Category Archives: Digital History

Putting Public History Into Practice: The Industrial School for Girls

By: Sarah K. Black

When I entered the public history graduate program at UMass Boston, my experience in the field of history was strictly academic. One can only imagine how anxious I felt when I received the syllabus for HST 625, Interpreting History in Public: Approaches to Public History Practice. Under the instruction of Professor Jane Becker and in partnership with Joe Bagley at the Boston City Archaeology Program, my colleagues and I were tasked with uncovering the history of those who lived and worked at the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls (ISFG) during the 1860s and delivering those stories to the public in a way that was both appealing and accessible.

ISFG map
Map depicting the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls, 1889.

The ISFG was established in 1853 by several women who sought to educate and train destitute young girls in the field of domestic service. Once deemed ready by the staff, the girls would be placed in homes to work as servants. Our class was required to connect our biographical sketches with artifacts retrieved during Bagley’s excavation of the site in Summer 2015, and construct a website to ensure our interpretations could reach the widest possible audience. I was extremely intimidated by the project because, unlike writing a paper, we were working with a client (Bagley) and producing a tangible product. Who knew that the ISFG project would become the most exciting, informative, and meaningful experience of my entire academic career.

There were two main phases of the project—the first of which required each of us to conduct extensive biographical research on one staff member and one student. But how do we construct narratives for women who spent much of their lives on the fringes of society? And what does the middle ground of meticulous research and writing for a popular audience look like? These were just a few of the many questions we had to grapple with when we began producing these histories. We had to learn how to effectively weave facts and relevant context into a story that was both informative and accurate, as well as include elements that readers could connect with.

Hasson card
Record of Margaret Hasson, an ISFG student  who later became “inmate #13430” at Bridgewater Almshouse. Courtesy of the Massachusetts State Archives. Photograph by author.

Like several of my classmates, the beginning of my research was defined by countless hours working with genealogy sites and other online resources. Once we made it through the initial frustration of uncovering subjects so elusive in the historical record, we found that each had a unique and captivating story to tell. Some narratives featured immersive details of mischief, international travel, and death, while others concluded with more questions than they started with.

While conducting my research, I was fortunate enough to travel to the American Baptist Historical Society, located at Mercer University in Atlanta. There I found a collection of letters written by the ISFG matron, Mary S. Daüble, while she served as a missionary in India. Whether working as a missionary in India or a matron at multiple institutions, Mary devoted her life to education and religious teachings. After some intensive genealogical investigation, I was able to shed light on Daüble’s life and experiences. I even located a blueprint of her home and added her to my own family tree on ancestry.com.

Blueprint of Mary Daüble's house.
Blueprint of Mary Daüble and her husband’s house. Courtesy of the American Baptist Historical Society.  Photograph by author.

The story of Margaret (Maggie) Hasson was quite different. An Irish orphan who entered the institution at just 8 years old, Maggie found herself placed as a domestic servant in 10 different homes between 1860 and 1864. Mischievous to say the least, she ran away several times and even eloped with an African American Civil War soldier. After a police officer located and returned Hasson to the Industrial School for Girls, the school sent her to the Bridgewater Almshouse.

The second phase of the project was centered on group work. Our class was divided into three groups: website design and introduction, social media and marketing, and annotated transcription the ISFG’s 1860 annual report. As a member of the introduction group, I was responsible for contributing to the overall design of the website and drafting the text for the site’s landing pages.

Screen shot of ISFG website.

Once again, we were met with challenges: How do we create an interface that is both informative yet engaging? How can we stand out against the plethora of webpages that characterize the digital age in which we live? Just as it was difficult to condense hours of biographical research into 1000-word narratives, our team struggled with determining what information was essential for each of the site’s main pages. These sections had to be brief enough to capture and maintain the reader’s interest, but also paint the fullest possible picture of the school, the archaeological dig, and the project.

This experience gave my peers and me the opportunity to develop and improve skills in biographical research and historical interpretation in a digital age. We also learned the value of collaboration—not only with one another, but also with our professor, our client, and other cultural institutions. And finally, the project prompted us to retrieve voices that may have otherwise remained silent, gave us the chance to tell history from the bottom-up, and helped us to see the extraordinary value in uncovering the “ordinary.” The ISFG project proved to be the perfect introduction to turning public history theory into practice.

Sarah K. Black is earning her M.A. in History with a specialization in Public History. She currently also works as an editorial assistant for The New England Quarterly.

Please follow and like us:

Roaring for Rights: Women & Boston’s Anti-Busing Movement

Clipping of a newspaper article about ROAR's "March on Washington" in March 1975. The article states that ROAR marched to demand a constitutional amendment to block school busing. Clipping part of the Louise Day Hicks Papers, Boston City Archives.
Clipping of a newspaper article about ROAR’s “March on Washington,” March 19, 1975. Louise Day Hicks stands in the front of the crowd, wearing sunglasses. Clipping from the Louise Day Hicks Papers, Boston City Archives.

On March 19, 1975, roughly 1200 Bostonians trudged through torrential rains and howling winds from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building. The group, members of “Restore Our Alienated Rights”–ROAR for short–marched to generate national support for a constitutional amendment. The determined marchers–mainly mothers–alternated singsong shouts of “No! No! No! We won’t go!” with the chorus of “God Bless America” as they slogged through the deluge with the movement’s founding leader, Louise Day Hicks.

At the time, many women across the nation gathered in public demonstrations to support the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights for women. But the demonstrators of ROAR had a different goal that blustery March day. They intended to galvanize support for a different constitutional amendment–one that would end court-ordered busing as a means of integrating public schools in Boston.

Logo of Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR), depicting a lion holding a school bus in its claws. Image from the Louise Day Hicks papers, courtesy of Boston City Archives.
Logo of Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR), depicting a lion grasping a school bus in its claws. Image from the Louise Day Hicks papers, courtesy of Boston City Archives.

