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The Hidden History of Boston's Abolition Acre

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley

Prodigy, poet and slave, Phillis Wheatley's work was heralded in her own time and was met with renewed interest during the Abolitionist Era.

David Walker

David Walker

Orator, organizer, entrepreneur, unsung hero – early nineteenth-century Boston resident David Walker was a militant voice of the black freedom struggle.

 

The First African Baptist Church (African Meeting House)

The First African Baptist Church (African Meeting House)

Built in 1806, the First African Baptist Church is the nation's oldest black church.  Beyond the spiritual, it was known as the "abolition church," and most of Boston's black activists congregated there at some point.

 

Maria Stewart

Maria Stewart

Years before Frederick Douglass would urge self-reliance and self-sufficiency for African Americans, Maria Stewart was forced to fend for herself.  In retrospect and respect, this pioneer in women’s rights and anti-slavery efforts crossed the lines of social and political convention, expanding the boundaries and horizons for generations to come.

 

The Tremont Temple Baptist Church

The Tremont Temple Baptist Church

Originally housing the Tremont Theatre, this imposing edifice on Tremont Street in the heart of downtown Boston, opened in 1827, becoming the home of grand opera in the Hub, and, in time, a symbol of integration.

 

 

William & Ellen Craft

William & Ellen Craft

For sheer ingenuity and artful deception, the story of antebellum runaways William and Ellen Craft has few equals. The Crafts were intent upon reaching the Promised Land of freedom while the strategies they employed became legendary.

Charles Lenox Remond

Charles Lenox Remond

During the thirty-four-year publishing history of William Lloyd Garrison’s weekly newspaper, The Liberator, a ringing motto adorned its masthead: “Our Country is the World – Our Countrymen All Mankind.” Throughout that era, a Salem barber, Charles Lenox Remond, not only exemplified Garrison’s commitment to universal human rights but “became one of the first paid, full-time antislavery speakers.” 

William Cooper Nell

William Cooper Nell

Activist, organizer, debater and playwright, William Cooper Nell was truly a renaissance man in Boston's Abolition Acre.

Lydia Maria Child

Lydia Maria Child

Relentlessly pursuing moral agitation rather than social conformity, Lydia Maria Child excelled in many arenas of public life, beyond the boundaries of social convention.

Lewis & Harriet Hayden

Lewis & Harriet Hayden

Radical abolitionists, Lewis and Harriet Hayden were involved in the rescue of fugitive slave Shadrack Minkins, and regularly sheltered escaped slaves who hoped to hide from the slave catchers newly empowered by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  

John Swett Rock

John Swett Rock

Rock’s visibility naturally lent itself to local esteem as a medical man, teacher, anti-slavery speaker and, eventually, a barrister. A professional, he served as a role model of racial uplift, black pride and self-advancement with a flair for self-actualization, temperance and entrepreneurial drive.

William Wells Brown

William Wells Brown

Surviving a succession of menial occupations in and around St. Louis, Missouri – a tavernkeeper’s helper, steward on a Mississippi River steamboat, hotel servant, printer’s apprentice, a field hand, a house-servant, a part-time physician’s assistant, a carriage driver, a gang-boss for a slave trader whom he called a “soul-driver” – Brown transformed a litany of trials and despairs into literary art.