With gratitude to our partners at History Cambridge and the Black Coral Inc. artist collaborative, a bottle tree from “Forgotten Souls of Tory Row: Remembering the Enslaved People of Brattle Street” will be on view on our front lawn from now through Juneteenth, June 19. The installation honors the enslaved adults and children who lived and worked on this land, as well as those whose labor on Caribbean plantations helped finance the grand homes of white Tory Row elites.
The bottle tree tradition originated in West Africa and was brought to the United States by enslaved people. The tradition was passed down through generations, marking the survival of a cultural practice despite the bonds of slavery. The distinctive blue bottles were placed on trees to capture the energy, spirit, and memories of ancestors.