On the steps of the Capitol, Louise Day Hicks, dubbed “the Joan of Arc of Boston,” rallied the sodden crowd. The day before, leaders from fourteen states formed a national anti-busing coalition and appointed Hicks as chairperson. Like its Boston counterpart, the national ROAR coalition’s logo featured a fierce lion menacingly clutching a school bus in its paws.  1)Robinson, Walter. “National Antibusing Coalition Formed with Hicks as Leader.” Boston Globe (1960-1985): 1. Mar 19 1975. ProQuest. Web. 16 Mar. 2017 As Hicks announced the national coalition, its goal, and her role as leader, she dramatically compared the heavy rain to the tears “of Boston’s oppressed parents.”2)Robinson, Walter. “Hub Busing Foes Get Drenching, some Support.” Boston Globe (1960-1985): 1. Mar 20 1975. ProQuest. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. Gatherers roared their approval.

Louise Day Hicks, ca.1969.
Louise Day Hicks, ca.1969, prior to her leadership of ROAR. Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps the most widely recognized leader of Boston’s anti-busing movement, the controversial Hicks provoked mixed reactions. To some, especially those from predominantly white neighborhoods like South Boston, Hicks became a paragon of virtue who championed the rights of working-class whites. To others, she epitomized a conservative racist on par with white supremacist “Bull” Connor, who ordered attacks on civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.

Hicks was raised in the predominantly Irish working-class neighborhood of South Boston. Known for her political and social conservatism, she embodied virtues associated with traditional femininity. Observers noted that she always styled her hair precisely, wore blue, pink, or green dresses, and frequently wore dainty white gloves. Although she conceived of the acronym ROAR, she spoke in a cultured, genteel voice and emphasized her role as a mother in her political campaigns.3)Feeney, Mark. “LOUISE DAY HICKS, ICON OF TUMULT, DIES.” Boston Globe. Oct 22 2003. ProQuest. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Before she became a champion of the anti-busing movement, as a young wife and mother, Hicks earned a law degree from Boston University Law School. In 1955, she was one of only nine women graduated from a class of 232. She built a successful, if short, career in politics after winning election to the Boston School Committee with the slogan “the only mother on the ballot.” 4)Lukas, J. AnthonyCommon Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York: Vintage Books), 1986, 123. Despite her hearty endorsement of social conservatism, Hicks held a membership in the the National Organization for Women. Reportedly, her father had taught her that  gender should not limit options or curtail opportunities; thus Hicks had lobbied for passage of the ERA while she served as a Massachusetts Representative in Congress (1971-1973).5)Feeney, Mark. “LOUISE DAY HICKS, ICON OF TUMULT, DIES.” Boston Globe. Oct 22 2003. ProQuest. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Hicks’ advocacy of equal rights did not extend to all. While serving on the School Committee in the 1960s, Hicks faced accusations that Boston Public Schools (BPS) suffered from racial imbalance. Like others on the Committee, she adamantly denied the accusation and clashed repeatedly with the NAACP on the issue.

Button of Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR), depicting a lion sitting on a school bus with the words, "STOP FORCED BUSING."
Button of Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) with logo and words, “STOP FORCED BUSING.” Courtesy of John Joseph Moakley Archive & Institute, Suffolk University.

In 1974, when a federal judge ruled that BPS were segregated and mandated public school integration by busing students away from neighborhoods, many protested vehemently. Hicks became a spokesperson for the outrage many Bostonians felt towards “forced busing.” To some working-class Bostonians, Hicks and ROAR, the group she founded, symbolized key tenets of inalienable rights: individual liberty, the right of parents to make the best life choices for their children’s well-being and happiness.

Flyer of the Jamaica Plain Concerned Citizen's League. Image courtesy of Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections.
Flyer of the Jamaica Plain Concerned Citizen’s League. Image courtesy of Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections.

Under the guidance of Hicks, who had built a solid reputation as a conservative mother, ROAR began as an informal group of local women–white mothers with young children–expressing concern about busing. Excepting Hicks, most lacked any background in political organizing. But within a short time, ROAR members orchestrated numerous demonstrations, coordinated widespread boycotts, and initiated letter-writing campaigns, publicity stunts, and political appeals. Often, Hicks and other women justified even the group’s most violent activities in gendered terms, claiming a responsibility as mothers protecting neighborhood children.

Researching the topic of Boston Public School desegregation, graduate student Rachel Sherman became intrigued by ROAR, its controversial but little-researched leader, Louise Day Hicks, and the other women active in the anti-busing movement. Want to learn more about Hicks and ROAR? Sherman designed an online exhibit, “ROAR: THE ANTI-BUSING GROUP WITH THE LOUDEST VOICE,” that explores the group’s main characters, their motivations, local activity and national support. Peruse documents, ROAR’s publications, and photographs that Sherman unearthed at the Boston City Archives and Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections and learn about the women of ROAR and their legacy by visiting her full exhibit here.

Please follow and like us:

References   [ + ]

1. Robinson, Walter. “National Antibusing Coalition Formed with Hicks as Leader.” Boston Globe (1960-1985): 1. Mar 19 1975. ProQuest. Web. 16 Mar. 2017
2. Robinson, Walter. “Hub Busing Foes Get Drenching, some Support.” Boston Globe (1960-1985): 1. Mar 20 1975. ProQuest. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
3, 5. Feeney, Mark. “LOUISE DAY HICKS, ICON OF TUMULT, DIES.” Boston Globe. Oct 22 2003. ProQuest. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.
4. Lukas, J. AnthonyCommon Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York: Vintage Books), 1986, 123.

