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Lesson Plans - Inspiring Freedom: The Remond Family and Abolitionism in Salem

NAME OF LESSON: Inspiring Freedom: The Remond Family and Abolitionism in Salem
GRADE(S) DESIGNED FOR: 8th (can be adapted for high school)
TIME REQUIRED:

Two-Three 45-minute class periods

NAME OF AUTHOR:

Abaigeal Duda           
PRIMARY SALEM in History CORE THEME ADDRESSED:

Social Change and Social Reform

ADDITIONAL SALEM in History CORE THEME(S) ADDRESSED:  
SALEM in History Topic Addressed:

Abolitionism

Lesson Summary | Frameworks | Essential Question(s) | Lesson Objectives
Historical Background Essay | Materials List and Pre-Arrangements/Preparations Needed
Vocabulary | Lesson Activities | Student Product or Performance
Assessment Criteria | Possible Modifications | Possible Extension Activities
Cross Curricular/Interdisciplinary Links/Activities | Sources and Resources
Additional Resources for Students and Teachers


LESSON SUMMARY:

Until the appearance of Frederick Douglas on the lecture circuit, Salem’s Charles Remond was the premier African-American abolitionist speaker; he was also the first African-American to represent the American Anti-Slavery Society, led by William Lloyd Garrison.  This lesson will demonstrate the Remond family’s important contributions to the abolitionism, and will teach students about the methods the anti-slavery movement used to sway opinions in favor of their cause.  As a counter-point, students will also understand southern arguments against abolition, and internal abolitionist disagreement over the Garrisonian approach to ending slavery.

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PRIMARY SOURCES USED in LESSON:

Constitution of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1834.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

Colfax, Richard H. Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes New York: James T. M. Bleakley Publishers, 1833. Online at: http://www.assumption.edu/users/lknoles/douglassproslaveryargs.html [viewed 1/1/06]

Colton, Calvin to the Honorable Mr. Wise, 17 July 1839.  Henry Alexander Wise Collection.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

Garrison, William Lloyd to the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, 8 April 1839.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

Artist not Identified.  Printed Handkerchief, “The Poor Slave.”  19th century.  Boston Chemical Printing Company, United States.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Artist not Identified.  Charles Lenox Remond, 19th century.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Artist not identified.  John Remond, 19th century.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Artist not identified.  Sarah Parker Remond, c. 1865.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

James Phillips.  Description of a Slave Ship.  London.  Woodcut, 1789.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Lucy Cleveland, Free!, c. 1863.  Wood, cotton, silk, paper, metal, wood leather, glass, pigment.  Peabody Essex Museum.

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ESSENTIAL QUESTION(S):

  • In what ways did abolitionists organize and promote their cause?  What was the southern response to anti-slavery?  By northerners who did not follow Garrison’s appeal?
  • What were the roles of Charles Lenox Remond and Sarah Parker Remond in the abolitionist movement?  How were their contributions significant?
  • How does the example of the organization of anti-slavery societies and Salem demonstrate the complexities of the abolitionist movement in general? 
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LESSON OBJECTIVES

LEARNING/CONTENT OBJECTIVES:

  • Students will learn about the general context of the abolitionist movement, and the specific contributions of the Remond family to its promotion in Salem, the U.S., and Europe

CONCEPT/SKILLS OBJECTIVES:

  • Students will understand historical and current methods used to promote social causes.
  • Students will analyze and compare images and documents to understand persuasive argument, bias, and contradicting points of view.    
 
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CORRELATION WITH HISTORY STANDARDS FROM the 2003 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK

MA FRAMEWORK STRAND:

US History I

MA FRAMEWORK UNIT/THEME ADDRESSED: U.S. History 1

MA FRAMEWORK LEARNING STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED:

US1.31:  Describe the formation of the abolitionist movement, the roles of various abolitionists, and the responses of southerners and northerners to abolitionism.

(b) Frederick Douglass
(d) William Lloyd Garrison


US1.36:  Summarize the critical developments leading to the Civil War.

