"The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Boston African American
National Historic Site - Massachusetts
The Boston African American National Historic Site, in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts's Beacon Hill neighborhood, interprets 15 pre-Civil War structures relating to the history of Boston's 19th-century African-American community. These include the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church in the United States.
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Map of the Underground Railroad routes that freedom seekers would take to reach freedom. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
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https://www.nps.gov/boaf/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_African_American_National_Historic_Site The Boston African American National Historic Site, in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts's Beacon Hill neighborhood, interprets 15 pre-Civil War structures relating to the history of Boston's 19th-century African-American community. These include the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church in the United States. Centered on the north slope of Beacon Hill, the African American community of 1800s Boston led the city and the nation in the fight against slavery and injustice. These remarkable men and women, together with their allies, were leaders in the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the early struggle for equal rights and education. Site administrative offices are located at 15 State Street. However, Ranger programs begin at either the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street, or at the Museum of African American History at 46 Joy Street on Beacon Hill. Faneuil Hall Visitor Center Located in the heart of downtown on the market floor of the historic 1742 building, the Faneuil Hall Visitor Center is the main visitor center for Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site. Maps and information for the Freedom Trail® and Black Heritage Trail® are available here. Tours begin here seasonally. Faneuil Hall is close to the MBTA Government Center (Green "B" "C" "D" and "E" line and Blue line), State Street (Blue and Orange line), and Haymarket (Orange and Green "C" and "E" line) subway stations. Taking public transportation into Boston is strongly recommended. Visit www.mbta.com for local transit options. On-street parking is extremely limited. There are several private parking garages in the area. The African Meeting House View from the pulpit at the African Meeting House The African Meeting House served as the religious, educational, and political center of Boston's 19th century African American community. The William Cooper Nell House A yellow wooden house on Beacon Hill This is the home of education activist, abolitionist, and historian William Cooper Nell. The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial A large bronze statue showing a man on horseback and soldiers walking alongside him The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial honors Colonel Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th, the first African American regiment from the North to fight in the Civil War. Flowers at the Shaw Memorial A close up image of flowers laid at the feet of the soldiers on the Shaw Memorial Flowers laid at the feet of the soldiers on the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. The Lewis and Harriet Hayden House The entrance door into a red brick townhouse on Beacon Hill Lewis and Harriet Hayden used their home as an Underground Railroad safe house to shelter those running away from slavery. Emancipation and the Quest for Freedom Although the abolition of slavery emerged as a dominant objective of the Union war effort, most Northerners embraced abolition as a practical measure rather than a moral cause. The war resolved legally and constitutionally the single most important moral question that afflicted the nascent republic, an issue that prevented the country from coalescing around a shared vision of freedom, equality, morality, and nationhood. Slave family seated in front of their house Slave Advertisements The first successful newspaper in the colonies, The Boston News-Letter was published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1704. Barely a month after the weekly began, an advertisement appeared in the newsletter on June 5th in which local merchant John Colman was selling "Two Negro Men" along with a "Negro Woman and Child." This marked the beginning of a 77-year period in which advertisements for slaves appeared in local Boston newspapers. Advertisement for a runaway slave from Westchester County, New York The Civil War in American Memory America's cultural memories of the Civil War are inseparably intertwined with that most "peculiar institution" of American history - racial slavery. But in the struggle over Civil War memory which began as soon as the war was over and continues to this day, rival cultural memories of reconciliation and white supremacy have often prevailed. Therein lies the challenge as the National Park Service - a public agency - seeks to "provide understanding" of the Civil War era's lasting impact upon the development of our nation. Elderly Union and Confederate