Dot Descendants Celebrations to connect past and present

By 
Elizabeth Murray, Special to The Reporter
Jun. 14, 2012

What started as a celebration last year that coincided with the 350th birthday of the James Blake House, the oldest house in the city of Boston, is this year an event to celebrate the roots of anyone who has familial ties to Dorchester.

The events included in the celebration will stretch over two weekends and will include an illustrated book talk by Dorchester resident and writer Emily Sweeney, a trolley tour of historical Dorchester and an art exhibit showcasing past and present Dorchester artists. Festivities will commence on Saturday June 23rd at 2 p.m. with Sweeney’s talk about her book Boston Organized Crime.

The celebration events are open to everyone, even those who do not have ancestral ties to Dorchester but still want to hear the history. All the events are free except for the trolley tour, which will cost $35. The events will take place at the Dorchester Historical Society’s headquarters at 195 Boston Street.

Dorchester Historical Society President Earl Taylor compares the Dorchester Descendants Celebrations to the “old home weeks” of the 20th century since the events have the same sort of purpose for him: to connect to the past. He said this celebration was started by the Dorchester Historical Society in June 2011 to try to bring people together from all over the nation who have roots to Dorchester.

“There’s so many people whose roots are in Dorchester who may not be aware of what’s going on, so we’ve been trying to attract the national media,” Taylor said.

He said the events will be especially exciting for him since he will be able to share the knowledge he has gained about Dorchester in his research.

“There will be lots of new information that [attendees] haven’t seen or heard before,” Taylor said. “We’re going to have a good time.”

Taylor is most looking forward to the trolley ride around Dorchester because he is anxious to hear the stories different people have about different places.

“It’ll be a fun thing where people will say, ‘I remember this,’ and, ‘My grandfather used to live there,’” Taylor said.

The schedule of events for the Dorchester Descendants Celebration includes:
Sat., June 23 at 2 p.m.
Illustrated book talk: Boston Organized Crime by Emily Sweeney

Sun., June 24 at 12 p.m.
Super Dorchester Trolley Tour (about 2 1/2 hours). Board trolleys at 12 p.m. sharp, box lunch provided, $35 for tickets Tickets for the trolley tour can be purchased by visiting www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org or by contacting Taylor at 617-293-3052.

Fri., June 29 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Opening reception for exhibit: Dorchester Artists Past and Present with Dorchester Arts Collaborative.

Sat., June 30 at 10 a.m.
Boston, England, and Boston, Massachusetts by Wilfred Holton

Sat., June 30 at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dorchester Artists Past and Present art exhibit continues and all buildings open.

Sun., July 1 at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Art Show continues.