Search Results


Supreme Court Strikes Down "Separate but Equal"

May 17, 1954
May 17, 1954

Supreme Court Strikes Down "Separate but Equal"

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the doctrine of separate but equal. "Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race . . . deprives the children of...

Fugitive Slave Anthony Burns Arrested

May 24, 1854
May 24, 1854

Fugitive Slave Anthony Burns Arrested

On this day in 1854, Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia, was arrested in Boston. His capture enraged black and white abolitionists. Two days after the arrest, a number of them attacked the federal...

54th Massachusetts Regiment Marches Through Boston

May 28, 1863
May 28, 1863

54th Massachusetts Regiment Marches Through Boston

On this day in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first black regiment from the North, paraded in full dress uniform on Boston Common. Crowds cheered as 1,007 black soldiers and 37 white officers...

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

May 29, 1885
May 29, 1885

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

On this day in 1885, Jan Matzeliger demonstrated his invention — a machine that could finish 75 shoes in a 10-hour day. The most skilled craftsmen working by hand could turn out 50. An improved...

Paper Publishes First Installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin

June 5, 1851
June 5, 1851

Paper Publishes First Installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin

On this day in 1851 an abolitionist newspaper published the first installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The following March, a Boston publisher issued the work in book form. It sold 50,000 copies...

Captain Absalom Boston Dies on Nantucket

June 6, 1855
June 6, 1855

Captain Absalom Boston Dies on Nantucket

On this day in 1855, Captain Absalom Boston of Nantucket died. In an era when many African Americans worked as seamen, Absalom Boston stood out. In 1822 he captained an all-black crew on the whaleship...

Governor Honors Activist Melnea Cass

June 19, 1968
June 19, 1968

Governor Honors Activist Melnea Cass

On this day in 1968, Governor John Volpe dedicated the Melnea Cass Swimming and Skating Rink in Roxbury. The new facility was intended to improve life in Boston's urban neighborhoods. It was named for a...

Dr. Boylston Experiments with Smallpox Inoculation

June 26, 1721
June 26, 1721

Dr. Boylston Experiments with Smallpox Inoculation

On this day in 1721, Boston doctor Zabdiel Boylston took a gamble with his young son's life and inoculated him against smallpox. Puritan minister Cotton Mather had learned from one of his slaves that in...

David Walker Found Dead

June 28, 1830
June 28, 1830

David Walker Found Dead

On this day in 1830, David Walker, a prominent and outspoken black man, was found dead in his Boston home. The year before he had written David Walker's Appeal To the Coloured Citizens of the...

Weepin' Willie Robinson Born

July 6, 1926
July 6, 1926

Weepin' Willie Robinson Born

On this day in 1926, "Boston's Elder Statesman of the Blues," Weepin' Willie Robinson, was born. Raised in the South, he launched his musical career in Trenton, New Jersey, before coming to Boston in the...