Rock Rest: Black Visitors in Vacationland
Rock Rest was an inn for African American guests in Kittery Point, Maine. Owned and operated by Clayton and Hazel Sinclair, who gave up their own beds to guests coming to vacation in Maine during the summer months from 1948 to 1976, its story reflects much of the racial history of the 20th century in northern New England, including the pre-Civil Rights era of de facto segregation when racial discrimination pervaded public and private life. It is also the story of a couple’s determination to make a better life for themselves against great odds, by working hard and integrating themselves into the dominant society, yet still speaking out and taking action to end injustice. Clayton and Hazel helped establish the first seacoast branch of the NAACP.
African Burying Ground
Many in our community have asked how Portsmouth’s African Burying Ground could have been forgotten. During the 1700s when the Burying Ground was actively used, the area that is now Chestnut Street was the undeveloped outskirts of town. Over time, as Portsmouth grew during the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, the African Burying Ground was paved over and built over and many forgot of its existence. Today, we recognize this important place as the only known African Burying Ground in all of New England that dates to this era.
Harriet Wilson Project
On November 5, 2006, after 4 years of raising public awareness the Harriet E. Wilson full-size bronze memorial statue was unveiled in Milford, New Hampshire making it the first statue in the state’s history to honor a person of color.
For more on local Black History visit SeacoastNH
Other related Black history sites in New Hampshire and Maine:
Cartland House [private]
Wentworth Cheswell Family Burial Site
South Main St.
Abyssinian Meeting House