Shadows Fall North documentary sheds light on slavery and segregation in the Granite State

Portsmouth, Milford, Canaan, and many other towns in New Hampshire have been home to natives of Africa and to African Americans for centuries, but their stories have often been left out of official histories. Shadows Fall North, a new documentary produced by the University of New Hampshire’s Center for the Humanities in collaboration with Atlantic Media Productions, focuses on the recovery of Black history in New Hampshire by two extraordinary women, historians and activists Valerie Cunningham and JerriAnne Boggis. 

How does a state with the motto “Live Free or Die” confront and understand its participation in slavery, segregation, and the neglect of African-American history? What happens to our identity as residents of this state and as New Englanders when we begin to acknowledge all of our past? Shadows Fall North, supported in part by New Hampshire Humanities, explores these questions and more. Join us at Red River Theatres in Concord on October 19 at 6:00 pm for a film screening followed by a panel discussion and Q & A with Nancy Vawter, producer; Brian Vawter, director/editor; JerriAnne Boggis, consulting producer and director for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail; and Valerie Cunningham, consulting producer and historic preservationist. For tickets, please visit To read more about the project, visit

“Expanding the traditional narrative to encompass the story of Africans in our community has transformed history. Now we find that an expanded knowledge of history must transform us…” 

- Valerie Cunningham in Black Portsmouth