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Sister Aurora Helena Avelar

New Bedford’s Mother Teresa, Sister Aurora Helena Avelar (1903-1999) was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to the underserved.
Loretta Bourque

Loretta Bourque

A dedicated activist who advocated for New Bedford’s neighborhoods, Loretta Bourque (1920-2018) was referred to as “Mayor of the South End” for her special commitment to this section of the city. Through the Cove Street Neighborhood Association, Loretta led efforts against such problems as negligent absentee landlords, crime and drugs. Loretta’s influence was a key factor that led the New Bedford City Council to pass the city’s Problem Properties Ordinance.

Martha Bailey Briggs

Born in 1838 to Black abolitionists, Martha Bailey Briggs (1838-1889) realized at a young age that education was essential to ending slavery.

Elizabeth Terry Delano

Fairhaven artist Elizabeth Terry Delano (1845-1933) created still-life paintings, portraits and landscapes in her studio at 91 Pleasant Street.

Rosetta Douglass

Abolitionist and social reformer Rosetta Douglass (1839-1906) continued a family legacy of activism that began in New Bedford with her father, Frederick Douglass.
Juan Bennett Drummond

Juan Bennett Drummond

Dr. Juan Bennett Drummond (1864-1926) was the first African American woman licensed in the state of Massachusetts to practice medicine.

Marie Equi

New Bedford prepared physician and political agitator Marie Equi (1872-1952) for a lifetime of social justice advocacy. Marie’s Oregon medical practice and nationwide activism were influenced by her working class experiences while growing up in New Bedford.

Sister Rosellen Gallogly

Considered a living saint in New Bedford, Sister Mary Rosellen Gallogly (1930-2018) was a pioneer in developing services for the homeless, notably as director of Market Ministries Meals and Shelter, known today as Sister Rose House.

Geraldine Gomes

Geraldine “Gerry” A. Gomes (1938-2011) was the first minority woman to run for political office in New Bedford.

Cornelia Grinnell

Abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and women’s club founder, Cornelia Grinnell Willis (1825-1904) advocated for and secured Harriet Jacobs’ freedom, making it possible for Harriet to write and publish what became an edifying “slave narrative.”
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