MA FRAMEWORK CONCEPT AND SKILLS STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED

GRADE AND SUBJECT:

Grade 5, Grades 8-12  History and Social Science

NUMBER(S) AND DESCRIPTION(S):  

(Grade 5)
3. Observe and identify details in cartoons, photographs, charts, and graphs relating to a historical narrative.  (H, E, C)

(Grades 8-12)
4.  Interpret and construct charts and graphs that show quantitative information
(H, D, G, E)

8.  Interpret the past within its own historical context rather than in terms of present day norms and values (H, E, C)

 

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND/CONTEXT ESSAY: 

The anti-slavery “movement” was not a consolidated, coherent organization of abolitionists.  Rather, many groups of people supported the end of slavery for many different reasons, and with many different expectations African Americans once they achieved liberty.

From about 1817 to 1830, the Colonization movement was at the forefront.  People who subscribed to this solution for the end of slavery believed that the best option was to relocate African Americans “back” to Africa.  This was particularly attractive to people with a missionary spirit, who saw an opportunity for the spread of Christian religion in Africa.  Some Southerners who supported abolition were drawn to the Colonization movement because it removed the possibility of racially-mixed equality of free peoples in the south.  Other Southerners rejected any notion of abolition; they recognized the impact that emancipation would have on their economy, which heavily invested in “degraded” human beings as property.

In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison began publishing his periodical, the Liberator, and in 1833, he founded the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Through both vehicles, Garrison promoted the immediate emancipation of slaves who would be welcomed to remain in the United States.

Inspired by Garrison’s example, many others founded Anti-Slavery societies that supported Garrison’s basic mission.  They did so, however, in widely varying terms.  Garrison, for example, supported equal rights for women and condemned practices of American churches, which he felt did not sufficiently aid African Americans.  Other societies did not share these views.  Many societies were founded with gender or race – specific membership.  As Salem’s abolitionist newspaper, the Observer, noted in 1834, supporters of the abolitionist cause did not necessarily advocate racial equality, and were patronizing or outright racist toward African Americans. (1)

In Salem, there were certainly prejudicial practices, but there was also strong African American abolitionist leadership.  The Remond family represents one such community force.  The family patriarch, John Remond, arrived in Beverly in 1798 at about age ten. Remond's highly successful career included work as a caterer and barber. After marrying Nancy (Lenox) Remond in 1807, the couple moved to Salem where Remond catered functions at Hamilton Hall. Some of his notable engagements included a public dinner for the Marquis de Lafayette at Hamilton Hall in 1824, and a dinner for 123 members of the East India Marine Society in 1825.  By the time the Liberator was published in 1831, Remond would have been recognized as a successful Salemite.  Surely people would have also been aware of his advocacy of rights for African Americans.  When John Remond’s daughters passed entrance requirements but were not allowed to attend the segregated “white” school, for example, he moved his family to Rhode Island, where they received an equal education in integrated classes.  Remond was in a financial position to make such choices for his family, and he advocated for the same rights for others. Remond became a life-member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1838, and his activist spirit and business acumen and inspired his eight children.

Among those successful children were abolitionist speakers Charles Lenox Remond (1810-1873) and Sarah Parker Remond (1826-1894).  Charles was John and Nancy’s second child, sixteen years Sarah’s senior.  He was a leader in the Salem abolitionist movement, and in 1838, became the first African American designated as a lecturing agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.  For four years, Charles Remond was the best known speaker on behalf of the cause; in 1842, Frederic Douglas began lecturing, and soon achieved a reputation that surpassed Remond’s.  The two often toured together, but were also often at odds over the particular goals of the movement.

Remond, like Garrison, staunchly supported women’s rights, and he encouraged his sister to speak on behalf of the abolitionist cause.  Her work was all the more notable because she was a successful female acting in the public sphere.  In 1853, she attended an event at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, and refused to sit in the segregated seats. She was removed forcibly and fell down a flight of stairs. Remond successfully brought her case to court and was later granted a small award.  In 1856, at age thirty, she was willing to lecture as an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Sarah Remond toured America and Europe as a well-received speaker for the abolitionist cause, and in 1871, reportedly received a medical diploma in Florence where she practiced as a physician.

