About the Black Artists of Boston Project

The Black Artists of Boston Project began as a collaborative endeavor between a graduate class at Northeastern University, a local performance artist Dzidzor Azaglo, and a group of community elders, who as artists, have been working in and around Boston for over thirty years. Professors Lee and Nieves were tasked with creating a new oral history and ethnography course for graduate students in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) that would develop their skills in the craft of ethnography while also training them to integrate community members and values into their work.

The Office of Community Engagement, with the help of Ms. Chelsea Lauder, identified a project partner, Ms. Dzidzor Azaglo as someone who could connect the class to a vibrant group of local artists and support a project that centered the contributions of these artists to the Boston arts scene, as well as nationally and internationally. The course became a platform for honoring the contributions of eight multi-talented local artists (De Ama Battle, Bruno Eddie, Ife Franklin, Napolean Jones Henderson, Jacqueline L. McRath, Dale Patterson, Susie Smith, & Valerie Stephens) in a pilot phase of the project that, if successful, will usher in a long term effort on the part of CSSH and the Public History Program at Northeastern to begin a series of projects on the contemporary Black arts movement and its legacies. The project is unique because it is in partnership with community members and works to co-create the series of interventions that help tell these stories. The website here acts as a portal or an introductory gateway to the artists and their work, but more importantly to the stories of their lives and contributions to Boston’s history. This is the beginning of a kind of digital directory or gazette of Black artists that will continue to grow as we build relationships, listen, and learn from our community partners and elders. We hope that this website becomes a resource for others to both access these artists and learn more about this vibrant, dynamic, and creative community.

The students in this course, which was the first time Lee and Nieves taught the course, reflected on their experience, "We’re taking this course on "Documenting Fieldwork Narratives" to think about how history, memory, and archiving are important tools to document community experiences. We are interested in how our methods of documentation have historically excluded marginalized groups and how to address that in our methods. One main goal is to showcase our immediate community neighbors and how their experience of making a creative life and cultural community can enrich our understanding of Boston. This is a collaborative project that is co-created with you as the driving force. We hope to provide a venue or vehicle for the stories that you feel are missing or are important for your community and your work as an artist."

Boston Jazz History: Historical Markers Tour

View the Boston Jazz History Historical Markers here

Click the links below to download PDF resources for the Historical Markers Tour:


Istiakh Ahmed

Istiakh is a PhD student in Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University with a concentration in Sustainability and Resilience. His research focuses on climate induced non-economic loss and damage at the community level in Asia and Africa. He has his BSS and MSS in Anthropology from Jahangirnagar University. Istiakh has seven years of research experience on issues related to climate change vulnerability, adaptation and loss and damage.

Kiley Atkins

Kiley graduated from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island in 2021, with a double major in American history and cultural and historic preservation. Her field work has focused on community partnership, including researching and developing an archive for a community center in her hometown.

Erin Carr

Erin graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2017, earning a BA in History with a minor in Classical Civilizations and memberships in Phi Alpha Theta and Tau Beta Sigma. Her fieldwork has focused on archival management and collection policy development at Historic Northampton and The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire.

Victoria Dey

Victoria Dey earned her B.A. in French and International Relations from the University of Rochester in 2021 and began the World History doctoral program at Northeastern University the following semester.

Janika Dillon

Janika Dillon graduated with honors from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in German. She then completed a joint master's degree in Organizational Behavior and International Development from the BYU Marriott School of Business. Janika is now pursuing an M.A. in Public History at Northeastern.

Allison Donine

Allison Donine is a third-year PhD student and member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI). Allison received an en-route MA in Sociology from Northeastern University and a BA in Environmental Policy from Pitzer College.

Avery Ferro

Avery graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Connecticut State University in 2020 with her bachelors in History and minor in Public History. She is a second year Public History M.A. She has completed a variety of fieldwork from archival work to creating walking tours.

Samantha Frost

Samantha Frost joined Northeastern’s public history master’s program after completing a B.A. at Framingham State University in 2021, where she graduated summa cum laude with a major in history and minors in anthropology and museum studies. Her undergraduate honors thesis explored the social, economic, and political impact of the homespun movement during the American Revolution, earning her the Nels Andrew Cleven Founders Award in undergraduate research from the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society.

Anna Halgash

Anna Halgash is from Corning, New York. She graduated magna cum laude from The College of Wooster and double-majored in English and History. For Anna’s Fall 2019 semester, she studied abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. Her junior and senior year capstone papers explored the romanticization of British ballads in Appalachia by early twentieth-century musicologists and 1960s folk singers, respectively.