She Had a Dream: Ruth Batson & Equal Education in Boston

In August 1963, Ruth Batson, a community leader and activist from Roxbury, Massachusetts, joined over 200,000 Americans to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Ruth Batson's pennant from the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Image courtesy of Schlesinger LIbrary. Ruth Batson Papers, Schlesinger Library.
Ruth Batson’s pennant from the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Image courtesy of Schlesinger Library. Ruth Batson Papers, Schlesinger Library.

The watershed moment, one of the greatest demonstrations for civil rights in the US, culminated with marchers walking peacefully to the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what became known as the “I Have a Dream” speech. Batson, who had turned 42 shortly before the March on Washington, shared King’s vision. She had a dream, too. An activist for civil rights in Boston, Batson dreamed of equal education for African Americans in Boston Public Schools. She began working to make that dream a reality years before the March on Washington.

Ruth M. Batson working as a student teacher at Lenox St Housing Project Pre-School.
Ruth M. Batson working as a student teacher at Lenox St Housing Project Pre-School, ca. 1948. Image reproduced for research and educational purposes, courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Rights status is not evaluated.

In the late 1940s, as a student teacher of the Nursery Training School of Boston and as a young mother, she witnessed disparity in the public school system firsthand. That experience led her to become active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Boston. A decade before the March on Washington, she was appointed chairperson of the newly-established Public Education Sub-Committee. The experience transformed her. She recalled:

“From that day on, my life changed profoundly.  I learned how to sharpen my observation skills.  I learned how to write reports.  I learned how to stand before a legislative body and state the NAACP’s case.  I lost all fear of ‘important’ people or organizations.” 1)Ruth M. Batson, The Black Educational Movement in Boston: A Sequence of Historical Events; A Chronology (Boston, MA: Northeastern University, School of Education, 2001), 9.

Documenting the physical condition of the city’s public schools, she noted widespread separation of black and white children. She challenged the Boston School Committee to address de facto segregation and the inadequate facilities of schools attended primarily by blacks.

Committed to her dream of equal education, Batson became a leading force of METCO (the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) and she became increasingly active in politics. She became the first black woman to serve on the Democratic National Committee and the first woman elected president of NAACP’s New England Regional Conference (1957-1960). During that time, she volunteered in John F. Kennedy’s civil rights office and worked tirelessly for democratic campaigns on both local and national levels.

Governor Endicott Peabody adminiters the oath to Ruth M. Batson for her new appointment at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, 1963. Image reproduced for research and educational purposes, courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Rights status is not evaluated.
Governor Endicott Peabody administers the oath to Ruth M. Batson for her new appointment at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, 1963. Image reproduced for research and educational purposes, courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Rights status is not evaluated.

Recognized for her spirited nature and determination, in December 1963–just months after the March on Washington–Batson was appointed to serve as chairperson of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Ruth Batson advocated for civil rights and equal schooling for blacks in Boston for over thirty years. Committed to making her dream a reality, she helped reshape Boston’s public education system. Want to learn more about this extraordinary woman from Roxbury?

Graduate student Laurie Kearney created on online exhibit, “Ruth M. Batson, Mother, Educator, Civil Worker,” that provides a comprehensive overview of Batson’s life, volunteerism, and career. Using documents and photographs from the Boston City Archives, the National Archives at Boston, Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, and the Schlesinger Library, Kearney explores how the personal and political intersected in this woman’s life.

Kearney’s narrative explores how Batson’s upbringing and experiences as a mother led to a career of community and political activism. Learn more about Batson’s actions in the movement to integrate Boston Public Schools and her and role as a leader of METCO (the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) by visiting the full exhibit.

Please follow and like us:

References   [ + ]

1. Ruth M. Batson, The Black Educational Movement in Boston: A Sequence of Historical Events; A Chronology (Boston, MA: Northeastern University, School of Education, 2001), 9.

FROM THE CITY TO THE SUBURBS: VOLUNTARY SCHOOL DESEGREGATION THROUGH BOSTON’S METCO PROGRAM

By: Corinne Zaczek Bermon

In 1974, a young boy named Kevin Tyler stepped off his bus on the first day of school.1)Name changed as request of former METCO student. As the Kevin looked out at the area surrounding his new school, he could only think that everything was foreign and weird. Although he was only ten miles from home, the Roxbury native thought that suburbia was another world. Gone were the noises from the street and common spaces and in their place were fences, private backyards, and white faces. Although it smelled cleaner, it wasn’t exactly pleasant to Kevin as the fresher air “felt weird to [his] nose.”  The white students around him sounded strange and bland when they spoke, not in the expressive style he were used to in Roxbury. But even on his first day of school, Kevin could see that life in the suburbs was easier, charmed even.2)Susan Eaton, The Other Boston Busing Story: What’s Won and Lost Across the Boundary Line (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 218-219.

Cover of the METCO information pamphlet.
Pamphlet for parents about the METCO program. Image courtesy Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections.

Many METCO students experienced a disconnect after they disembarked the buses that brought them to their suburban schools. Perhaps more profoundly than anyone, these young students saw the consequences of the deep racial and class divide that characterized Boston. The suburbs may be close geographically to the metropolitan area, but as Robert observed, they were worlds apart.

So how did students of color end up at schools in the suburbs? As we have passed the fortieth anniversary of busing for school desegregation, it is important to note, that voluntary busing existed before Morgan v. Hennigan mandated it, and still exists today as the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity or, as it is commonly know, METCO.

Even after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which determined that segregated education was inherently unequal and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, de facto segregation remained prevalent in both the northern and southern US schools. In 1967 the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a pamphlet titled “Schools Can Be Desegregated,” which made several statements regarding segregated schools in the US:

  1. Racial isolation in the public schools is intense and is growing worse.
  2. Negro children suffer serious harm when they are educated in racially segregated schools, whatever the origin of that segregation. They do not achieve as well as other children; their aspirations are more restricted than those of other children; and they do not have as much confidence that they can influence their own futures.
  3. White children in all-white schools are also harmed and frequently are ill prepared to live in a world of people from diverse social, economic, and cultural background.3)U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Schools Can be Desegregated” (Washington, D.C.: Clearinghouse Publication No. 8, June 1967) 1.
A Bird's Eye View from Within-As We See It by the staff and board of Operation Exodus
“A Bird’s Eye View from Within – As We See It,” report on Operation Exodus, 1965. Image courtesy Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections. Full report online.

