When curator David Rios Ferreira invited Jennifer Mack-Watkins to create a new body of work to be exhibited at BMAC, Mack-Watkins, whose artwork explores issues surrounding Black visibility and representation, began researching the history of African Americans in Vermont. It was not long before she encountered the Vermont African American Heritage Trail and, from there, the legacy of Daisy Turner (1883-1998), which would become an important source of inspiration for Mack-Watkins’s BMAC exhibit, “Children of the Sun.”
The Vermont African American Heritage Trail identifies museums, historical societies, and historic roadside site markers commemorating the people and places that inspire local pride and promote appreciation of Vermont’s African American heritage. Originally consisting of 16 sites, it has since grown to 30, with plans to expand further in the future. In this live Zoom presentation, Brattleboro’s Curtiss Reed, Jr., who founded the Vermont African American Heritage Trail in 2013, discusses the history and future of the trail and the vital heritage it illuminates.
The Vermont African American Heritage Trail is an initiative of Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and selected local historical societies and museums. “Jennifer Mack-Watkins: Children of the Sun” is on view at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center March 18-June 13, 2021, and virtually at http://www.brattleboromuseum.org.