City of Cambridge, in Partnership with DivcoWest, Renames Two Streets in Honor of Prominent Historical Women
Jacobs Street and Morgan Avenue to replace North Street and North Point Boulevard, respectively, within Cambridge Crossing, bringing local attention to the women’s suffrage movement
Cambridge, (April 2, 2019) – DivcoWest, the developer behind the new 43-acre mixed-use development Cambridge Crossing (CX), in partnership with the City of Cambridge, brought the renaming of two streets before the City Council, which voted to approve the change Monday evening, in response to the direction around creating improved wayfinding and more consistent street names. To honor two visionary women crucial to the City’s history, they are proposing that North Street becomes Jacobs Street, and North Point Boulevard becomes Morgan Avenue. The new names will reflect prominent African-American women with ties to Cambridge who were involved in the suffrage movement, Harriet A. Jacobs and Gertrude Wright Morgan.
“The naming of these streets builds on the opportunity to further the City’s continued approach of naming streets and parks after historical women, as we’ve done with Julia Child and Amelia Earhart,” said Louis DePasquale, Cambridge City Manager. “We worked closely with the Historical Commission to identify individuals that played an important role in women’s suffrage and we are proud to keep their legacies alive.”
Harriet Jacobs was an abolitionist, author and women’s rights advocate who resided in Cambridge in the latter-half of the 1800s at 17 Story Street. Renowned author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Jacobs dedicated her life to helping others through organizing, feeding and sheltering refugees from slavery in the civil war, setting up community schools for newly freed children and serving as a major advocate for fair and equal treatments in hospitals, housing, work opportunities and education.
Gertrude Wright Morgan played an active role in the Niagara Movement and the establishment of the NAACP. A leader in the suffrage movement, she served as president of the Women’s Era Club, was a member of the board of the Harriet Tubman House and was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Cox to represent the Commonwealth at the dedication of the Frederick Douglass House Museum in 1922. Alongside her husband Clement G. Morgan, Gertrude hosted prominent citizens and civil rights leaders in their home at 265 Prospect Street in Cambridge.
“In our efforts to rename these streets, we fully embraced the Historical Commission and the Department of Public Work’s recommendation and appreciate their guidance to maintain the names of prominent women in Cambridge’s history,” said Mark Roopenian, Managing Director at DivcoWest. “This dedication celebrates the rich history of the area and the visionaries that defined it, as we build an exciting new chapter in Cambridge’s story.”
“A lot of people didn’t know about my great great aunt Gertrude as my family had been trying for years to talk about her,” said Jim Spencer, a Cambridge resident and the great great nephew of Gertrude Wright Morgan, after reading an essay written by Morgan titled ‘Unsung Hero.’ “So now she is no longer an unsung hero. She’s somebody having a street named after her at Cambridge Crossing and her family is so proud.”
DivcoWest originally approached the City about creating more consistent street names within Cambridge Crossing, and to help improve wayfinding as development in this area increases. The Department of Public Works and the City responded positively, encouraging that the names build on the previous approach of naming streets and parks in the area after historical women.
“These new street names will serve as a reminder to those working, living, or visiting the area of the significant role Cambridge women have played in major historical movements,” said Kathy Watkins, City Engineer.
Mayor McGovern and the City Council hosted an informational reception on Monday, April 1st prior to the City Council hearing honoring Harriet Jacobs and Gertrude Wright Morgan.
About Cambridge Crossing
Cambridge Crossing (CX) is 43-acre, 4.5 million square foot mixed-use, transit-rich neighborhood situated at the intersection of Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston. CX will be comprised of approximately 2.1 million square feet of state-of-the-art science and technology space, approximately 2,400 new residential units in addition to approximately 2,500 existing units, and approximately 100,000 square feet of retail thoughtfully curated to deliver a unique and local neighborhood experience. The project will also include approximately 11 acres of activated public open spaces, highlighted by a central common area.
DivcoWest, founded by Stuart Shiff, is a vertically-integrated operator, owner, developer and real estate partner to the innovation economy. Since its inception, DivcoWest and its predecessor have acquired more than 44.7 million square feet of commercial space located primarily in U.S. coastal innovation markets. The current real estate portfolio includes existing and development properties across office, R&D, lab, industrial, retail and multifamily. Headquartered in San Francisco, DivcoWest has corporate offices in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New York, as well as numerous property management locations. To learn more, visit www.divcowest.com and www.cambridgecrossing.com.
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