Faced with the unresponsive and all-white Boston School Committee’s stance towards de facto segregation in Boston schools, concerned parents and activists founded “Operation Exodus” through Roxbury’s Freedom House in 1965 as a voluntary way to desegregate Boston Public Schools. In its first year, 400 African American students from Roxbury and Dorchester were bused to the predominantly white, but under enrolled, Faneuil School in Back Bay. In 1966, Operation Exodus was renamed the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO). Immediately, Black students faced the problem of how to address race while part of an expressly integration-based program. As Susan Eaton, Ed.D., expert in racial and economic inequality in public education, discovered, “neither [black nor white students] talked to the other about race – the very thing that appeared to be separating them. As a result, race frequently felt to the black students like a family secret. To keep life going smoothly, everyone compliantly locked the race subject away. It was too potent to open, to delicate to touch.”4)Eaton, 81. The attitude towards race as a subject to be avoided in some ways reflected the outcry against METCO in the city.

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. program created controversy in nearly every town to which it bused black urban students.

Photograph of black and white students sitting together in a classroom in Boston, circa 1973. Image courtesy of Boston City Archives.

While some suburbanites welcomed the program as a way to expose their children to a more diverse group of classmates while also assisting underprivileged urban students, others did not focus on the ideological mission of METCO. Instead, they considered the financial costs of the program, the potential negative impact on schools, and the needs of their own children to be more important than minimally integrating their school systems. Others accused METCO of reverse racism for primarily busing African American students rather than poor white students. During the 1970s busing crisis within Boston, the program exposed divisions and resentments between suburbs and the city and within the suburbs themselves. Many began to question the value of integration as well as its effectiveness. With the potential costs to each town and to each taxpayer, residents of both the city and suburbs wondered, was the ideological goal of integration a worthwhile endeavor?

The online exhibit, “Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO): Solving Racial Imbalance in Boston Public Schools,” created by graduate students Kristin Harris (MA American Studies, 2015) and Corinne Zaczek Bermon (MA American Studies, 2015; MA History Archives Track, 2017) explores the founding of the organization and the effects it had as a voluntary busing program rather than the controversial “forced busing.”

Using the METCO collection at Northeastern University, Harris and Bermon combed through nearly 144 boxes to find the story of METCO. They hand selected documents that highlighted the difficulties METCO had in funding despite support from the Board of Education and how parents stayed involved in the program through parent councils to keep their children safe and in the program.

This exhibit tells the story of the other side of the busing crisis in 1974-1975. Despite the ongoing violence and intimidation happening in city schools such as South Boston High School and Charlestown High School, METCO students had been quietly and determinedly attended suburban schools through their own busing program. Their stories counteract the narrative that all student busing for desegregation was fraught with protests and violence. The METCO program today still serves as a model for the country as to how to racially balance schools.

Visit the full exhibit to read more about METCO’s beginning and see how parent councils were involved closely with the host schools.

Please follow and like us:

References   [ + ]

1. Name changed as request of former METCO student.
2. Susan Eaton, The Other Boston Busing Story: What’s Won and Lost Across the Boundary Line (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 218-219.
3. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Schools Can be Desegregated” (Washington, D.C.: Clearinghouse Publication No. 8, June 1967) 1.
4. Eaton, 81.

Caught in the Crossfire: Students’ Reactions to Busing in Boston

On December 11, 1974, Michael Faith, a 17-year old student at South Boston High School, was stabbed by an 18-year old African American student while walking in the corridor to his second period class.

Excerpt of police log on October 8, 1974, documenting violence reported at Boston Public Schools between 10:30 am and 12:35 pm.
Excerpt of police log on October 8, 1974, documenting violence reported at Boston Public Schools between 10:30 am and 12:35 pm. The report for the two-hour period totaled 8 pages. Image courtesy Boston City Archives.

Violence erupted and race-related attacks escalated in Boston’s public schools from the first week of court-ordered busing that September.

On a daily basis many African American students, teacher’s aids, and bus drivers were pelted with rocks and bottles, struck with bats, beaten with fists, and threatened, as this excerpt of a police log for a 2-hour period indicates.

All students In Boston Public Schools (BPS) were affected by the violent reactions to busing on some level. Those who weren’t assaulted physically often witnessed or heard about brutal attacks that occurred in their, or nearby, schools. Student absenteeism skyrocketed in many schools as a result. How did students react to the atmosphere of violence and fear during the years busing was used to desegregate BPS?

Letter from 3rd grade student to Mayor Kevin White, telling him he wants the violence between blacks and whites to stop. Image courtesy of Boston City Archives. Rights status is not evaluated.
Letter from 3rd grade student to Mayor Kevin White, telling him he wants the violence between blacks and whites to stop. Image courtesy of Boston City Archives. Rights status is not evaluated.

The online exhibit, “What About the Kids? A Look Into the Students’ Perspectives on School Desegregation,” created by Krystle Beaubrun (History, 2015) and Lauren Prescott* (Public History and Archives, 2016) explores opinions and reactions students had to what was commonly dubbed “forced busing” in Boston.

Using collections at Boston City Archives and UMass Boston’s Archives & Special Collections, Beaubrun and Prescott scoured hundreds of letters written to Kevin White–then mayor of Boston–and W. Arthur Garrity–the federal judge who ordered that schools be integrated through busing–by students.

Poem by young student to Mayor Kevin White. Image courtesy of Boston City Archives. Rights status is not evaluated.
Poem written by elementary school student to Mayor Kevin White in December, 1974–four months after Phase I (busing) of desegregating BPS was implemented. Image courtesy of Boston City Archives. Rights status is not evaluated.

