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Bread and Roses Strike Begins

January 12, 1912
January 12, 1912

Bread and Roses Strike Begins

On this day in 1912, the labor protest later known as the "Bread and Roses" strike began in Lawrence. A new state law had reduced the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours. Factory owners...

Great Molasses Flood

January 15, 1919
January 15, 1919

Great Molasses Flood

On this day in 1919, people in Boston's North End were startled by a loud rumbling noise. They watched in horror as a five-story tank broke apart, unleashing a wave of molasses 15 feet high...

Silvio Conte Dies

February 8, 1991
February 8, 1991

Silvio Conte Dies

On this day in 1991, Representative Silvio Conte died at age 70. A Republican in a largely Democratic state, more liberal than most members of his party, the Pittsfield native never lost an election in...

"Gerrymander" Born in Massachusetts

February 11, 1812
February 11, 1812

"Gerrymander" Born in Massachusetts

On this day in 1812, a political monster — the "Gerrymander" — was born in the Massachusetts State House. Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that created oddly-shaped voting districts in several parts of 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...

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...

Legislature Guarantees Access to Public Schools

March 25, 1845
March 25, 1845

Legislature Guarantees Access to Public Schools

On this day in 1845, the Massachusetts legislature guaranteed that every child in the state would have access to a public school. One source of pressure on the lawmakers was a petition submitted by a...

Dorothea Dix Begins Her Crusade

March 28, 1841
March 28, 1841

Dorothea Dix Begins Her Crusade

On this day in 1841, Dorothea Dix visited an East Cambridge jail and was appalled to see mentally ill women confined alongside hardened criminals. The 40-year-old teacher and writer had been exposed to the work...

Boston Minister Tried for Inciting a Riot

April 3, 1855
April 3, 1855

Boston Minister Tried for Inciting a Riot

On this day in 1855, the case against Boston minister Theodore Parker came to trial. Charged with inciting an abolitionist riot, he defended himself by describing the horrors of slavery. He told the dramatic story...