Students from the Academy at Penguin Hall have been taking part in a history elective called “Out of the Shadows”. Throughout the course of this school year, as a class, we have been researching forgotten enslaved women in Early New England with the guidance of our teacher, Dr. Linda Meditz. “This project has brought to light a subject that we have all heard about but never really talk about,” said, Mikayla Johnson ’20.
During our research, we found a woman who lived as a slave named Lucy Foster who lived in Andover. Like many slaves in early America, Lucy died and was buried with no gravestone. To commemorate Lucy and the life she lived, we as a class have decided to create a headstone in her memory and place it where we believe she is now resting at South Church in Andover. “This project inspires me because it is educating people about those who are forgotten even though they shouldn’t have ever been forgotten,” said Anna Barrows ’22.
Our group has developed a strong bond with Lucy Foster and the life in Andover that she lived. As a group of high schoolers, we feel a connection with Lucy due to the fact that she obtained her freedom at age 16, after twelve years in slavery. Lucy lived her life quietly and in the shadows, but she has certainly made a mark on us and through this project, it is our goal to bring Lucy out of the shadows. “We want Lucy Foster to be recognized,” continued Julia Sullivan ‘19, “And we want her life to be thought about, talked about, and celebrated because she is just one of many female slaves of early New England who has not been remembered.”
Our project has required us to reach out beyond Penguin Hall and build a series of community partnerships. Our supporters include the members of South Church in Andover, gravestone carver Michael Updike of Newbury, and Professor Whitney Battle-Baptiste of UMass Amherst. But we need your help, too. Can you help us see that Lucy Foster is no longer forgotten and that she receives a proper gravestone? The costs are considerable but we are sure our APH community will help us make this vision a reality. This class is comprised of girls who chose to be here and are dedicated to honoring the life of Lucy Foster and many others who have been forgotten. Junior, Autumn Armano says, “that after all these years in the shadows, Lucy deserves to be recognized.”