New audio recordings enhance Vermont African American Heritage Trail

BRATTLEBORO-New audio recordings created by multimedia artist Shanta Lee will enhance the visitor experience at selected sites on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail.

These recordings resulted from a collaboration between the Brattleboro Words Trail and the Vermont African American Heritage Trail and will be shared on both sites. They can be accessed all together at

The recordings invite visitors to explore: the back stories of the Turner Family at Journey's End in Grafton; the 54th Regiment sculpture of Black Civil War soldiers in Rutland; the history of Abijah and Lucy Terry Prince in Guilford; stories of Black Civil War veterans buried in Woodstock; the Pullman Porters at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester; the archives of Daisy Turner at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury; the legacy of Alexander Twilight at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington; and the Freedom Seekers exhibition at the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh.

The overall project design for these audio segments, including research, writing, and narration of each audio segment was led by Lee in collaboration with Vermont African American Heritage Trail Director Curtiss Reed Jr.; Reggie Martell, who provided sound editing; and Damon Honeycutt, who did the sound design and original composition for each of the sites. Lee also visited and worked closely with leaders at each of the sites to ensure the accuracy of the information provided.

An original advisor to the Brattleboro Words Trail, Lee says she is excited about how the audio will encourage people to delve more deeply into Vermont's rich Black history.

"Both residents and visitors to Vermont will now have an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the Black history of these sites through these pieces," she said in a news release. "I hope that eventually each site on the African American Heritage Trail will be accompanied by an audio companion piece similar to these."

These audio vignettes were produced thanks to funding from a 2022 Vermont Arts Council Digital Capacities grant made to the Brattleboro Words Trail. Lee's VT African American Heritage Trail audio and more than 120 distinct, community-produced Brattleboro Words Trail recordings will be part of a permanent exhibit at the new Brattleboro Amtrak station scheduled to open next year.

This Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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