The continuity between Africa and today’s Black Boston has been consistent since the first Africans set foot in Boston. Early America documentation records the year 1638 when it happened. Boston Ma, founded September 7, 1630, grew up on African power. Before they came, the colony was a floundering, unsustainable mess. Indians knew this. English investors lost money on it. The Africans and the beaver gave them a break, remarkably so.
This is a 1930 made replica of the ship named Arbella, a 1630s cargo vessel known to carry cargo, people and slaves. The Arbella was used to bring 1,000 more Pilgrims to the settlement in 1630 after Pilgrims landed.
The colony grew and became a calling card for others from England to come here. The first blacks in Massachusetts were more important than the air. They were the money, the currency whites used to capitalize the new world. These Africans never did make it back to Africa. Naturally, a black community took shape in Boston and blossomed. It was the first. The first Africans in Boston Massachusetts are as old as the Pilgrims.
Where Black People Are In Boston
For a city with 138,000 African Americans and over 200,000 blacks, Boston is a majority-minority city.
Run this video to hear people talking about being Black in Boston. Hear Boston Globe Associate Editor and Op-ed columnist Renee Graham, poet Charles Coe, historian Kerri Greenidge, and Boston’s Chief Resiliency Officer, Dr. Atyia Martin discuss it.
Where to go find Black Entertainment
Black Night Clubs just got a boost when Slade’s Bar and Grill at 958 Tremont Street, Ruggles and the South End, was acquired by Black entrepreneurs. It is a multi-function, multi-purpose club licensed for hundreds of occupants. Slades offers full service bar, live performance, DJ sets, soul food, and Black atmosphere. Doors open early.and stay open till after 1 AM.
Most Black-owned night clubs in Boston are not nearly as big and nor do they offer the full suite of services and product as Slades does. Look around Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan on the major street avenues and there will be small Black-owned clubs. These have been around a while. Their address signs are worn and torn. In these small bars, neighborhood folks gather. These are the small everybody knows your name dive bars with a little food and some great company is how I would describe them. The neighborhood Black-owned dive bars are not listed by Improper Boston magazine. They are not going to list them as the best dive bar in Boston, but they can be.
The Black night club and cocktail mixer entertainment scene is created by social organizers who book function rooms, boat rides, night clubs, beaches and outdoor parks.
The organizers invite targeted audiences such as black students in college and universities, hip-hop community, alt-music lovers and R&B, jazz of course, multicultural social millenials, urban professionals, black techie meetups, 50+ and and seniors. There are over 50 black affinity groups doing things. To name a few, there is the Oynx Birds (travel), Young Professionals Network (Urban League), Hack.Diversity (startup biz and tech company interns), Boston Ski Party (black family oriented skiers), Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts (cause related), Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (Business Development) and others… see a longer list here
Portability is another characteristic of Boston black night club environment. Event producers book space all over the area. They rely on e-mail and social media to attract audience. You can find these invitees at roof top hotel bars, casinos, cruise boats, hotel bars or their function halls, restaurants, downtown and suburban destinations, creative space addresses and locations where fashion and cocktails and music can be managed easily. The party moves around, no doubt. It might be on a brick and mortar space or it might be on a boat headed to the Vineyard.
Monroe’s in Cambridge and Mosley’s on the Charles, Thelonious Monkfish and VFW meeting houses are just a few host locations for clubbing. There’s the Bella Luna and the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain that’s been around a while. SAVVOY , The Good Life , the Foundation Room at Fenway, the MFA Museum of Fine Arts; #WhatdoDoNow EpiCenter dates.
Google “KILLERBOOM BOX,” “KICKBACK BOSTON,” “Ethnic Online” and “LITEWORK EVENTS” to tap active producers of Black and multicultural night club events in Boston.
Boston has a healthy soul food scene. Choices are aplenty. You can go out and eat in style with fancy drinks and atmosphere. You can do take out or have soul food delivered to your door steps.
These Black-owned brands are known for soul food and contemporary cuisine. This list is not exhaustive. Tell us who we are missing.
There is Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen and Slade’s Bar and Grill both in the South End, Down Home Delivery and Catering in the hood in Dorchester, Sweet Cheeks is on Boylston Street Fenway, Next Step Soul Food Cafe is a new kid on the block food reviewers rave about, there is the Dudley Street Fish Market founded by a BPS teachers that makes dinners and sells fresh caught fish. , Washington Street Dorchester, The Coast Cafe in Cambridgeport Cambridge, SAVVOR Restaurant and Lounge South Boston, BRED sandwich shop in Lower Mills Dorchester, The Rotisserie on Warren Street Grove Hall Roxburu,
SEAFOOD – The Dudley Seafood Market in Uphams Corner is owned by Black teacher-entrepreneur Cassandra Morgan. She sells dinners and fresh caught seafood. The Legals restaurant empire is not black owned, but they are convenient. And you cna buy sushi everywhere.
African and other Black restaurants
Suya Joint All African Cuisine at 185 Dudley Street, Roxbury, Ashur Restaurant is behind Roxbury Community College at 291 Roxbury Street, The Ethiopan Addis Red Sea restaurant at 544 Tremont St Boston, MA 02116; the Safari African Restaurant of Mattapan at 1336 Blue Hill Ave, Prestige Cuisine at 924 Morton St, Mattapan, Teranga the Senegalese South End 1746 Washington, Jamaica Plain has the Ethopian Blue Nile at 389 Centre Street, there is Bintimani an African restaurant located in Dudley Square at 1121 Harrison Ave.
