Ancestral Bridges supports and builds programs that celebrate BIPOC arts, history, and culture in western Massachusetts. We also partner with local communities to create educational and economic opportunities so that BIPOC and disadvantaged youth can thrive.


The Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour is a unique, first-time collaboration between Ancestral Bridges and the Amherst Historical Society & Museum to celebrate Juneteenth and local Black history in Amherst, Massachusetts.

This walking tour explores the history and contributions of multiple generations of Black families in the town of Amherst. Curated by the families’ descendants, this immersive storytelling walk through Amherst’s town center features special exhibits at the Amherst History Museum with artwork and images that bring to life the town’s Black neighborhoods and communities from the mid-18th century and on.

The tour begins in West Cemetery where soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and of the 5th Cavalry, who alerted Texas residents that the Civil War and slavery had ended, are buried.

Along the way, visitors stop at The Emily Dickinson Museum where stories of Charles Thompson and other Black residents familiar with the Dickinson Family are featured. Two other stops include Hope Church, the first Black church in Amherst; and Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church, where the cultural and religious lives of Black Amherst residents are highlighted.

Read the press release and find details about the inaugural June 18 kick-off event here!

Every step tells a story.

The following images are not in the public domain and are the property of Ancestral Bridges. Not for commercial use; all other users must request permission.

The Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour is an historically important and enjoyable way to spend any visit to Amherst, Massachusetts.

A mostly flat walk along downtown sidewalks, the Walking Tour takes visitors to key historic spots in Amherst’s town center where Black families lived, worshipped, and worked. Major stops along the Walking Tour include West Cemetery, the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst History Museum, the Hope Community Church, and the Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church.

Click on the Google map to download it to your phone.

Donate to support the Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour.

Your generous support will fund walking tour materials and ongoing research to ensure that visitors experience the rich and diverse history of Amherst, Massachusetts in its entirety.

Explore Similar Local Tours

The Connecticut River Valley is home to rich, cultural BIPOC history. Several local and statewide walking tours commemorate this history with stops at historic homes, work sites, cemeteries, and local museums. Visitors who plan to be in the area for some time will find many options to choose from.

  • African American Heritage Trail, Springfield, Massachusetts: This walk marks important sites associated with the fight against slavery, including stops along the famous Underground Railroad.
  • African American Heritage Trail, Florence, Massachusetts: A self-guided walking tour in Florence, a suburb of Northampton, that commemorates the history of Sojourner Truth.
  • African American Trail Project, various sites, Massachusetts: A collaborative research initiative housed at Tufts University, this project maps African American and African-descended public history sites throughout Massachusetts.