veterans shake hands at the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Theodore L. Bailey Explore Theodore Bailey's Great Migration journey from Virginia to Boston, MA. Noank Shipyard, CT, Prescott Townsend Early gay activist Prescott Townsend began his life in the 19th century and lived long enough to march in the first-ever Pride parade. Explore his life story and learn how he challenged and changed Boston society by being unapologetically himself. Prescott Townsend sitting in a chair. Archeology ABCs Coloring Book Archeology paints a colorful picture of the past! Download and print this full coloring book packed with archeological objects from A to Z! Title page for coloring book entitled Archeology ABCs Coloring Book "A Home Away from Home": The Women's Service Club of Boston The humanitarian efforts of the Women’s Service Club have uplifted Boston for over a century. Piloted by generations of Black women, the Club’s activism paralleled broader efforts to eliminate second-class citizenship in American society. Women's Service Club of Boston building Charles Sumner and Romantic Friendships Learn about Charles Sumner and his romantic friendships with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Samuel Gridley Howe. Portrait of a young Charles Sumner National Park Getaway: Boston African American National Historic Site When most folks picture Boston, they think of Puritans and patriots, of minutemen and Paul Revere. But many overlook the time when Boston last took the nation by storm—not in the days leading up to the American Revolution, but during the Civil War, when Boston was the center of some of the most viral protests against slavery. Boston African American National Historic Site preserves the largest area of pre-Civil War black-owned homes, churches, and businesses in the country. Interior of a church from behind rows of pews, looking towards a small altar. National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate. Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map “She is a woman who can take care of herself:” The Story of Jane Johnson Freedom seeker Jane Johnson's bold escape from her enslaver led to the arrest and trial of her abolitionist accomplices. During the trial, she bravely testified against her enslaver. Following her escape, Johnson became active in Boston's Black Beacon Hill community. Black and white engraving of Jane Johnson, a Black woman William Cooper Nell: Smith Court Leader As one of Boston's most influential leaders, William Cooper Nell served the community as an organizer, abolitionist, and historian. William Cooper Nell "A Desperate Leap for Liberty": The Escape of William and Ellen Craft Explore a story map about William and Ellen Craft's remarkable journey to freedom. Enslaved in Macon, Georgia, the Crafts escaped slavery by traveling in disguise, with Ellen dressed as a sickly white male planter while William acted as the planter's faithful enslaved man. While they began their new life in Boston, the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law forced them to flee to England as slave catchers sought to return them to slavery. Portraits of Ellen and William Craft. “The Whole Land is Full of Blood”: The Thomas Sims Case Born enslaved in Georgia, Thomas Sims escaped bondage by hiding on a ship headed to Boston. However, a few weeks after his self-liberation, authorities captured Sims under the Fugitive Slave Law and returned him to slavery. Another thirteen years passed before Sims successfully escaped slavery during the Civil War. Explore this story-map to learn more about Thomas Sims' journey to freedom. Portrait of Thomas Sims "Rescued from the Fangs of the Slave Hunter": The Case of Shadrach Minkins In 1850, Shadrach Minkins escaped slavery, possibly by hiding as a stowaway on a ship in Norfolk Harbor. Months after arriving in Boston, slave catchers arrested Minkins with plans to return him to his owner in Virginia. However, Black Bostonians rescued Minkins from the courthouse and escorted him out of the city to safety. Learn about Minkins' inspiring journey from slavery to freedom in this interactive story-map. Newspaper advertisement for the sale of Shadrach Minkins. "God made me a man- not a slave": The Arrest of Anthony Burns Explore this story map about freedom seeker Anthony Burns, who escaped slavery in Virginia and came to Boston. However, in May 1854 authorities arrested Burns, which sparked major protests, a failed courthouse rescue, a military takeover of downtown Boston, and, ultimately, a return to slavery by the federal government. Eventually freed by Boston abolitionists, Anthony Burns attended Oberlin College and became a minister. Portrait of Anthony Burns in a political cartoon. “My Mind was Liberty or Death:” Elizabeth Blakeley’s Escape to Freedom After experiencing terrible treatment from her enslaver, Elizabeth Blakeley decided to escape. She hid on a vessel headed north to Boston, thwarting authorities attempts to find her. Learn about her courageous escape through this story map. Elizabeth Blakeley hiding on a vessel. 