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New zine looks to spark conversations about Roxbury's history

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 12, 2012 12:00 PM

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(Image courtesy "Continuing the Millennium Trail Volume 1”)


A page out of the zine discussing the Garrison House/Rockledge.


What was once a failed federal program to build a historic trail through Roxbury has been reborn as a community project and zine.

Neil Horsky, a Roslindale resident and local teacher, has been working with community youths and other artists to bring back the “Millennium Trail” and tout the historical value of Roxbury.

“The Millennium Trail was a federal program to create a network of trails to connect people to their history,” Horsky said. “I first found out about it when I saw a plaque in Roxbury denoting it part of the trail.”

While the plaque, which can be found in front of the historic Garrison House/Rockledge, is a testament to a project in the 1990s that never was, it is also a starting point for Horsky and his zine “Continuing the Millennium Trail Volume 1.”

“From what I surmised, the project fizzled out,” Horsky said. “But I wondered how these stories and sites are relevant in the new millennium.”

The zine, developed by Horsky and his students at Roxbury Community College’s Upward Bound program, helps continue the trail, naming historical sites in the community and asking thought provoking questions about the history and how it relates to today’s community.

“We wanted to make people think and start a dialogue about the neighborhood and the culture,” he said. “It’s geared to cultivating a critical perspective of the world around you.”

The new trail takes readers through a tour of Roxbury starting at the Southwest Corridor, continuing to Rockledge, then onto the Cochituate Standpipe, eventually finishing at the Malcolm X House on Dale Street.

Each stop has a dedicated page in the zine, with a brief history of the site and questions for readers to consider.

Although the trail currently only has four stops, Horsky said this is only the beginning and volume 1.

“I want to see a real Millennium Trail created. I think it’s a great dialogue starter and something that can really continue the discussions happening in the neighborhood,” said Horsky.

The first addition is just the start of a conversation and physical trail that Horsky wants to help mold. Comparing it to the Freedom Trail that travels through downtown Boston, the North End and Charlestown, Horsky said the trail could not only be an important historical resource for the city, but for African American history and culture.

“Most people have a lot of respect for this city’s African American culture, but they somehow don’t seem to associate that with Roxbury,” said Horsky. “There’s a disconnect and I really hope people use it [the zine] to discover that.”

The zine can be found at the Haley House, City Feed, Roxbury Center for the Arts, Discover Roxbury and the Papercut Zine Library.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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(Image courtesy "Continuing the Millennium Trail Volume 1”)


A page out of the zine discussing the creation of the Southwest Corridor and Roxbury and Jamaica Plain's struggle to stop the freeway planned for the neighborhood.

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