They selected a sampling of letters written by students–in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools  in Boston and across on the country–sharing their unique reactions to busing as a way to desegregate BPS. Many younger students expressed confusion about the violence and prayed for its end. Some offered the adults suggestions on how to improve the situation.

Their exhibit captures the unique reasons high school juniors and seniors opposed “forced busing.” In heartfelt letters to officials, students described how busing about disrupted their place on sports teams, prevented them from partaking in traditions like senior prom, severed relationships they’d built with teachers, and prohibited them from graduating from the school system they’d attended their whole lives.

Despite the violence that erupted in schools during the early years of busing, Beaubrun and Prescott’s exhibit also documents how some black and white students joined together to counteract negativity. Responding to media coverage that generalized South Boston High School students as racists during the 1970s, students Michael Tierney and Danis Terris founded and launched MOSAIC in 1980.

An exhibit annoucement for MOSAIC. Image courtesy of UMass Boston, University Archives & Special Collections.
An exhibit announcement for MOSAIC. Image courtesy of UMass Boston, University Archives & Special Collections. Search or browse full-text issues here.

MOSAIC, a publication produced from 1980-1988, contained  autobiographical stories, photographs and poetry from students at South Boston High School. The University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston has digitized the full 11-issue run of MOSAIC. Search or browse full-text issues here.

Visit the full exhibit to read more reactions students had to busing.  Learn about how officials, clergy, and individuals around the  around the world reacted to Boston’s busing crisis in future posts.

*Shortly after graduating with her MA in history, Lauren became the Executive Director of the South End Historical Society. Congratulations, Lauren!

 

Please follow and like us:

Learning from the Clothes that Haverhill Wore: A Semester at the Haverhill Historical Society

By Rachel Sherman

During the Fall 2016 semester, I worked as an intern in both curatorship and collections management at the Haverhill Historical Society under Janice Williams. The Haverhill Historical Society serves as the historical center for the area of Greater Haverhill and the Merrimack Valley (Massachusetts). Occupying “The Buttonwoods” mansion originally bequeathed to the historical society in 1903, the Haverhill Historical Society collects and exhibits items relating to the area’s culture and history. These items once belonged to Haverhill residents and include numerous textiles ranging from quilts to costumes.

Figure 1: The John Ward House, owned by the Haverhill Historical Society. This house currently resides on the Buttonwoods Property. Picture taken by Rachel Sherman (2016).

From the beginning of my graduate career, I knew that I wanted to gain experience in a small historical institution like the Haverhill Historical Society. They needed the help. Now more than ever, historical societies need to be more organized, user friendly, and publicly accessible in order to stay relevant. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are run by small staff, infrequent volunteers, and the occasional intern. Despite this reality, the Haverhill Historical Society strives towards making themselves more accessible. This determination and dedication attracted me to intern at the Haverhill Historical Society.

My internship contributed the Haverhill Historical Society and their mission to modernize. They have been working on a ten-year long project to digitally catalog their collections, working to connect the items to Haverhill history. My job was to use their cataloging system, PastPerfect, to assess the condition of and digitally catalog a certain number of hanging costumes. I was also tasked with creating an informational “Intern’s Pick List.” The list includes costumes I felt were important to understanding Haverhill’s history and will be added to the Haverhill Historical Society’s website alongside the Curator’s Pick List.

Every historical institution, whether they are a small historical society or a large museum, has its own process for cataloging items; however, almost all institutions require the same general skills in approaching their items. From my experience, I present a small list of what I learned while interning at the Haverhill Historical Society.

Figure 3: Ninteenth century men’s robe, donated by the F.O. Raymond Estate. Fred O. Raymond Sr. lived and raised his family in Haverhill, serving as the Deputy Sheriff of Essex County from 1870 until his death in 1901. Object owned by the Haverhill Historical Society. Picture taken by Rachel Sherman (2016).

Always check the pockets: This is meant both figuratively and literally. During my investigation into a nineteenth century robe, I conducted my usual condition assessment, placed a new accession number tag, and proceeded to bring the costume back to its home. As I held the costume, I felt something in the left pocket I did not notice before. I carefully looked to see what was inside the pocket, and found a little envelope from the Haverhill Historical Society in the early twentieth century that also included written names. This fun little discovery helped me identify the history and the provenance of the robe. From

then on I checked every pocket I encountered. Look at every angle of what you are working on; you never know what you are going to find in the most obscure places. 

Dig a little deeper: Researching can lead someone down a rabbit hole, and through this internship I went down several! One such rabbit hole involved genealogical work. My first day of working with the collection, I cataloged a wedding dress belonging to an Augusta Merryman of Maine donated by a Mrs. Daniel Hunt of Haverhill. Curious about the relation between the two women, I turned to census records to see if the women shared a family. After working backwards through fifty years of census records, I connected the dots and found that Augusta Merryman (whose first name was actually Lydia) was Mrs. Daniel Hunt’s aunt. Therefore it helps to dig a little deeper into the records to find connections to the past.

Use every available resource: See everyone and everything as a resource. While cataloging a men’s suit, I came across the name William C. Glines. Upon researching the name, I quickly learned that Haverhill housed more than one William C. Glines. After a period of frustration, I decided to ask the curator for assistance. Meanwhile, Mary Ann, a fellow volunteer on the textile collection, overheard our conversation and chimed in about her own object. It turned out that not only did she know the Glines family, but that she finished working on an object donated by a William Cheney Glines, aka William C. Glines. From then on, Mary Ann continued to be a valuable resource for both understanding some of the Haverhill families I encountered in my research and in understanding fashion jargon.