Salem’s Female Anti-Slavery Society was fortunate to have the Remonds as role models and resources for their cause.  African American women initially organized the Society in 1832 with a mission to combat:

 the prejudices that adversely affected the lives of Salem’s free blacks. 
Their organization supported self-improvement and assistance to
'needy' members of Salem’s black community.  ... Self-improvement
would “break down the strong barrier of prejudices” and raise African
Americans “to an equality with those of our fellow beings, who differ f
rom us in complexion. (2)

Because African American women continued to hold office and maintain a strong presence in the Society after its 1834 reorganization, the mission to combat racism remained strong.  In 1839, Clarissa Lawrence, the Society’s African American vice president asserted: “We meet the monster prejudice everywhere.  We have not power to contend with it, we are so down-trodden.  We cannot elevate ourselves.  You must aid us.”(3)  The membership indeed offered its aid. They provided free Salem African Americans clothing, the National Anti-Slavery Bazaar at Faneuil Hall goods to sell, and the opportunity for Salem African American girls to improve their sewing skills at a school organized by the Society.  The SFASS also purchased subscriptions to the Liberator, which they donated to other organizations.

One of the Society’s most important avenues for supporting the abolitionist cause was their lecture series, which they organized between 1844 and 1862.  Notable speakers such as William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Lenox Remond, Lucy Stone, and Frederick Douglas were hired to speak at either Mechanic Hall or Lyceum Hall.  This series was funded through the charitable efforts and fundraising events held by the Society.  The SFASS typically featured African American organizational skills and goods at its fundraising fairs. 

The Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society membership voted to disband in 1866 after its primary goal, the abolition of slavery, was achieved through Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  The final meeting minutes record, “though there was much to be done before our country could be free from the curse of slavery, but that our work was now to be done in other ways.” (4)

(1) “Slavery –No. III” The Observer, Salem, MA, May 24, 1834. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

(2) Jeffrey, Julie Roy. The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism: Ordinary Women in the Antislavery Movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998: 42.

(3) Jeffrey, Julie Roy. The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism: Ordinary Women in the Antislavery Movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998: 104.

(4) Meeting Minutes, Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1834-1866. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

 

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MATERIALS LIST AND PRE-ARRANGEMENTS/PREPARATION NEEDED

MATERIALS LIST:

  • Sets of primary source images and documents (see links provided)
  • Worksheets:

    Remond photo analysis (worksheet 1)
    Abolitionism: Charting the Message (worksheet 2)
    Strategic Plan Assignment (high school option)

PREPARATION:

  • Pre-teach vocabulary
  • Either ask students to read in history text about the abolitionist movement, or provide this information through class lecture.
  • Print and copy related worksheets and primary sources for assignments
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VOCABULARY:

  • abolitionism
  • colonization
  • emancipation

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LESSON ACTIVITIES:

Part 1:
Divide students into three-person groups.  Hand out one of the Remond photograph analysis worksheets and one of three images to each group member and ask them to complete section (a).  Together, they will discuss and complete part 2.  Ask students to share their responses to section (b) in a class discussion.

Part 2:
Ask students to fill in worksheet #2 based on their review of actual statements and objects used to promote the abolitionist cause.  (this may be done as individually in class, as homework, in groups, or as class discussion, depending on available time and class level. Select primary sources from among those listed below.

Part 3:
Read actual counter-arguments put forth by people who disagreed with Garrison’s approach, or with the anti-slavery movement in general. (Sources: writings by Colfax and Colton. See Primary Sources list below.)

Part 4: (high school level)
Ask students to formulate a “strategic plan” for promoting a cause today.

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ASSESSMENT/STUDENT PRODUCT or PERFORMANCE:

Students will be assessed on their answers to the worksheet questions, both written and oral, and the final writing piece, which they will produce individually.

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ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:

ASSESSMENT/STUDENT PRODUCT or PERFORMANCE:

Students will be assessed on their completed worksheets as noted in “assessment criteria” below.

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:

Students will be given completion credit (Check +,   Check,    Check –   or 0) for completing their worksheet assignments, according to the following standards:

CHECK +

CHECK

CHECK -

0

Filled out worksheet completely

Filled out worksheet completely

Worksheet incomplete

Did not submit assignment

Understood objectives of assignment

Mostly understood assignment objectives

Does not appear to understand assignment

Demonstrated logical thinking from description through argument questions

Demonstrated ability to fill in most answers with logical thinking

Was not able to move from description to higher-order thinking in answering questions

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POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS:

 Possible modifications include but are not limited to:

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POSSIBLE EXTENSION ACTIVITIES:

  • Ask students to further research issues that divided the abolitionist movement. 
  • Ask students to select a person or movement striving for change today and write an essay that compares and contrasts contemporary tactics in reaching their goals with those of the abolitionists.
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CROSS CURRICULAR/INTERDISCIPLINARY LINKS/ACTIVITIES: 

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SOURCES AND RESOURCES

PRIMARY SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:

Constitution of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1834.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

This one-page typeset document outlines the tenets of this abolitionist organization that existed from 1834-1866. Hand-printed versions also exist within the manuscript collections at the Phillips Library

Colfax, Richard H. Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes New York: James T. M. Bleakley Publishers, 1833. Online at: http://www.assumption.edu/users/lknoles/douglassproslaveryargs.html [viewed 1/1/06]

These excerpts suggest some arguments used by Southerners to counter abolitionist arguments.

