MVSB has purchased $5,000 in tax credits through the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) in support of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH). These funds will support the organization’s goal to raise awareness of NH’s Black history in order to build a more inclusive community. The $5,000 is additional to the $25,000 tax credit purchase MVSB made in 2019.
- Collaboration with Portsmouth Middle School to provide a remote classroom discussion of the film, Shadows Fall North. The program has also been made available to students across the state.
- Making their Juneteenth Celebration a virtual event.
- Through partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, presenting the annual Black New England Conference online to both national and international audiences.
- Development of three guided tours, led virtually to tell the stories of Ona Judge Story of Greenland, Jack Stains of Portsmouth and Harriet Wilson of Milford.
- Creation of a visible history program called “On the Trail With…” which assists high school students in the production of short videos highlighting a black history site in their hometown.
New Hampshire has been home to Africans and African-Americans for more than 350 years, and the Black Heritage Trail was founded from the examination and study of their stories. The state of New Hampshire has an African heritage dating back to the arrival of Europeans. Much of that history centers on the state’s only port in Portsmouth, where as many as 700 blacks were brought to NH by way of the American Revolution, while others were part of a little-known free society. Against the odds of early enslavement and subsequent marginalization, Africans and their descendants built communities and families, founded institutions and served their town, state and nation in many capacities.
“We’re very thankful for MVSB’s ongoing support of our organization and mission,” said JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director, Black Heritage Trail of NH. “Between the pandemic and recent news, we may all be feeling overwhelmed. However, as disruptive as these events are, they offer us opportunities for profound and lasting change. Now, more than ever, our work at the Trail is needed. Education plays an essential role in our understanding of the past, where we are now and what the future could be. By creating a safe space for dialogue, we believe it’s possible to decrease barriers of misunderstanding and decrease racial anxiety.”
“MVSB is happy to do as much as we can to support the Black Heritage Trail of NH,” noted Rick Wyman, President of Meredith Village Savings Bank. “They ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn about the full history of the people of NH. Both the Black History Trail and MVSB have locations in Portsmouth. We hope that lots of people take time to participate, listen and understand our state’s black history.”
Local Businesses who wish to support the Black Heritage Trail of NH are encouraged to so. The Trail still has tax credits available for sale. CDFA tax credits allow businesses to fund qualifying economic or community development projects in exchange for a tax credit that can be applied against state business tax payments. The tax credits are administered by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). Any business with operations in NH that contributes to a CDFA tax credit project receives a NH state tax credit worth 75% of their contribution. The credit can be used over a period of five years to reduce the business’ state tax liability (business profits, business enterprise or insurance premium taxes). The tax credit program allows NH businesses to use their state tax dollars to support local projects that they care about. CDFA reviews many project applications each year and awards tax credits to those they determine are feasible and will make the biggest impact on economic development in the state. For more information, visit nhcdfa.org.
Building on the 20-plus year success of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire connects stories of the state’s African heritage by documenting and marking many of the important sites that testify to their rich history. The Black Heritage Trail, headquartered at 222 Court Street in Portsmouth, provides education and public programs for adults and children, including school programs, guided tours, traveling programs, lectures and workshops. For more information, visit blackheritagetrailnh.org.