Cuffe Lawton House
62 Bedford Street, New Bedford, MA
Cuffe Lawton was an African American who was born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1789. A student at the African Free School in Newton, he was a member of the Free African Union Society there as well as clerk of the African Benevolent Society. He had moved to New Bedford by 1826, where he was a laborer for whaling merchants on their vessels and also around their homes. Lawton helped fit whaling ships and cleaned yards for whaling merchant Charles W. Morgan; he once sawed “old wood at Candleworks” from Morgan’s ship Francis Henrietta. In 1834 Lawton bought this property on Bedford Street from Joseph S. Tillinghast, a fire insurance agent who lived on lower Walnut Street, for $575.
Local history and self-guided tours are presented in collaboration with the New Bedford Historical Society and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Visitors can also access interactive digital components, VR tours, and videos originally created for the New Bedford Historical Society and UMass Dartmouth’s exhibition, Black Spaces Matter: Celebrating New Bedford’s Abolition Row.
This exhibition will be shown free and open to the public in downtown New Bedford outdoors at the YMCA green space on Union Street, between N. 2nd Street and N. Water Street from June 16 to September 12.
The Black Spaces Matter project is collaboration between UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty, local New Bedford experts, and the New Bedford Historical Society.
Black Spaces Matter was exhibited from November 19, 2017 — January 29, 2018 at the Boston Architectural College’s McCormack Gallery, 320 Newbury St. Boston, MA, and from November 8, 2018 — January 30, 2019 at UMass Dartmouth’s University Gallery, 715 Purchase St. New Bedford, MA 02740.
Black Spaces Matter is supported by New Bedford Historical Society, Creative Economy Fund from the Office of the UMass President, UMass Dartmouth Provost Office, Perkins + Will Associates, Rotch–Jones–Duff House and Garden Museum, Spinner Publications, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
Consultant: Lee Blake | Lead curator: Pamela Karimi | Architectural renderings, model production, and maps: Pedram Karimi and students in Architecture and Sustainability class | Film, animation, and digital curation: Don Burton | Artistic representations: Michael Swartz | Consultants for the Documentaries: Janine da Silva, Ann Marie Lopes | Advertisement and graphic design: Ziddi Msangi, Racsa Soun, Vasco Pedro and students in Community Engagement Design studio | Digital stations: Michael Swartz, Don Burton, Ben Guan-Kennedy, and Merri Cyr | Production Manager: Jennifer McGrory | Curatorial assistance: CVPA students, Cynthia Raposa, Mark Walker, and gallery director, Viera Levitt.
New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Pop-up Performance
Music is both a doorway and a shelter. Musicians of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert at our Custom House Square installation with a program of music that embodies the spirit of both these enduring values.