Colton, Calvin to the Honorable Mr. Wise, 17 July 1839.  Henry Alexander Wise Collection.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876), who served in Congress from 1833-1844, was a Confederate general in the Civil War and a prominent defender of slavery. He became governor of Virginia in 1856 and at the end of his term in 1860, signed the death warrant of John Brown.

In this letter, Episcopal clergyman Calvin Colton wishes to solicit Wise’s opinion and support for his recent publication, Abolition a Sedition. Colton writes that his work will raise public awareness about the interrelationship of religion and the state with regard to abolitionism, whose proponents Wise hopes will be put in a “position of embarrassment.”

Garrison, William Lloyd to the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, 8 April 1839.  Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

The Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society supported The Liberator, Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper. They also contracted Garrison as a repeat speaker for their annual lecture series in Salem from 1844 to 1862. This letter accepts an invitation to speak in Salem, and compliments the efforts “of both sexes” who are working for the abolitionist cause. He also addresses the “divisions that exist in our rank,” but notes that some rifts were to be expected. He does not specify the issues that have caused the conflicts.

Artist not Identified.  Printed Handkerchief, “The Poor Slave.”  19th century.  Boston Chemical Printing Company, United States.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Printed handkerchiefs such as this example were often created in relatively small quantities on newspaper presses. Some varieties might be given by newspapers as gifts to customers at Christmastime, others might celebrate an event, promote a cause, or educate children. "The Poor Slave" handkerchief features text and religious scripture related to abolition and the reaction of children to the injustice of slavery. Though the specific die casts for the imagery have not been identified, the symbolism is typical for the period.

Artist not Identified.  Charles Lenox Remond, 19th century.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Charles Lenox Remond (1810-1873) was the second child of John and Nancy (Lenox) Remond. An anti-slavery orator, Remond (1810 – 1873) was a life member of the American Anti-Slavery Society and a leader in the abolitionist movement in Salem. He worked as a professional, full-time speaker for the cause, and toured several times with Frederick Douglass. In 1840 he traveled to London as a representative at the World Anti-Slavery Convention. During the Civil War, he recruited for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a black unit famously memorialized in a statue by Augustus St. Gaudens that stands on Boston Common

Artist not identified.  John Remond, 19th century.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

Originally named "Vonreman," John Remond changed his name soon after arriving without family in Beverly in 1798 at the age of ten. Remond's highly successful career included work as a caterer and barber. After marrying Nancy (Lenox) Remond in 1807, the couple moved to Salem where Remond catered functions at Hamilton Hall. Some of his notable engagements included a public dinner for the Marquis de Lafayette at Hamilton Hall in 1824, and a dinner for 123 members of the East India Marine Society in 1825.

The Remonds raised a family of eight children who included notable abolitionist speakers Charles Lenox Remond and Sarah Parker Remond. John Remond became a life-member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1838.

The Peabody Essex Museum Collections contain a number of objects and documents related to this family and John Remond's business.

Artist not identified.  Sarah Parker Remond, c. 1865.  Photograph.  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

International abolitionist speaker Sarah Parker Remond (1826-1894) was not only notable for her work on behalf of the rights of African Americans, but because she was a successful woman in the public sphere.

In 1853, she attended an event at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, and refused to sit in the segregated seats. She was removed forcibly and fell down a flight of stairs. Remond successfully brought her case to court and was late granted a small award.

Remond toured America and Europe as a well-received speaker for the abolitionist cause, and in 1871, reportedly received a medical diploma in Florence where she practiced as a physician.

James Phillips.  Description of a Slave Ship.  London.  Woodcut, 1789.  Peabody Essex Museum.

