In 1862, William B. Gould sailed 28 miles across the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, N.C., to escape a life of slavery. He would later become a Civil War Navy veteran, a family man, and respected member of the community where he settled with his wife and eight children.
More than 150 years later, the town honored his legacy by renaming Passive Park the William B. Gould Park, part of an effort to memorialize Gould’s long overlooked contributions to the town. The 1.3 acre grassy spot near Mother Brook is about a half-mile from Gould’s former home on Milton Street in East Dedham.
“Black history is lost, stolen and strayed too often,” said William Gould V, a great-great grandson, said to the crowd of more than 100 who gathered for the park’s dedication Thursday. “It’s really nice to see recognition of Black heroes in the country, here in Dedham, in Boston, and all throughout the world.”
William B. Gould was a founding parishioner of the Church at the Good Shepherd in Dedham.