Inside the Architecture: Clement G. Morgan Park

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The Clement G. Morgan Park, built between Columbia Street and Pine Street, was named in honor of Clement G. Morgan, a long time resident of Inman Square.

Before Clement G. Morgan’s life began in Cambridge, he was born in 1859 to slave parents and after abolition moved to Washington D.C. for high school. He worked in the barber trade and then taught in African-American schools in St. Louis for four years.

In 1883, Morgan moved to Boston where he attended Boston Latin School for two year and graduated with high honors. An education at Harvard brought him to Cambridge. He used scholarship money and barber earnings to pay his way, and before graduating became the first African-American orator, which he won by one vote.

Morgan continued his education at Harvard Law School, and became the first African-American man to hold a degree from both Harvard College and Harvard Law.

A republican, Morgan was the first African-American man to serve on the Board of Alderman for Cambridge from 1897-1899. Morgan also served on the republican city committee for 14 years, was one of the founders of the Niagara Movement, and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In addition to his political service, Morgan also owned his own law practice.

Clement G. Morgan resided on Columbia Street and then Prospect Street up until his death on June 1, 1929. The park in Area 4 of Inman Square was named in his honor.

The location of the current park was once a gas station until the 1950s. The park was built in an effort to clean up Inman Square. It was completed in October 2008. Two years later, the Anthony Paolillo Tot Lot was built as a space for children to play beside the Clement G. Morgan Park.

Anthony Paolillo died at age 89 on July 14, 2015. He was the Chief of the Cambridge Police Department and lived most of his life on Tobey Road.