Black Holyoke                                 

Stevie Converse interviews UMass PhD student, Erika Slocumb and Penni Martorell of Wisteriahurst

Erika Slocumb, is a Ph.D. student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Erika’s research has focused on the intersections of labor and race, community education, class consciousness, and the efficacy of collective workforce and community action in influencing social change. Erika has worked within different community organizations around community empowerment specifically within Black communities and other communities of the global majority. Her current research focuses on Black love, family, and labor and how public policy affects the establishment of empowered Black communities.


As a member of the Western Massachusetts community I would like to continue to uncover the legacies and untold histories of Black people across Western Massachusetts. I believe that the Black Holyoke project with the Wistariahurst Museum would provide an excellent opportunity to delve into the rich, but largely undocumented history of Black peoples in the Holyoke area. This will also provide an opportunity for Holyoke residents to tell the stories of their lived experiences.


For more information or inquiries feel free to email Erika at, to follow the progress of the program follow the Black Holyoke project at Instagram:@blackholyoke or

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