Guided Tours

Sankofa Guided Tours 

Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

Sankofa Guided Tours are presented by the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. The PBHT, founded in 1995, works to preserve, celebrate and honor the history and culture of the African-American community in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire region. With distinctive bronze plaques that identify the community from its colonial-era African Burying Ground to the modern Civil Rights Movement, the Trail is proud to serve as a model across the country on what it means to raise public awareness and appreciation for a region not known for its Black history.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours will start at 2 pm at the Liberty Flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.  Each tour ends at the site of the African Burying Ground and Memorial Park.  

Tickets are $20 pp ON SALE HERE or by cash onsite.  Group size is limited to 25 people

 

MAY 13, JUN 3, JUL 1 (INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND), AUG 5, SEP 9

Let Freedom Ring: Resistance, Abolition and Civil Rights                                                         

 Sankofa Tour Guide: Nur Shoop

Colonial Portsmouth newspapers testify to local the slave trade, runaways, abolitionists and anti-abolitionist activities, followed by conflicting opinions of the Civil War. In the 20th century, the legacy of that early history was reflected in news about de facto segregation in housing and public places. This tour includes many of those historic landmarks.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

MAY 20, JUN 10, JUL 8, AUG 12, SEP 16

Creating Community: White Enterprise and Black Society                                          

 Sankofa Tour Guide: Angela Matthews

Institutionalized slavery in the Americas provided immense wealth and material culture to many European immigrants and their descendants in the Americas, as Portsmouth’s house museums bear witness. This tour brings into focus an economic system dependent upon the unpaid labor of enslaved African captives and their descendants who, against the odds, created one of this country’s oldest Black communities.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

JUL 15, AUG 26, SEP 23

Out of the Shadows: Enslavement and Emancipation

Sankofa Tour Guide: Kevin Mitchell

Daily life for enslaved children and adults in New England was variable according to the occupations of their owners and the changing seasons of the year. Captives became taxable property with few human rights, yet each individual was endowed with a particular range of abilities and talents, with different experiences and opportunities shaping their lives before, during and after enslavement. This tour will reveal some of these personalities.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

JUN 24, JUL 22

Port of Entry: Boys and Girls for Sale

Sankofa Tour Guide:  JerriAnne Boggis

Local newspapers carried merchants’ ads for ships returning to the port of Portsmouth laden with cargo from trade ports on the West Coast of Africa, the West Indies and the middle Atlantic coastal cities of Colonial America. Visit local wharves and auction sites related to the Atlantic Slave Trade, where a captive could be exchanged for “cash or good lumber” to serve in the master’s house or work on the docks or on a ship. See how slavery in the North compared to the South.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

MAY 27 (MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND) 

African Burying Grounds at Langdon Farm, North Cemetery and Chestnut Street

Sankofa Tour Guides:  Valerie Cunningham & Kevin Mitchell

Visit the gravesites of enslaved Africans who served two of Colonial Portsmouth’s most prominent families. Then proceed to the African Burying Ground Memorial created at the built-over resting place of unidentified people who once walked on Chestnut Street.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

JUN 17 (JUNETEENTH)

Celebrating Juneteenth                                       

Sankofa Tour Guide: Kevin Mitchell

The observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in the fall of 1862, declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever be free,” it was not until June 19th 1865, two years later, that the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas got the news that the war had ended and they were free.
See Juneteenth Event for more information

JUL 29, SEP 30

Backyards and Cellar Holes, (Warner House)

Sankofa Tour Guide:  Valerie Cunningham


NOTE: This tour meets at the Warner House on Daniel St. at 2pm
As focus shifts from the front of the house to the backyards and cellar holes of New Hampshire’s historic house museums, we consider the material culture experienced by household servants, including those whose black bodies had helped create white family wealth.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

AUG 19 

Armchair Tour: Reflections on Visit to the National Museum (Portsmouth Library)

Observations and reactions will be shared by participants in a sponsored group tour of the country’s first national museum of African American history. This open conversation will welcome comments and questions from those in the audience who have been there or plan to visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

SEP 2 (LABOR DAY WEEKEND)

Ona Marie Judge, Freedom Seeker                                  

Sankofa Tour Guide: JerriAnne Boggis 

This is the true story of one young worker whose desire for freedom was greater than her devotion to the family who had enslaved her mother and was promising her a lifetime of bondage. Using her only assets, her ingenuity and the help of her friends, she was able to escape the Philadelphia household who owned her body. Ona Marie Judge Staines lived the rest of her years in a small New Hampshire town, still a fugitive but resisting re-enslavement by the wife of the first American president.

Tours are $20 pp
Purchase Online
or pay cash onsite.

Unless otherwise noted, all tours meet at 2 pm at the flagpole on Marcy Street, across from Strawbery Banke Museum.

Contact Info
Mail: PO Box 6772, Portsmouth NH 03801
Phone: 617-539-6886
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Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire works to visibly honor and celebrate a truer more inclusive state’s history through exhibits, programs and tours that can change the way our country understands human dignity when it is free of historical stereotypes.

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