The Peabody Essex Museum holds two prints in its collection that show the plans of slave ships and how captive occupants might be arranged to maximize the use of space. The cramped conditions frequently led to the spread of disease and even suffocation. This image was widely distributed and used by abolitionists as support for their cause.

Lucy Cleveland, Free!, c. 1863.  Wood, cotton, silk, paper, metal, wood leather, glass, pigment.  Peabody Essex Museum.

Using typical household textiles and sewing techniques, Lucy Cleveland created vignettes of individual or multiple figure groupings that were at times humorous, touching, or political. Free! clearly responds to the Emancipation Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862. Though it is not known whether Cleveland created this piece with the intention of exhibition, there are records to indicate that some of her creations were exhibited at charitable fairs to raise money for causes. There are also known print and other visual sources that are clear inspiration for at least some of her vignettes. An image such as Stephen Henry Gimber's Emancipation, distributed by the American Anti-Slavery Society, might have inspired her work here.

Cleveland was an advocate of the abolitionist cause at least as early as the 1830s, evinced by the anti-slavery sentiment in children's books that she wrote during that time. (Note that the Phillips Library holds more than a dozen books by Cleveland.)

The symbolism in this work include the bandaged head, sling, and knotted whip that suggest the past oppressive state of slavery. Importantly, the smiling figure holds forth the proclamation of freedom, heralding better days ahead with slavery abolished.

SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:

Collison, Gary L. "Alexander Burton and Salem's 'Fugitive Slave Riot' of 1851." Essex Institute Historical Collections 128, no. 1 (1992): 17-26.

The Essex Institute Historical Collections also features separate essays about Sarah Parker Remond and Charles Lenox Remond.

Goodman, Paul. Of One Blood: Abolitionism and the Origins of Racial Equality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Through this work, Goodman puts abolitionism in the social context of its time: the temperance movement, a budding feminist movement, and growing concern about the heartlessness of capitalism and the industrial revolution. He highlights the role of freed blacks in pushing for equality and resisting efforts, or movements, to send blacks back to Africa.

Jacobs, Donald M., ed. Courage and Conscience: Black and White Abolitionists in Boston. Published for the Boston Athenaeum. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

These essays discuss the abolitionist movement in Boston, which was a cetner of the movement for those in Salem.

Jeffrey, Julie Roy. The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism: Ordinary Women in the Antislavery Movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

 Jeffrey describes the active role that women held in the abolitionist cause. This "public" role was so widespread that it became "normalized" in many communities. Jeffrey draws upon experiences in Salem, MA in shaping her argument, and provides excellent background for the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society during the 1832-1834 period that is not available in the Society's records in the Phillips Library.

Yee, Shirley J.  Black Women Abolitionists: A Study in Activism, 1828-1860. University of Tennessee Press, 1992.

Yee suggests that racism among reformers propelled black women reformers toward separate action and identity. She writes:

Black women’s participation in the movement, however, held
a dual significance.  Although, like middle-class white women
in the antebellum society, free black women felt bound by
contemporary ideals of “respectable” womanhood, for them
these gender conventions underscored an irony inherent in
black abolitionist goals.  (4)

Yee also uses Salem, MA as an example of an abolitionist society that was initially founded by African American women, and was later interracial.

WEB RESOURCES USED IN LESSON:

(Sources from the SALEM in History website are referenced within other sections.)

Colfax, Richard H. Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes New York: James T. M. Bleakley Publishers, 1833. Online at: http://www.assumption.edu/users/lknoles/douglassproslaveryargs.html [viewed 1/1/06]

These excerpts suggest some arguments used by Southerners to counter abolitionist arguments.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND/OR STUDENTS:

Making the World Better: The Struggle for Equality in 19th Century America is a free curriculum packet produced in connection with the State House Women's Leadership Project http://www.mfh.org/specialprojects/shwlp/site/curriculum/

This curriculum was developed by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell for middle and high school students. Sarah Parker Remond is one of the featured figures in the project.

Afro American History Museum “Words of Thunder” exhibition, Boston
http://www.wordsofthunder.org/

In addition to offering information about the stories that the Museum tells (related to the once thriving African American community on Boston's Beacon Hill) this website's "Links" section offers links to a wide and impressive array of additional cultural and historical resources related to African American history, abolitionism, education etc., including local and national archives and collections. This exhibition was co-sponsored with the Museum of Afro American History, Boston http://www.afroammuseum.org/

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