The Museum of African American History is dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of African Americans in New England from the colonial period through the 19th century.




In Remembrance

Kenneth Guscott



James O. Horton





The Museum of African American History mourns the loss of Kenneth Guscott, an extraordinary community and business leader, and a recipient of the Museum’s Living Legend Award in 2008.  The following is an excerpt from remarks made at the Museum’s Gala on March 7, 2008 by then Executive Director Beverly Morgan-Welch.


After serving four years in the U. S. Army Air Force, Ken, determined to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who was first, a seaman, and entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. He went on to graduate study at the Bettis Reactor Engineering School.


As the chief nuclear test engineer for General Dynamics in Quincy, he helped to launch the first-ever nuclear powered cruiser.  While holding this position, he was also the president of the Boston branch of the NAACP.  “Speaking truth to power,” he worked to ensure housing, employment, and educational opportunities for all citizens.


When redevelopment and construction efforts in black neighborhoods saw men hired from outside the community, Ken retired from General Dynamics to train and employ men in his community for these jobs, founding Long Bay Management Company with his brothers and other partners. Years later, when Ken and his business partners decided to retire, they sold the business to eight senior employees, personally holding the mortgage to make ownership possible. 


Ken held numerous positions of leadership in Boston including vice president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Honorary Consul of Jamaica to Massachusetts, president of the Minority Developers Association, and the first minority member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

With great sadness, we mourn the loss of a generous scholar, teacher, and friend. During the many years of his affiliation with the museum, Professor Horton’s contributions are numerous, including the book, Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North (Holmes and Meier Publishers, New York, 1979, Second edition, 1999), which he coauthored with his wife, Lois E. Horton. In 2005, the museum honored him with the “Living Legacy Award.” We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Lois, and their family.


L’Merchie Frazier, our Director of Education, expressed his contributions to the Museum with words that echo the sentiments of our staff.


“The Museum has hosted James and Lois Horton many times as historians, scholars and friends. We have had James and Lois present in our Teacher Institutes, and from the beginning, he taught workshops and research methods for us. He also participated in our “Millennium Conversations” as a seminal scholar. David Blight and he presented education institutes that involved our sites and our staff. We will truly miss him and his open manner in the delivery of our stories and on the broader realm of heading history initiatives and organizations. Truly a scholar.”


For more about the life of Professor James O. Horton, Click Here



Hassan Sharif





Francis (Frank) Spriggs



It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Hasan Abdullah Sharif a long-time friend of the Museum of African American History. Son of the late Quinnie T. Walker and Helen (Jenkins) Walker. He is survived by daughters Carla Briggs and Patricia Briscoe and brother Walter J. Walker of Providence, Rhode Island. He leaves extended family and dear friends. Hasan was active in his community and was an advocate for education, often bringing youth groups to the museum.


He is pictured standing with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (third from the right) whom he knew and marched with from Roxbury to the Boston Common in 1965.


Frank Spriggs, who with his wife Bette served as the Museum’s first Nantucket Site Managers, was not only a dedicated employee, but also a devoted volunteer who contributed greatly to the Museum and to the restoration and preservation of the African Meeting House on Nantucket.  He was a gentle man with a fierce heart.  We will miss him. The following is an excerpt from his obituary.


Francis (Frank) T. Spriggs, 82, of Nantucket passed away on Monday, February 20, 2017 due to heart complications.  Frank was born in Washington D.C. on January 30, 1935. He graduated from Nantucket High School and received his BA from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in 1957.


Frank served in the intelligence division of the Army during the Korean War.  Following his service Frank worked for IBM until his retirement in 1997 at which time he returned to Nantucket to build his home and re-establish his roots. Frank believed in his island and was very involved in island politics serving on various committees and as Chairman of the Board of Selectman. Frank was also committed to the African Meeting House and the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club.


Frank was preceded in death by Bette Spriggs, his wife of 44 years.