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Harry "Bucky" Lew Born

January 4, 1884
January 4, 1884

Harry "Bucky" Lew Born

On this day in 1884, Harry Haskell Lew was born in Lowell to a family that had long been active in the struggle for racial equality. Known from childhood as "Bucky," he made his mark...

First African American Graduate of Harvard Born

January 30, 1844
January 30, 1844

First African American Graduate of Harvard Born

On this day in 1844, Richard Greener, the first African American graduate of Harvard, was born. Born in Philadelphia, his mother moved the family to the Boston area in search of educational opportunities for her children....

Lewis Latimer Awarded First Patent

February 10, 1874
February 10, 1874

Lewis Latimer Awarded First Patent

On this day in 1874, inventor Lewis Latimer received his first patent. The son of a Virginia couple who had escaped from slavery, he was born and raised in Chelsea. After a stint in the...

Shadrach Minkins Seized

February 15, 1851
February 15, 1851

Shadrach Minkins Seized

On this day in 1851, a group of outraged African American men burst into a courtroom in Boston and rescued Shadrach Minkins, the first escaped slave seized in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law....

First Slaves Arrive in Massachusetts

February 26, 1638
February 26, 1638

First Slaves Arrive in Massachusetts

On this day in 1638, a ship returned to Massachusetts Bay from the West Indies after a seven-month voyage. Its cargo included cotton, tobacco and, as far as we know, the first enslaved Africans to be...

Malcolm X Imprisoned

February 27, 1946
February 27, 1946

Malcolm X Imprisoned

On this day in 1946, 20-year-old Malcolm Little entered the state prison in Charlestown to begin serving a sentence for burglary. While in jail, he joined the Black Muslims, a new branch of Islam. Burning...

Five Die in Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770
March 5, 1770

Five Die in Boston Massacre

On this day in 1770, Crispus Attucks, a black man from Framingham, and four other civilians were shot by British soldiers. Attucks worked on whaling ships and, between voyages, as a semi-skilled laborer around the...

James Reeb Dies in Alabama

March 10, 1965
March 10, 1965

James Reeb Dies in Alabama

On this day in 1965, a white minister from Boston lay near death in an Alabama hospital. As James Reeb's life slipped away, his story was in every morning paper and on every evening news...

John Brown Speaks in Concord

March 12, 1857
March 12, 1857

John Brown Speaks in Concord

On this day in 1857, John Brown addressed a crowd in Concord Town Hall. He spoke about the situation in Kansas, where a bitter struggle was underway between pro- and anti-slavery settlers. In a matter-of-fact...

Charlotte Forten Enters Salem Normal School

March 13, 1855
March 13, 1855

Charlotte Forten Enters Salem Normal School

On this day in 1855, Charlotte Forten passed the entrance examination for the Salem Normal School, one of four colleges recently established in Massachusetts to train teachers. She was the school's first black student. Eighteen...