Step outside of your comfort zone: Try something new. This internship allowed me to work hands-on with a collection that needed some TLC. From taking on a subject I knew little about, I learned not only collections management techniques, but also skills uncommon with a history-based internship. Through this internship, I learned basic sewing. Before, I could barely thread a needle, and now I can at least sew a label onto a costume. I advise anyone to step out of her comfort zone; you never know what you will learn.

Figure 2: Intern hard at work! Image taken by Janice Williams (2016).

Apply what you already know: This item should come to no surprise. While examining an early nineteenth century dress coat, the gilded brass buttons stood out among the navy blue wool exterior. Upon looking at the buttons, I noticed that each one featured a peculiar bald eagle. Although I do not know the history of buttons, I did know from previous undergraduate research that the eagle shared a similar motif to the furniture of the American Classical Style (1820s-1840s). This similarity aided in narrowing down the age of the buttons—the mid to late 1830s. It may seem silly, but I used my knowledge of aesthetics, compared buttons to furniture, and it paid off.

No matter your internship, whether it is working with a collection or other, the skills you learn from an internship apply to more than just the task at hand. From reading about my own experience, you, the reader, will hopefully gain a better understanding of what you may encounter on your own internship journey.

 

Please follow and like us:

Mapping Divisions & Historic Decisions: The Road to Desegregating Boston Public Schools

Political cartoon, 1954. Image courtesy of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. Reproduction not permitted without prior permission, in writing, from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
Political cartoon, 1954. Image courtesy of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. Reproduction not permitted without prior permission, in writing, from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

On Valentine’s Day, 1974, the Boston School Committee received a crushing rejection. Its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal the Massachusetts Racial Imbalance Act was denied on two grounds: the deadline to file had expired and the Committee’s appeal had “no substantial basis.”(1)

Established in 1965, the act empowered the state Board of Education to investigate and reduce racial inequality in public schools. Perhaps the strictest racial balance legislation among the states, the act defined racial imbalance as any school in which the number of nonwhites exceeded 50% of the total population. For nearly a decade, the Boston School Committee and the state Board of Education argued bitterly over the definition of racial imbalance and the means of implementing a more integrated public school system.

In 1972, the Massachusetts Board of Education accused the Boston School Committee of repeatedly refusing to institute any measures to integrate its schools, many of which were heavily segregated according to the act’s definition. After the state suspended funding to Boston Public Schools, the School Committee launched a series of legal battles to repeal the Racial Imbalance Act and recover state funding for city schools.

The NAACP also initiated legal action in the federal court system. It charged that, by not complying with the Racial Imbalance Act, the Boston School Committee violated the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In the digital exhibit, “Busing Boston Bound: Phase I of Desegregation in Boston, Massachusetts,” Rebecca Carpenter, a graduate student in the Archives program,  explores the impact of the Morgan v. Hennigan decision.

Cover of booklet, "Make Congress Stop Bussing," [sic], by Lawrence P. MacDonald, April 1976. Reproduced courtesy of the John Joseph Moakley Archive & Institute at Suffolk University, Boston, Mass. Rights status is not evaluated. Written permission from the copyright holders is required for reproduction.
Cover of booklet, “Make Congress Stop Bussing” [sic] by Lawrence P. MacDonald, April 1976. Reproduced courtesy of the Moakley Archive & Institute at Suffolk University, Boston, Mass. Rights status is not evaluated. Written permission from the copyright holders is required for reproduction.
 Using documents, maps, reports, and photographs from special collections and archives including Boston City Archives, the Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections, the National Archives, Boston, the Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University, and other repositories, Carpenter evaluates Phase I of desegregation. Beginning in September, 1974, the plan, which required that students in the most racially imbalanced schools be bused into schools where the number whites exceeded 50%, provoked heated and hostile reactions in some neighborhoods. The exhibit explores the motivations behind Garrity’s decision and assesses the initial plans for busing.

How did students react to Garrity’s decision to bus them away from their neighborhood schools? How did the decision, and the fear and violence it provoked in some schools, affect teachers? Learn more about the the impact busing had on public education in the next posts. For more background and details on the Racial Imbalance Act, see Connor Anderson’s digital exhibit, highlighted in the last post.

Notes

[1] Muriel Cohen, “Court Denies Balance Appeal Request.” Boston Globe (1960-1985) Feb 15 1974: 3. ProQuest. 13 Feb. 2017

Please follow and like us:

Divided Schools & Neighborhoods: Students Explore De Facto Segregation In Boston

“Turned Away from School,” Anti-Slavery Almanac, Boston, 1839.
“Turned Away from School,” Anti-Slavery Almanac, Boston, 1839. Similar to the black child in this image, Sarah Roberts was rejected from an all-white school in Boston in 1848.

On February 15, 1848, Sarah Roberts, a five-year-old African American girl, attempted to enter an all-white grammar school near her home. A white teacher rejected Sarah, based on the color of her skin. Sarah’s father, Benjamin F. Roberts, tried to enroll his daughter in four different schools attended by whites. All were close to their home while the schools designated for black children were located over a half mile away—a long walk for a young child, especially during the bitterly cold, snowy month.

Robert Morris, Esq. may have been the first black male lawyer to file a lawsuit in the U.S. He was also the first black lawyer to win a lawsuit
Robert Morris, Esq., was admitted into the Massachusetts bar in 1847. Two years later, he co-defended Sarah Roberts’ right to attend a public school closer to her home than the schools designated for blacks.

The General School Committee, the group responsible for administering the city’s public schools, rejected each request that Sarah attend a white school. That December, Benjamin Roberts sued the city for damages, on grounds that his daughter was unlawfully denied admission to a public school. Robert Morris, one of the first black lawyers in the US, worked with abolitionist lawyer and politician, Charles Sumner, to represent Sarah in Roberts v. City of Boston. The two argued that Massachusetts law guaranteed equal education regardless of race and that requiring black children to attend separate schools was unconstitutional.