Caribbean, Haitian and Jamaican restaurants
The Caribbean Restaurant Cluster: Start in Dorchester at the intersection of Talbot Street and Washington Street. Stay on Washington Street heading into town and you will see 10 or more Caribbean and Jamaican restaurants lining the streets all the way up to the Columbia Road intersection. You will pass the Kentucky Fried Chicken sitting there looking lonely and forgotten.
Six Caribbean and Jamaican restaurants are clustered at an intersection. In Boston’s affordable rent neighborhoods there are as many Jamaican cuisine ROTI sandwich shops and restaurants as there are Chinese food joints. Haitian restaurants are well represented in Dorchester and Mattapan.
JAZZ Wally’s Jazz Pub on Massachusetts Avenue is kicking it still. When I think of Wally’s I think of Sonny fortune, Coltrane and Guinness beer. This dive bar jazz palace, conversation space is extremely special. You need to go sit there more than once. You need to hear what’s in the walls. Do not take a large crowd with you. I don’t think the space has more than 10 chairs, maybe 20, that’s it. Its a small space and its very very nice to your head to go.
Boston Black Radio is an Internet and Facebook live medium When surveyed, over 80% of African Americans in the country said they listen to a radio station sometime during their day. In Boston – that means they listen and watch broadcasters on Facebook Live and at their web sites when they are not listening to on-air radio. I cannot emphasize enough how important the audio streaming and Facebook Live has become to the Boston Black radio marketplace. Stations to listen to are: Bass of Boston, Boston Praise Radio and TV, Big City FM, Touch FM 106.1, BNN TV Radio, and others.
Go there for current daily doses of community voice and leadership. You’ll hear the owner of the largest Black-owned bank in the United States, the CEO management of BEIJ, the Boston-based Black Economic Institute of Justice www.bejii.org and MAMLEO, the Massachusetts Minority Law Enforcement Officers Organization. Arts, Cultural and Education leaders are there. The clergy holds it all down solid. The Black Boston Black politics show “Politics and Grits” was heard there too. The station records and archives everything. You can stream it back from YouTube anytime you want. Donate!
YPN-ULEM, BostonFab, Ethnic Online, StyleitUp, LiteWorks, KickBackBoston, EpiCenter Community KillerBoomBox, LipStikandPolitics, see full list.
Go to Hibernian Hall at 184 Dudley Square in Roxbury. Check out the schedules online.
Emerson College ArtsEmerson, Company One, and The Huntington Theatre are destinations to catch Broadway shows, actors actresses.
FILM – The Roxbury Film Festival Seven days in July with events programmed all year long, Google the Roxbury Film Festival, a showcase home to filmmakers of color from around the world headquartered in Boston.
The Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill MAAH.ORG is an official National Parks Service history site, home of the first school built by free blacks and location for a museum store, lectures and events.
The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists www.ncaa.org. The Museum is located at 300 Walnut Avenue in Roxbury, MA and open Tuesday through Sunday from 1pm until 5pm. Adult admission to the Museum is $5.00. Senior and children admission is $4.00. Group tours are available. Please call (617) 442-8014 or send an e-mail to email@example.com for more information.
Blacks on Boston television.
The BASIC BLACK TV series show on the PBS WGBH 2 network has been on air longer than Professor Henry Louis Gates. The show covers Black issues that affect Black Boston and the world. People of color show up as reporters, anchors, host and production personnel across the landscape of local network television. The stations FOX 25, WCVB, WHDH, WBGH, NECN, BNN-TV Comcast Channel 23 and 9 and PressPassTV put face of color on screens. Hosts Karen Holmes Ward of CityLine and Bryon Barnett of Urban Update and Callie Crossley of Basic Black are the gold standard for African American television influences in the region. Ms Crossley was recently added as a Trustee of Wellesley College, the alma mater of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Blacks on the Internet are found on the world’s first Boston Black and Gold colored web site named the Online Guides to Black Boston and AboutBlackBoston Online.
Some of the African American oriented Boston based web sites and their associated social media channels are offered by The Blackstonian media company and The BayState BannerAfrican American owned newspaper. The independent @BlackBoston Tweets channel and associated sites AboutBlackBoston.com, Roxbury.TV, Boston.Blacksoftware.com, Movef.com and Smallwall.net – the affordable housing supply site we maintain, are active online
Depending on whether you count smartphones, computers or tablets, Blacks in Boston are all over the Internet. Black public transportation riders use bigger phone screens than white people use. When Verizon made a decision to open its first ever LTE 4G wireless data service in the United States, Ground Zero for testing and turn-up was the Orchard Gardens apartment complex area,Jackson Square in Jamaica Plain and the Dudley Square block where Nubian Notion once was. This writer was a big data collector for Verizon working with the “Can you hear me now” teams, which had a black project manager from New Jersey running it.
Mark this Jan 10th, 2017 that the @BlackBoston Twitter follower count was 2,100 when this article was first released. Today during revision, the @BlackBoston Tweets follower count was over 2,200.
Our viewers represent Greater Boston. They are diverse.
Watch the Blackstonian.com community news site online for breaking news and projects. Malcom X and Kwanzaa events are organized by BlackInfoNow.org – the Boston Black Community Information Center. Read the 45 year old African American-owned newspaper named The Boston Banner for quality reporting on Black community issues. The Black Boston TWITTER Tweets connect is @blackboston.