Discover Roxbury's mission is to:
• Build community pride and create bridges of understanding by increasing knowledge of Roxbury's historic and cultural contributions,
We seek to overcome racial and class stereotypes of Roxbury and the lack of knowledge about the community. We also advocate for the preservation of Roxbury’s historic and cultural assets.Discover Roxbury designs, organizes and conducts tours of Roxbury’s historic sites, arts community, cultural institutions and businesses. We nurture and encourage the community voice by developing Roxbury residents as tour leaders and acting as a resource that helps sustain community memory. We collaborate proactively with community-based institutions, businesses, and organizations.
We foster cultural equity so that Roxbury’s rich heritage and vibrant present become an integral part of Boston’s cultural landscape.
Our logo was created by Roxbury artist Ekua Holmes and was designed to symbolize a solar eclipse as the moon moves out of the sun's path.
According to Holmes, just as the sun shines brightly again after being hidden by the moon, the eclipse logo represents Roxbury moving out of the shadow of negative attitudes and stereotypes. Holmes believes that Discover Roxbury's work serves to spread knowledge of the community and will help Roxbury shine brightly once again.
The inner detail, featuring numerous triangles pointed toward the center, has dual meanings. First, it represents community and people coming together to work toward a common purpose. Additionally, the pattern is based upon African designs and serves as a tribute to the heritage of Roxbury's 20th century Black community. Roxbury exists as the spiritual, cultural, and political center of the largest predominantly-Black neighborhood in Massachusetts.
Discover Roxbury was founded by Marcia Butman. As a parent of children in suburban schools, Butman observed that some in her community had a biased view of the neighborhoods where Boston’s METCO students lived. In response, she organized tours of Boston neighborhoods led by the students and families of those neighborhoods to visit their homes, churches, parks and other landmarks. The first tours were a big hit and the Bridges Program resulted as a connector between communities.
In 2003, the Bridges Program partnered with ACT Roxbury, the cultural economic development program of Madison Park Development Corporation, on a series of tours spotlighting Roxbury's cultural assets through art and shopping excursions. The focus on Roxbury inspired our name change to Discover Roxbury as the first signature program — trolley tours led by community insiders – was launched. Since then, our participants have traveled with us by foot, by bicycle, and on trolleys to learn about and enjoy Roxbury’s centuries of history, vibrant arts, and diverse cultures, with the goal of promoting the social, cultural, and economic development of Roxbury.
Butman retired in spring 2010. Shortly thereafter, Derek Lumpkins, the Program and Marketing Manager, was hired as our new Executive Director. Under Lumpkins’ guidance, Discover Roxbury continues to build bridges and change perceptions with innovative events like Roxtoberfest, #Roxtweet, and via partnerships with major institutions and universities. In 2011, Lumpkins guided Discover Roxbury’s inaugural leadership of Roxbury Open Studios as part of our new ArtROX! series. He also continues to grow Heart of the Hub and the Black & White Party, two annual events combining some of the best of Roxbury's music, art, and food.
Over the years, Discover Roxbury tours and events have proven as popular with Roxbury residents as they are with visitors. Starting with just four tours and 60 participants in 2003, our programming has expanded to over sixty tours and events with more than 6800 participants in 2012.