54th Massachusetts Regiment The 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first regiment of African Americans from the North to serve during the Civil War, bravely assaulted Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor. Their bravery increased Northern efforts to enlist African Americans. By war's end, over 180,000 African Americans fought in the US Army, roughly 10% of the fighting men. Crop of mural depicting the 54th Regiment's assault of Battery Wagner, focus on death of Col Shaw Fifty Years Later: Remembering John Brown at Faneuil Hall Fifty Years after Brown's execution, people came to Faneuil Hall to remember the actions of the controversial abolitionist. As time passed - people still found themselves inspired by Brown to make changes in the world they lived in. Text reads Faneuil Hall, the Underground Railroad, and the Boston Vigilance Committees Long cherished as the “Cradle of Liberty,” Faneuil Hall played an integral role in Boston’s Underground Railroad network. Boston abolitionists used the Hall as a gathering place for meetings, during which they protested against Fugitive Slave Laws and formed Vigilance Committees to assist freedom seekers. Engraving of Faneuil Hall from the 1830s Boston's Underground Railroad Boston served as a destination for many people escaping slavery on the underground railroad. Freedom seekers arriving in the city found that Boston's tightly knit free Black community provided support and a welcome sanctuary as they began their new lives. Beacon Hill and West End neighborhoods of Boston John Brown's Boston Watch this video series in which Ranger Dana explores John Brown's relationship with Boston abolitionists that resulted in the famous raid at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Portrait of John Brown, Courtesy National Portrait Gallery The Day of Jubilee: Celebrating the 15th Amendment in Boston On April 14, 1870 thousands gathered in Boston to celebrate the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote. Commemorative print celebrating the ratification of the 15th Amendment Frederick Douglass: A “Radical Woman Suffrage Man” This article looks at Frederick Douglass' "I am a Radical Woman Suffrage Man" Address given at the 20th annual New England Woman Suffrage Society Meeting held at Tremont Temple in Boston in 1888. A white-haired aging Frederick Douglass. "Shall We Have a Convention...?" On July 29, 1895, the First National Conference for Colored Women of America drew delegates from African American women’s clubs across the country to Boston. Presided over by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, the conference provided Black clubwomen the opportunity to discuss issues relating to race and gender, resulting in the creation of a new national organization. Print of the program of the 1895 First National Conference of Colored Women of America On the March to Fort Wagner A sergeant in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, Robert John Simmons wrote a letter while marching towards Fort Wagner. Learn about his service with the 54th as well as the family he left behind. Robert John Simmons Pension Request form Robert A. Bell Post, 134, G.A.R. Headquartered in the Smith School, The Robert A. Bell Post, 134, GAR, served its veterans, veterans' families, and local African American community through its various meetings and events. Print of the Smith School, the headquarters of the Robert A. Bell Post, 134, GAR. "Make the World Better": The Woman's Era Club of Boston Members of the Woman's Era Club, a Boston-based African American women's club, lived the club's motto to "make the world better" by devoting their lives to numerous causes. Members advocated for women's suffrage and education for African American women, aided the less fortunate and oppressed, and fought racism and discrimination against African Americans. Front page of the Woman's Era Journal with picture of Lucy Stone. Safe Harbor: The Maritime Underground Railroad in Boston During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Many of the freedom seekers escaping slavery came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports. Painting of ships in Boston Harbor with the sun rising. Boston's First Woman's Rights Convention As men and women gathered for the first Woman's Rights Convention in Boston in 1854, they also witnessed one of the largest anti-slavery protests in United States's history...the rendition of Anthony Burns. The Rendition of Anthony Burns Luis F. Emilio: Captain and Story Keeper of the 54th MA Regiment Captain Luis F. Emilio, the son of Spanish immigrants, served with the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment and emerged as the acting commander after many officers were killed or wounded at the assault on Fort Wagner. In 1891, he wrote of the history of the 54th in his book “A Brave Black Regiment.” Portrait of Luis Emilio and two officers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment The 54th Massachusetts and the Second Battle of Fort Wagner On July 18th, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment led the charge against the Confederate held Fort Wagner. Witnesses referred to the fighting as some of the worst in the war and commended the 54th for their valor in the face of insurmountable odds. Print of the MA 54th attacking Fort Wagner with gunfire surrounding them. Isaac S. Hawkins: Prisoner of War Isaac S. Hawkins enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in time to join it during a campaign invading