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Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll Announces Name of City’s Newest Park
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January 16, 2015

Dominick Pangallo
Chief of Staff
Office of Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, City of Salem
(978) 619-5600 | dpangallo@salem.com

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll Announces Name of City’s Newest Park
Remond Park to be named for Salem abolitionists Sarah Parker Remond and Charles Lenox Remond

Salem, Massachusetts – Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll today announced that the new waterfront park and open space along the former Salem/Beverly Bridge abutment would be named in honor of Salem-born abolitionists and siblings Sarah Parker Remond (1815-1894) and Charles Lenox Remond (1810-1873). Mayor Driscoll will file a resolution with the Salem City Council next week, as the nation celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, affirming the designation.

Sarah Remond was a highly regarded abolitionist speaker in the 1850s and won a pivotal lawsuit against a Boston theater that had attempted to seat her in a segregated section during a performance. She went on to lecture throughout Massachusetts, as well as in New York, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, earning praise from other leading abolitionist activists, including William Lloyd Garrison, who credited her “earnest appeals to the conscience and the heart” in persuading listeners to the anti-slavery cause. In 1858 she traveled to London to present the abolitionist case there; when the U.S. Civil War broke out at home Remond remained in England, defending the Union cause to audiences throughout the country.

Charles Lenox Remond has no less distinguished a legacy. He was one of the very first African Americans to be paid to lecture on the abolitionist circuit and was a close confidant and friend to Garrison. He spoke in Salem and throughout the United States, and was selected, based on his reputation and speaking ability, to serve as the American Antislavery Society’s official representative at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840. It would be the first of a number of such conventions where he lectured against the institution of slavery. At the onset of the Civil War, Remond signed on as a recruiting officer for the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment of African American volunteers.

Remond Park will transform a stretch of currently vacant asphalt into a fully landscaped public space, complete with benches, trees, flagpole, and public harbor walk and fishing area. The park will offer views of Beverly Harbor and the Danvers, North, and Bass Rivers. In the early 19th century the portion of the Bridge Street Neck near the park were home to a large population of African Americans living in Salem, including a vast number of sailors and others engaged in the maritime trade that made 19th century Salem prosperous and famous the world over.

“The Remonds’ influence and importance in shaping not just our City’s history, but our nation’s was considerable and makes them extremely worthy of being memorialized in this manner,” said Mayor Driscoll. “The people of Salem, both today and in future generations, will be able to stroll through the green space and out to the public harbor walk, to take in the views and contemplate the important lessons and legacy of Sarah and Charles Remond’s lives and works.”

“The Remond siblings paved the way for our Commonwealth to have its first black governor and our nation to have its first black president,” said City Councillor Heather Famico, who represents Ward 2, where the park is located. “The naming of our newest park after them is another example of Salem honoring its history as it continues to move forward.”

“Charles Remond once said, ‘When the world shall learn that mind makes the man, that goodness, moral worth, and integrity of soul, are the true tests of character, then prejudice against caste and color, will cease to be,’” Mayor Driscoll wrote in her letter to the Salem City Council about the designation. “These words, from a son of Salem, truly herald Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s own remarks 106 years later on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which is conducting the $2 million state-funded project, awarded the construction contract to Northern Construction Services LLC at the start of January. While a specific construction start date is not finalized yet, MassDOT anticipates it to be in the early spring season.

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Image: Proposed plan for Remond Park in Salem, Massachusetts.

And the June 2016 ribbon cutting: