HISTORY

Nick Sethi's painting on vinyl was part of an October 2021 installation called "Swamp Show." It took place in a cove of the Connecticut River in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Alex Rotondo / alexanderjrotondo.com

Along the Connecticut river, an oxbow in Northampton, Massachusetts, has long been a source for landscape paintings of tranquil beauty.

Charles Ryan, left, and his wife Joan celebrate his victory in the Springfield, Massachusetts, mayoral race at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club on Nov. 4, 2003.
Michael S. Gordon / The Republican / masslive.com

Charlie Ryan has died. He served as mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, during two distinct eras in the city’s history about 40 years apart.

A mural at the Pan African Historical Museum in Springfield's Tower Square. State Rep. Bud Williams' bill would authorize a new museum in the Mason Square neighborhood.
Tristan Smith / MassLive / masslive.com

Updated on Oct. 15, 2021

The Massachusetts Legislature held a hearing last week on a proposal that would lay the groundwork for a Black heritage museum and cultural center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Game of Life's signature spinner.
John Liu / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/8047705@N02

That’s life. Reuben Klamer has reached the end of his road.

The creator of the six-decade-old The Game of Life died recently at the age of 99.

Reverend Samuel Harrison, minster and chaplain who advocated for equal pay for Black soldiers during the Civil War.
courtesy Berkshire Athenaeum

The fight against systemic racism in the United States isn’t new. Some of its roots can be traced back to the activism of Black residents in western Massachusetts — to people like Elizabeth Freeman, Sojourner Truth and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Aging infrastructure increases risk of major flooding in area

Oct 5, 2021
The view from the Meriden, Connecticut, green after the area was flooded from Hurricane Ida.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought up to eight inches of rain and caused major flooding damage in parts of Connecticut in early September, while moderate flooding was reported in parts of western Massachusetts. Those were small events compared to some of the truly devastating floods in the Connecticut River valley.

A sign directing visitors to the Charles Neville exhibit at the Springfield Museums.
Kari Njiiri / NEPM

“Horn Man: The life and musical legacy of Charles Neville,” which opened earlier this summer at the Springfield Museums, pays tribute to the Grammy-winning saxophonist who died of cancer in April 2018 at age 79.

Audrey Helen Weber wrote and illustrated the children's  picture book, "On The Day the Horse Got Out."
Submitted Photo

"On the Day the Horse Got Out" is a rhyming picture book written and illustrated by Hampshire College graduate and Greenfield resident, Audrey Helen Weber. Weber said she has created "a lot of little self-published books" throughout the years, but this is her first “official book.”

"Survivor Tree," a new book from Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker, tells a story of the 9/11 attacks through the lens of a tree planted at ground zero.
Submitted

"Survivor Tree" is a children's book written by Marcie Colleen and illustrator Aaron Becker of Amherst, Massachusetts. It tells the story of a growing pear tree found beneath the ruins of the Twin Towers. Today, the tree thrives and is planted at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. 

The flyer put together by Dan Trant's family and distributed around ground zero, formerly the World Trade Center, where Trant worked on September 11, 2001.
Submitted

Dan Trant, a Westfield, Massachusetts, native recognized for his basketball playing in high school and college, died 20 years ago on 9/11. Trant was 40, married with children, and worked as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Vermont author Thomas Henry Pope pictured with his latest novel, "Imperfect Burials."
Gail Meyer / Submitted Photo

Bennington County, Vermont, is home to novelist Thomas Henry Pope. His latest novel is a spy thriller featuring a journalist on a quest for truth, surrounded by political intrigue.

Archaeologist Ann Morton discusses the Mohican archeological dig with volunteers Bradley Pitts and Rick Wilcox in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans wrapped up their second archeological dig in the Berkshires this summer with a discovery that could shift thinking about the tribe's history in the region.

Writer Kaitlyn Greenidge's most recent novel is a work of historical fiction called "Libertie."
Submitted / Syreeta McFadden

When writer Kaitlyn Greenidge heard about a 19th century woman who became one of the first Black female doctors in New York state, she knew she wanted to write about her.

Wally Funk (second from left) with six of the other first women astronaut trainees, in 1995.
Creative Commons / NASA

When nearly everyone else believed Wally Funk would never get a shot at space, she persisted. For years, Funk has pursued commercial space flight – but every opportunity fizzled.

