Architect and Bookseller, Rosalyn Delores Elder, Launches a New Brand: African American Heritage Massachusetts

African American Heritage Massachusetts: “Know the past, to build the future.”

This brand celebrates the history and contributions of African Americans in Massachusetts.  We need this knowledge today more than ever to empower our youth to recognize and achieve their great potential, and to inspire everyone with the compelling stories of these courageous leaders.  This brand will include an array of products such as books, posters, notecards, calendars, placemats, magnets, and informational card sets.  The first products, a tourist book, a coloring book, and a 2017 monthly calendar, were released in September of 2016.            

African American Heritage in Massachusetts: Exploring the Legacy.   Written by Rosalyn D. Elder with photographs by Delores Elder-Jones and Rosalyn D. Elder, this book explores 742 sites in 141 towns around the Commonwealth.  It features the historical significance of those sites, photos of the sites, and illustrations of the individuals involved at those sites.  Those histories include: Onesimus whose medical knowledge led to the development of inoculations to fight smallpox in 1721; Belinda Royall who filed the first successful reparations lawsuit in 1783; and Jan Matzeliger whose shoe lasting machine in 1883, led to the mass production of shoes.   Retail:  $21.95

African American Heritage in Massachusetts: A Coloring Book features 40 illustrations by local artist, Laurence Pierce and single page biographies written by Rosalyn Delores Elder.  The biographies are of individuals who made important contributions to the state prior to the 20th century with one exception, Deval Patrick.  Patrick’s election as the first African American governor of Massachusetts in November, 2006, marked a milestone in American history.  The book features interactive games to further engage the reader.  Retail: $13.95

African American Heritage in Massachusetts: 2017 Calendar is the first of what will be an annually produced calendar.  This calendar highlights 214 significant dates in our state’s history.  Written by Rosalyn D. Elder, the 2017 calendar features twelve photographs by Delores Elder-Jones and Rosalyn Delores Elder.  The photographs depict public art sited around the state that celebrates this heritage.  Retail: $14.95

Rosalyn Delores Elder, company founder, is a registered architect and entrepreneur with a passion for the arts, architecture and cities, and history.  She received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Memphis, a Masters of Architecture Degree from the University of Washington, and a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design Degree from Harvard University.  Ms. Elder founded and operated Treasured Legacy, an African American cultural boutique from 1992 to 1998 in Boston’s South End.  Ms. Elder co-founded and operated Jamaicaway Books, a multi-cultural bookstore, in Jamaica Plain, MA, from 1998 until 2012.

Ms. Elder created this brand for two reasons.  In 1998, as a high school senior, her daughter Anghara realized that racial stereotypes and ignorance still influenced the subconscious bias of educators and classmates thirty years after the murder of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.  Customers at both Treasured Legacy and Jamaicaway Books provided another reason when they regularly expressed frustration about the paucity of information about local African American history.

The company logo, Sankofa, is an Adrinka symbol from the Ashanti Region of Ghana in Africa.   Sankofa, a depiction of a bird looking over its shoulder, literally means, “Go back and fetch it.”

Learn more about African American Heritage in Massachusetts, by clicking here.

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