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Guerrilla Maneuvers in Architectural Preservation
Gabriel Cira & Kris Manjapra
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The 2018–2023 architectural preservation process of a historic Black church in Massachusetts demonstrates a set of socio-architectural tactics identified as guerrilla preservation, or small maneuvers in pursuit of exuberance. These are shown to be both necessary in dealing with existing structures of power, property, and funding and also necessary in responsibly unpacking difficult layers of history produced by racial capitalism and colonialism. Historical contexts of the building and its inhabitants, the historical context of the term “guerrilla,” and architectural legacies of Black vernacular architecture in New England demonstrate that smaller tactics of preservation and exuberant expression contain potential to rupture the social matrix of the colonial-capitalist value system in the present.

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