Illuminating History: The Vermont African American Heritage Trail

May 19, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

View the recording of this event here.

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, will discuss 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.


Curtiss Reed, Jr. is President of the CRJ Consulting Group, L3C and Executive Director of Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity. Reed provides expert training and coaching on inclusion, bias, and equity to state agency, municipal, institutional, and business clients as well as community organizations across Vermont. He serves as Chair of the Vermont Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and sits on statewide commissions dealing with law enforcement, education, and minority health issues.

Reed is the driving force behind four statewide initiatives: the Vermont African American Heritage Trail, the Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future, I Am A Vermonter, and the Think Tank for Vermont Leaders of Color. After 18 years working and living overseas in Arabic, Portuguese, and French speaking countries, Reed returned to Vermont in 2001. Reed’s consulting experience spans four decades in both international and domestic markets. In 2015 the School for International Training Graduate Institute awarded Reed a Doctorate of Humane Letters Honoris Causa for his life’s work to make Vermont a desirable destination for all.