Equality Before the Law: Unconstitutionality of Separate Colored Schools in Massachusetts
Read the full text of Sumner’s, “Equality Before the Law: Unconstitutionality of Separate Colored Schools in Massachusetts,” 1849 (above) courtesy of the Internet Archive.

Despite their impassioned arguments, Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw found in favor of the city. Defending the actions of the General School Committee, Shaw ruled that a segregated school system did not violate the principle of equality before the law. His decision laid a foundation for the federal doctrine, “separate but equal,” that held that racial segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

Five years after the Roberts’ decision, the state of Massachusetts made it illegal to segregate the city’s public schools according to race. Despite that decision, city schools remained heavily segregated through the twentieth century. “Back To Square One: Racial Imbalance in the Boston Public Schools,” an online exhibit designed and curated by Connor Anderson (Archives, 2017), highlights Boston’s long history of de facto segregation in public schools and the role the School Committee played in supported de facto segregation. In this type of system, blacks and whites were separated due to facts or circumstance. But, as the School Committee pointed out to critics, racial separation was not created or imposed by law.

Protest Flier from a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Day Hicks, circa 1974.
Protest Flier from a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Day Hicks, circa 1974. Courtesy Boston City Archives.

Using a sampling of correspondence, reports, and images from Boston City Archives and Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections, he traces divided opinions surrounding the efforts to achieve racial balance in public schools in the 1960s.  Anderson illustrates how reactions to the Racial Imbalance Act split the city.

Boston Neighborhoods,” an exhibit created by Vini Maranan (General History, 2016) and Paul Fuller (Public History, 2015), explores the unique cultures, communities, and stereotypes surrounding six of Boston’s twelve neighborhoods. In the 1960s and 1970s, economic fluctuations, settlement patterns, and urban renewal programs in Boston reinforced ethnic associations and strengthened a separation of races in many working-class neighborhoods. The de facto segregation of neighborhoods affected the makeup of schools which had become heavily segregated. Maranan and Fuller’s exhibit uses letters and interviews of ordinary citizens to document conditions in schools by neighborhood. Their exhibit also traces neighborhood reactions to Judge W. Arthur Garrity’s ruling that de facto segregation was discriminatory. It examines a sampling of neighborhood reactions to the 1974 order that students be bused away from local schools to achieve a better integration of white and black students.

Learn more about about the implementation of “Phase I” to desegregate Boston Public Schools by busing students away from neighborhoods in the next post.

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Beyond Black & White: Exploring Black History Month

Poster publicizing Black History Month.
Poster publicizing Black History Month.

In 1976, former President Gerald Ford  officially designated February as Black History Month in the U.S. Part of its purpose involved expanding the national public school curriculum to include the history of black Americans who were omitted from traditional narratives. Despite that noble intent, sometimes, the tendency to showcase important individuals and events during Black History Month can oversimplify  complex historical figures and situations, diminish complicated struggles, and lead to a type of segregated history. In 2005, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman called the idea of relegating black history to one month “ridiculous,” stating, in a TV news interview, “Black history is American history.” 

The narrative of African Americans’ experiences throughout Boston’s history is diverse and highly complicated. Graduate students in “Transforming Digital Archives and History”  have been exploring a critical and controversial time for African Americans and people of all colors and ethnicities in Boston: the desegregation of Boston Public Schools in 1974.

That year, federal judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that Boston’s public schools suffered from de facto (by fact) segregation and he mandated their immediate integration. Many citizens supported the idea of school integration, but protested the manner in which desegregation was implemented–by busing over 18,000 black and white students away from neighborhoods.  Leaders from both the black and white communities challenged the wisdom of busing students between overcrowded, similarly impoverished areas, like the predominantly black neighborhood of Roxbury and the Irish Catholic neighborhood of South Boston, and predicted the pairing would provoke intense fear, hostility, and violence. The decision unleashed a flood of rage and organized protests from both black and white parents for years. Some equated Boston to a war zone during this period, and both blacks and whites committed violent acts.

A number of compelling book and memoirs, including J.Anthony Lukas’s award-winning, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Familiesand videos have been published on the topic. Each sheds insight into how race, class, ethnic pride, the neighborhood loyalty affected the situation.

But what about the unpublished voices of everyday people? Working within various archives in the city, students are unearthing and reviewing thousands of emotionally-charged letters written to local, state, and federal officials by parents, students, teachers, clergy, activists, and community groups reacting to the decision.

Letter to Mayor Kevin White from an 11-year old student writing to Judge Arthur Garrity to criticize the judge's decision to implement busing as the means of desegregating Boston Public Schools.
Letter to Mayor Kevin White from an 11-year old student writing to Judge Arthur Garrity to criticize the judge’s decision to implement busing as the means of desegregating Boston Public Schools.  Courtesy Boston City Archives.

Despite the widespread protests and violent responses to busing, archived letters reveal that the reactions to busing defy easy categorization. Some letters, like that written to Boston’s mayor, Kevin White, by 11-year old student, favored integrated schools but criticized the decision to bus students to schools outside of their neighborhoods. To minimize turmoil, this child (whose name has been redacted) proposed that teachers be bused so kids could remain in their local schools; “maybe then there wouldn’t be any more stabing [sic] & fights.”

Others who opposed busing engaged in violent attacks.  In 1976–the same year Black History Month was instituted in the US–Joseph Rakes, a white teenager, lunged at Ted Landsmark, an African American lawyer and civil-rights activist, swinging a pole bearing an American flag. The attack, which occurred outside of Boston’s City Hall, was captured by Boston Herald photographer Stanley Forman.

"The Soiling of Old Glory," by Stanley Forman, 1976.
“The Soiling of Old Glory,” by Stanley Forman, 1976 (Copyright © Stanley Forman, 1976). Image reproduced here courtesy of Stanley Forman, as part of an exhibit in “Stark & Subtle Divisions: A Collaborative History of Segregation in Boston.” Further reproduction is prohibited without prior permission in writing from Stanley Forman.