The former Court Square Hotel at 31 Elm St. in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

A long-awaited project to bring more than 70 apartments to Court Square in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, could get underway in earnest this fall.

The floor of a Mohican house from the 1600s or even older. It was found during an archaeological dig in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Trevor Totman / Courtesy Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians

A goal of two archaeological digs conducted this summer by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians is to find evidence from the 1700s, when the tribe lived in a Christian community with white colonists. But the first of the digs in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, has turned up artifacts and other features that could be much older.

A photograph of a garden at Bill Noble's property in Norwich, Vermont. Bill Noble's personal garden is included in the Smithsonian Institution's Archive of American Gardens.
Image used with author's permission

Garden designer and author Bill Noble says gardening is about feeling connected and getting familiar with your chosen piece of earth.

The Springfield Armory in June 2018.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site will reopen to visitors on Friday, July 2, after being closed for more than a year.

A drawing shows the site of a meetinghouse built in 1739 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The area is the focus of an archaeological dig in summer 2021.
Indian Proprietor Book / Stockbridge Town Clerk's Office

The Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican community is conducting two archaeological digs in western Massachusetts this summer.

The advent of Juneteenth as a federal holiday this year also saw the day more widely celebrated than ever in Connecticut. While the state’s larger and more diverse cities have long held annual Juneteenth events, many of Connecticut’s smaller towns also marked the occasion this year.

The United States federal government has recognized June 19th, or Juneteenth, as a holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the very last slaves living in Texas received word that they had been freed two and a half years earlier from President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth has been celebrated in the Black community for generations, but is now gaining awareness across the nation.

Residents begin cleanup work on Beech Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, after a deadly tornado ripped through the city on June 1, 2011.
Michael S. Gordon / The Republican / masslive.com

This week marks 10 years since a devastating tornado ripped through a swath of western Massachusetts. Three people were killed and 200 injured, and it caused more than $200 million in damages.

A scene on the street in Washington, D.C.
Daniel Lobo / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera

Reparations are systems of redress for state-sponsored injustices. They’re meant to repair past harms and have been implemented for various injured individuals and groups. But none have ever been made to the victims of slavery and their descendants. 

A hand recount shows that Simsbury voters overwhelmingly approved a multimillion-dollar land deal in their town Tuesday evening, after a ballot preparation error led to thousands of votes not getting recorded by a machine tabulator. 

Interior of Red Cross House and U.S. General Hospital No. 16 in New Haven, Connecticut, during the influenza epidemic in 1918 or 1919. The beds are isolated by curtains.
American National Red Cross photograph collection / Library of Congress / LC-DIG-anrc-02679

When an epidemic — or pandemic — strikes, the media becomes the frame for the public's understanding. These news narratives also serve as essential pieces of the historical record.

Evan Lewis with a picture of his great-grandfather Lent Shaw.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

People have been making the case for reparations for Black Americans for decades, and there are signs of forward movement.

A funeral service for Black Americans lynched and never buried was held in 2016 at a church in Springfield, Massachusetts. The story of Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker and why she produced the funeral is featured in the documentary "Ashes to Ashes."
Ben Moon / benmoon.com

Updated at 3:59 p.m. on March 31 

The documentary "Ashes to Ashes" tells the story of a friendship between an Amherst, Massachusetts, doctor and a New Haven, Connecticut, man who became an artist decades after he survived being lynched. In the film, their story coincides with a funeral service held for thousands of Black Americans who didn’t survive.

This year's version of Tinky Weisblat's matzo ball soup, recipe courtesy of her grandmother, who is alleged to have been either a spy or a smuggler in her youth.
Tinky Weisblat / Courtesy of the author

My father’s mother wasn’t what I’d call kitchen-oriented. As a young woman in Poland, she lived a busy life outside the home. We were told she’d been a spy in her youth. Or maybe a smuggler. The tales were murky.

Boston has a new acting mayor: Outgoing Boston City Council President Kim Janey has taken the reigns from Marty Walsh, who now heads to Washington as President Biden’s labor secretary.

Janey is the 55th mayor of Boston, but she is the first woman and the first Black person to lead from City Hall.

The great seal of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, from a gravestone in the Stockbridge Cemetery.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

When Stockbridge, Massachusetts, residents hold their annual Town Meeting this spring, they'll vote on whether to take steps to return centuries-old documents to the indigenous tribe that once helped govern the town.

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