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Baldwin Neighborhood Name Adopted

Submitted by on August 12, 2021 – 4:06 pmNo Comment

“It really does matter. It’s more than a name.”- Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, August 2021

On Monday, August 2nd the Cambridge City Council voted 9-0 to adopt a policy order to rename the neighborhood after esteemed African American educator Maria L. Baldwin (1856-1922) who taught at, served as Principal, and became Headmaster of the Agassiz School (renamed for Baldwin in 2002).

This change comes following a community-led process begun in January 2020 when resident Maya Counter, then a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, proposed removing the name of Swiss-American naturalist and Harvard professor Louis Agassiz (1807-1873). Agassiz’s legacy includes promoting polygenism, a theory that has been used to justify racism and white supremacy. Ms. Counter suggested that instead the neighborhood honor Maria L. Baldwin.

We express our gratitude to all who participated in this process by attending an Agassiz Neighborhood Council meeting, submitting materials to the digital ‘context library’, writing emails and letters, and contacting and speaking directly with City Councillors.

As Mayor Siddiqui implied at the Special City Council Meeting where the vote took place, this change marks an important moment in the neighborhood’s history. We will keep you abreast of next steps. In the meantime, we invite you to reach out with ideas for how the Neighborhood Council and community might publicly celebrate this occasion. I can be contacted at psinclair@agassiz.org or (617) 349-6287 x10.

Learn More

Information about this nearly two-year long process can be found on our website at agassiz.org.

We continue to invite you to view the digital ‘context library’ to read letters, statements, testimonies, and watch videos created by your neighbors. (These materials will be archived for future viewing.)

Finally, those interested in the 2002 school name change can read that history on the Baldwin School’s website.

What about the Organization’s Name?

Now that neighborhood name change process has wrapped up, agency staff will turn our attention to our organization’s name. Stay tuned! (For reference, please read the Board of Director’s statement from June 2020.)

Other News

Harvard University, by way of Tom Lucey, Dir. Government & Community Affairs, provided new information about 5 Sacramento St, formerly occupied by the Guidance Center / Riverside Health and 13 Kirkland Place. Download and read Mr. Lucey’s letter to the community.

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