Callie Hansson


Callie Hansson is a doctoral student at Northeastern in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Previously, they attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where they earned a B.A. in Journalism.

Thomas Larose

Thomas Larose spent the last three and a half years serving as an Armor Officer in the United States Army, based out of Fort Hood, TX. Prior to commissioning he attended Clark University in Worcester, MA where he graduated Cum Laude in 2017, with a B.A in American History. He currently pursuing Master in history at Notheastern University.

Claire Lavarreda

Claire Lavarreda is a World History Ph.D. student at Northeastern University, focusing on Indigenous history, archives, memory, and material culture. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2021, where she majored in History and Social Sciences and minored in Spanish.

Savita Maharaj

Savita Maharaj (course teaching assistant) is a B.A. Candidate in English with minors in Africana Studies and Writing at Northeastern University.

Miranda Melson

Miranda Melson joined Northeastern’s Sociology Ph.D program in 2020 and earned her B.A. in sociology, French, and global studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Rose-Laura Meus

Rose-Laura Meus is currently a B.A. Candidate in International Affairs and History at Northeastern University who is also pursuing an M.A. in World History

Oscar Navarro-Alvarez

Oscar Navarro-Alvarez is a doctoral student in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. His research interests include barriers to reentry and desistance among gangs and other hidden populations. He is a graduate research assistant for Megan Denver and Rod Brunson in the Center for Crime and Community Resilience.

Titilayo Odedele

Titilayo Odedele is a graduate of Boston College, where she received her B.A. in Sociology, and Northeastern University, where she received her MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice. They are currently pursing her Ph.D in sociology at Northeastern Universtiy.

Kristin Økland

Kristin is a PhD student in world history whose academic emphasis focuses on the Web and Internet in the 1990s into the early 2000s as well as the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Morgan Richards

Morgan Richards graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a B.A. in the History of Art and Architecture and a minor in French. She is currently pursing an M.A. in Public History at Northeastern University.

Laurel Schlegel

Laurel Schlegel is a first year Public History M.A. student at Northeastern University. She graduated from the University of Denver in 2021 with a bachelors in History and minors in Spanish and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Her research interests include oral history and community activism. Laurel has done a variety of internships including work for the Veterans Legacy Program and National History Day, gaining valuable experience in archival research and public history. She is currently working for the Boston Research Center at Northeastern University.

Giorgia Shields

Giorgia Shields joined Northeastern’s sociology Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2019. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Georgia State University, and an M.A. in women’s and gender studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Shavaun Sutton

Shavaun Sutton is a second-year doctoral student. She holds an M.A. in public health in Community Health Sciences from SUNY Downstate School of Public Health.

Cassie Tanks

Cassie Tanks is a first year World History Ph.D. student at Northeastern University. During the course of her studies, Cassie aims to deepen her engagement with public facing historical and archival work, as well as explore the histories of the Cold War, paramilitarism, liberation, and veterans experiences. She is a research assistant for Dr. Angel David Nieves and his 3D spatial history publication, Apartheid Heritage(s), and Reckonings.

Catarina Tchakerian

Catarina graduated with honors from Texas A&M University in December of 2020 with a BA in History and minors in French and Museum Studies. As an undergraduate, Catarina interned with the National Museum of American History, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Fort Necessity National Battlefield, completing projects in research, archives, and public interpretation.

Vanessa Torres


Vanessa Torres (She/Her/Ella) graduated from University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in Chicana/o/x-Latina/o/x Studies with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Literary Journalism in 2021. She currently pursing an Ph.D in history at Northeastern University.

Anna Zhang

Anna Zhang is a second-year Sociology PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Anna completed her BA in History and Sociology with a minor in East Asian Studies at Simmons University in Boston, MA.


Doreen Lee

Doreen Lee is associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Lee writes, researches, and teaches about urban politics, Southeast Asia, and critical theory.

Ángel David Nieves

Ángel David Nieves is Professor of Africana Studies, History, and Digital Humanities in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) at Northeastern University and is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of English and in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. He is currently Director of the Graduate Program in Public History and Director of Public Humanities in CSSH.


Dzidzor Azaglo

Dzidzor (Jee-Jaw) is a Ghanian-American folklore, performing artist, author, and curator. Dzidzor's style of call and response has combined traditional storytelling in Afro-folklore and Poetry Slam through a sonic experience. Dzidzor is moved by the responsibility to alarm the power/abundance in the midst of bodies while creating a practice of care and freedom through creativity. Dzidzor is the founder of Black Cotton Club and partners with Grubstreet, ICA Boston, and Boston Public Schools to teach creative empowerment workshops in Boston.