Florida. During the Battle of Olustee, Confederate soldiers captured Hawkins and imprisoned him in the infamous Andersonville prisoner of war camp. Color lithograph of union civil war soldiers engaged in a battle. True to the Public Trust: James Lynch Before the Battle of Fort Wagner in July of 1863, the men of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment heard a sermon preached by a young minister from Baltimore, Maryland named James. D. Lynch. Lynch later became the first Black Secretary of State of Mississippi and one of the most important Reconstruction Era politicians in the state. Engraved portrait of James Lynch on his memorial. William H. Carney Sergeant William H. Carney, a self-liberated man, enlisted to serve in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment in 1863. His brave actions during the battle of Fort Wagner made him the first African American man to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Sgt. William H. Carney holding the American Flag. Harriet Tubman and the 54th Massachusetts When the 54th Massachusetts arrived in South Carolina, their story intersected with that of famed underground railroad conductor Harriet Tubman. Their shared journey illuminates questions about gender roles and the nature of warfare. Harriet Tubman as a Civil War Scout The Middle Passage From the 16th to the 19th centuries, approximately 12 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic as human property. The most common routes formed what is now known as the "Triangle Trade" connecting Europe, Africa, and the Americas. From 1560 to 1850, about 4.8 million enslaved people were transported to Brazil; 4.7 million were sent to the Caribbean; and at least 388,000, or 4% of those who survived the Middle Passage, arrived in North America. Map showing the trade routes of the Triangle Trade Series: Remembering John Brown John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry was perceived by everyone in different ways. Some people looked at John Brown as a hero or Christ-like martyr willing to risk and sacrifice everything in order to end slavery. Others looked at Brown as a lunatic, a violent terrorist, or someone who took the fight for abolition too far. In this series, National Park Service staff from across the country examine ways Americans processed and remembered Brown's actions throughout history. John Brown stands by a table pointing to a piece of paper titled "Liberty and Freedom for All." The Sarah Roberts Case While the African American community of Boston had first supported educating their children within a Black school, they soon saw the significant discrepancies due to segregated education. In response to this inequality, community members launched a campaign to integrate schools. Sarah Roberts v. City of Boston played a significant role in this movement, as Benjamin Roberts filed a suit against the Boston Primary School Committee on behalf of his daughter. Title page of arguments for the Sarah Roberts Case Smith Court and the Underground Railroad As home to the African Meeting House, the Smith School, and several private residences, Smith Court served as an integral center of Black life and activism in 19th century Boston, with strong ties to Boston’s Underground Railroad. 1856-1857 Boston Vigilance Committee Records The Boston Anti-Man-Hunting League The Anti-Man Hunting League pledged to protect freedom seekers by using the tactics of slave catchers against them, before they could kidnap the freedom seekers that came to Massachusetts. Dark brown parchment with the letters surrounded by two circles of letters and numbers. Website Scavenger Hunt - Black Heritage Trail Go on this virtual scavenger hunt to explore the different sites of the Black Heritage Trail! This activity will send you to different pages on our website as you learn more about the free Black community of Beacon Hill. Close up shot of 54th soldiers as represented in Augustus Saint-Gauden's Robert Gould Shaw Memorial Poetry Challenge As a youth, Phillis Wheatley wrote poems reflecting on the events and people that inspired her. In 1773, she became one of the first Black women to have a book published. Now we’re challenging you to share your thoughts through poetry! In this activity, we’ll explore using different poetry styles as a way to express ourselves. An engraving of Black poet Phillis Wheatley. The Atlantic Empire of Peter Faneuil Peter Faneuil connected Boston to every corner of the Atlantic by trading with any business that could draw a profit. Explore this map that shows Faneuil’s immense trading empire of sugar, salt cod, manufactured goods, grain, and enslaved people. Atlantic ocean map with regions and locations on the coast marked Boston's Women and the Underground Railroad Serving as the heart of the free Black community on the north slope of Beacon Hill, Boston's women played an integral role in assisting freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad. cropped constitution of Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society Slavery and Law in 17th Century Massachusetts Slavery in Massachusetts began shortly after the Pequot War of 1637. Boston in particular benefited from the Atlantic trading empire. Learn more about Boston's and Massachusetts's 17th century connections to slavery. text of a 1773 petition The Ongoing March: Commemoration and Activism at the Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial Explore some of the ways people have used the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial since its dedication in this evolving exhibition. Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial Charles Street Meetinghouse: Historic Safe Haven for Radical Thinkers Located on the corner of Mt. Vernon and Charles Streets since 1807, the Charles Street Meetinghouse served as a home to several different communities over the past 200 years. Over the course of its existence, the Meeting House became a platform and safe haven for some of Boston’s radical thinkers front page of first volume of Gay Community News, explaining the purpose of the newsletter "The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground:" Sergeant William H. Carney Jr. Story Map Sergeant William H. Carney Jr. enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, and became the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor for his brave actions during the battle at Fort Wagner. Respected around the nation, he dedicated the rest of his life to family, community, and public service. Black and white portrait of Carney, wearing a formal suit and decorative medal on his chest Eli George Biddle: Faithful until the End Eli George Biddle enlisted in the historic 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Wounded at the Battle of Fort Wagner, Biddle recovered and returned to service. As one of the oldest surviving veteran of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Biddle served his country and community in many ways over the course of his life. man with a beard, wearing a black jacket and white shirt. Answering the Call: Burrill Smith and the 54th Massachusetts Burrill Smith Jr. became one of the first recruits in the historic 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Wounded at the Battle of Fort Wagner, Smith served until the end of the conflict. Following the Civil War, Smith joined the Robert A Bell Post, a G.A.R veterans' group and eventually served as its leader. pension record of Burrill Smith Jr. Unfinished: America at 250 Unfinished: America at 250 is a partnership of historical and cultural institutions, National Park Service sites, historians, and changemakers. This partnership harnesses the stories of the past and activates historic spaces to provoke community conversations about the ongoing American Revolution. Unfinished: America at 250 graphic with people along the bottom The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial The individuality of the figures in the Shaw Memorial is one of the monument's most striking and affecting characteristics. This version is on display at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site near Cornish, New Hampshire. Photo of Memorial, with Shaw on horseback accompanying his 54th Massachusetts Infantry Dorothea L. Powell Dorothea L. Powell joined the National Park Service (NPS) in 1974 as the first Black woman in the North Atlantic Regional Office. By 1981 she was the first site manager for Boston African American National Historic Site, a park with a personal family connection. Dorothea Powell in a light-colored dress, looking down and to the side. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1862 Tubman frequently returned to Boston to raise funds for her causes and needs, attending meetings at community spaces such as Twelfth Baptist Church. Facade of two-story church with a single pitched roof. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1890s Sometime in the 1890s, Tubman underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital to help relieve chronic issues stemming from an injury she received years earlier as an enslaved child. Massachusetts General Hospital ca. 1888 with a large lawn in front with trees. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1864 During the Civil War, Tubman led a successful military campaign and served as a nurse and scout. While on furlough, Tubman returned to Boston and stayed with abolitionist John Rock. Sketch of Tubman in traveling clothes, holding onto a rifle that is standing up. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1886 While visiting Boston in 1886, Tubman sat for a portrait to sell with the second edition of her biography. During this trip, she met with friends and supporters at the office of her longtime ally, Franklin Sanborn. portrait of harriet tubman, with natural hair cropped close to her head and parted down the middle. