage that began when the first known enslaved Black person was brought from Guinea, West Africa in 1645. By the Revolution, more than 700 Black people were brought to New Hampshire, according to the Black Heritage Trail.

The organization’s Historical Marker Program is a network of 24 plaques across the state that mark important pieces of Black history that have evolved since the 1600s. The newest plaque in Andover will be unveiled in the fall of 2021.

Eaves’s sculptures have been shown across the globe – the Metropolitan and Whitney Museums in New York, in galleries in Manchester, Paris, Boston, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale and Syracuse.

After accepting a teaching position at Dartmouth, he moved his family to Andover and quickly became known for parties and social events for other artists in the state. Eaves – who is white and died in 2003 – was also active in many local art associations, such as the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and the New Hampshire Council on the Arts.

Organizations and municipalities interested in erecting a plaque can request an application to begin the process. The Black Heritage Trail covers half the cost of the marker.

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