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1860 In addition to her work on the Underground Railroad, Tubman also advocated for women's rights. For example, she participated in a women's rights meeting at Melodeon Hall. map snippet featuring academy of music and melodeon hall at the center Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1897 During this extended trip to Boston, Tubman stayed with Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and attended gatherings of several different organizations. The Charles Street Meeting House hosted one of these meetings. Charles Street Meeting House, a church with a steeple, ca. 1889 Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1905 In 1905, Harriet Tubman visited the Tubman House and the Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial in what may have been her final visit to the city. Newspaper clipping with a portrait of Harriet Tubman when she visited the Shaw Memorial. Harriet Tubman's Boston: 1999 Today, "Step On Board," a sculpture of Harriet Tubman leading people to freedom, stands in her honor in the South End neighborhood of Boston. Memorial of Harriet Tubman guiding a group of people. Harriet Tubman's Boston: c. Summer 1859 As he prepared for his raid on Harpers Ferry, John Brown met with Harriet Tubman at Wendell Phillips's house on Essex Street. Portrait of John Brown with bushy hair and a long white beard. Harriet Tubman's Boston: c. 1858 Tubman's first trips to Boston included visiting with abolitionists and raising money for her work on the Underground Railroad. During one of these early visits, she met with leading abolitionists at Samuel May's House at 27 Hollis Street. Harriet Tubman sitting for a portrait. Harriet Tubman's Boston: May, 1859 While staying with the Smiths on Cambridge Street, Tubman received visitors and also met with friends and allies in their homes. Handwritten letter on light parchment. Harriet Tubman's Boston: August, 1859 Tubman also spoke at large gatherings, including at one held in Tremont Temple. At this meeting, she denounced colonization, using a parable to illustrate her point. Black and white sketch of Tremont Temple. Harriet Tubman's Boston: December 2, 1859 Tubman sought the comfort of her friend Ednah Cheney at Cheney's home on Beacon Hill when she heard about John Brown’s execution. John Brown being led to his execution by hanging. Harriet Tubman's Boston This digital exploration highlights several key moments, people, and places that illustrate Tubman's decades-long relationship with Boston and its inhabitants. Harriet Tubman portrait overlaid on top of a historical map of Boston. The Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial and the Underground Railroad The history of the Robert Gould Shaw/54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial is deeply intertwined with that of the Underground Railroad. Though the 54th drew most of its soldiers from the free states, many southern born men, some of whom had fled enslavement, helped fill the ranks of the regiment. Both the memorial and the regiment have strong connections to freedom seekers and their allies on the Underground Railroad. Close-up view of the Robert Gould Shaw 54th Memorial, focusing on the soldiers. National Parks of Boston and the Network to Freedom National Parks of Boston is proud of its strong partnership with the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program as it honors, preserves, and promotes the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight. As of Spring 2022, National Parks of Boston has nine designated sites and programs on the Network to Freedom. Ranger giving a talk on grassy area to visitors with harbor in background. Primus Hall: A Revolutionary Life of Service Born to enslaved parents in Boston, Primus Hall grew up as a shoemaker's apprentice in Danvers, Massachusetts before enlisting in the Continental Army. After the war, he settled in Boston, started a soapboiling business, and became a well respected leader on Black Beacon Hill. Scan of historical document 55th Massachusetts Regiment While often overshadowed by the 54th Massachusetts, the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment also consisted of Black soldiers from across the United States and beyond. Serving during the U.S. Civil War, this regiment notably fought in battles on Morris Island and Honey Hill in South Carolina. Regiment of Black soldiers through a destroyed town with onlookers cheering. The Fugitive Slave Laws and Boston The Fugitive Slave law of 1850 provided far more tools to enslavers to recapture freedom seekers with the full backing and support of the federal government. In Boston, the enforcement of the 1850 law galvanized the local community, spurred an increase in Underground Railroad activity, and led to open confrontations between anti-slavery activists and enslavers, their agents, the federal government, and other authorities. An engraving of a Black man being captured and bound by White men. "The Liberator" First published on January 1, 1831, 'The Liberator' quickly became the preeminent abolitionist newspaper in the United States. Edited by the fiery activist William Lloyd Garrison, this weekly Boston-based periodical served as a major platform to attack slavery and its supporters, inspire action, and promote equal rights for all. The Masthead of the Liberator, depicting a slave auction. Black Churches of Beacon Hill Between 1805 and 1840, the Black community of Boston organized five churches on the north slope of Beacon Hill. These churches served as spiritual centers and played a central role in the political and cultural lives of Black Bostonians. A church sites on a street corner. Its entrance includes a three-story tower with a cupola on top. Emancipation: A Boston Celebration On January 1, 1863, thousands of people gathered to await word of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation at Tremont Temple in Boston, Massachusetts. Frederick Douglass recalled that day and waiting to hear of the news.