Rakes’s attack on Landsmark escalated racial violence. Weeks later, two African American teenagers dragged Richard Poleet, a 34-year old white auto mechanic, from his car in Roxbury and beat him to death with paving stones. Community leaders of black and white neighborhoods alike accused the local media of biased and inaccurate reporting. Some criticized that media provoked retaliatory violence by broadcasting incidents of severe beatings and stabbings; at the same time, the local papers downplayed the terror many children faced in school each day.

Interested in learning more about the complicated reaction the decision to integrate Boston Public Schools? Each week over the course of Black History Month, we’ll share findings from online exhibits that graduate students in History at UMass Boston created about this tumultuous era. To learn more about the history of de facto segregation in Boston Public Schools, the link between adulterated meat products and civil rights in Boston, how students and teachers felt about busing, and how this issue transformed local mothers into outspoken activists and politicians, stay tuned!

Sources

Ronald P. Formisano. Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. University of North Carolina Press (2nd Revised edition), 2004.

J. Anthony Lukas. Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families. Vintage Books, 1986.

Michael Patrick MacDonald. All Souls:A Family Story from Southie. Beacon Press, 2007.

Ione Malloy. Southie Won’t Go: A Teacher’s Diary of the Desegregation of South Boston High School. University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Jim Vrabel. A People’s History of the New Boston. University of Massachusetts Press, 2014.

Please follow and like us:

#BlackHistoryMonth: My Outreach Internship in Archives

By Monica Haberny

In fall 2016, I completed internship early at the Boston City Archives (BCA). My project combined research, access and outreach. My goal was to identify and digitize interesting material related to African American history and women’s history in Boston, then create a few compelling posts for Black History Month (February)  and Women’s History Month (March). I loved this project so much I ended up writing one post for every day of each month (read my posts on BCA’s blog every day!) To read more about my experiences each week, check out the class blog for internships: Archives In Turn: Interns in Archives.

On my first day, Marta Crilly, the Archivist for Reference and Outreach, gave me a tour of the BCA and introduced me to the collections. During that first month, I began making connections and “discoveries.” I unearthed the story of Julia Harrington Duff–a teacher who fought for the rights of Irish-American, female teachers–in the teacher qualification records. But I also found info about Julia in the city documents, as she served on the Boston School Committee in the early 1900s.

In September, I encountered a few research dead ends. I’d hoped to write an in-depth post on Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman to become a physician in the United States. Crumpler lived in and operated an office in Beacon Hill in 1869, and moved, with her husband, to Hyde Park in 1880. Searches for her tax records (using her maiden name, her husband’s name, a mention of a black doctor, female doctor, or any combination) returned no information. But by the end of the month, I’d made progress in other areas. I wrote a compelling post on William Monroe Trotter, a newspaper editor and civil rights activist, listed in Hyde Park’s graduation exercises from 1860. I wrote posts on seven other African Americans who shaped Boston’s history.

girls-high
Closing Exercises of the Boston Girls’ High School, 1918, Graduation Programs, Collection 0400.004, Boston City Archives.

In October, I utilized three tricks to help me track down people of interest in Boston’s past.

First, I searched for alumni of Boston Public Schools. I found well-known individuals from the high schools of South Boston, Girls’, and Hyde Park.  Some graduation records were missing, but it was helpful to know who attended which school. I used photos and documents from the schools’ records to enhance blog posts about alumni who went to those schools, like community and civil rights activist Melnea Cass who attended Girls’ High School. Cass remained remained active in many community projects and volunteer groups in the South End and Roxbury and helped found the Boston local of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Second, I used digitized photographs on BCA’s Flickr page as documents or sources of valuable information. The John F. Collins album  provided a wealth of rich material and allowed me to write about Bobbi Gibb and Katherine Switzer, the first women to run the Boston marathon, and many more topics and persons of interest.

The third trick I learned entailed using records of city officials to uncover material about individuals or topics. In November, Marta and I found folders in the John Collins’ papers that documented key events from the civil rights movement. These documents included Collin’s reaction to violent attacks on civil-rights demonstrators by state police outside of Selma, Alabama; letters from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) about housing inequality in Roxbury, and documents from the NAACP.  I learned that, in some cases, searching records from mayors uncovered far more information than looking for topics directly.

eunice-shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Mayor Raymond L. Flynn. circa 1984-1986. Mayor Raymond L. Flynn records, Collection #0246.001 Boston City Archives.

There were some surprises in my research. For instance, I found the eulogy for Melnea Cass and documents from Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Special Olympics in Mayor Kevin H. White’s records. I also found significant material pertinent to women’s issues in White’s records.

4320-001-box1folder1912-1914-2
Application from the Housekeepers League, January 7, 1913, Box 1, Petitions to use Faneuil Hall 1912-1914, Applications to use Faneuil Hall 4320.001, Boston City Archives.

My favorite aspect of my internship was the sleuthing it allowed me to do. For instance, I found the name, “Ida M. Hebbard” on an application to use Faneuil Hall from the Housekeepers League, a group for which she served as president. I discovered that the league consisted of wives and mothers who were concerned about the prices of household goods in the 1910s. Hebbard was an early advocate of consumer rights and led the group in boycotting goods to protest unfair pricing. Their potato boycott helped lower the cost of of potatoes from 70 cents to 35 cents a peck. The League advocated for the Bob Veal Bill, which prohibited the sale of calves weighing less than sixty pounds. Hebbard also called attention to violations in the way cold food was stored in Boston. Though extremely influential in Boston at the time, Hebbard is, today, barely remembered by Bostonians. The fact that I brought back her memory is something I’m extremely proud of.*

Grace-Lorch.jpg
Grace Lorch(left) with Elizabeth Eckford (right), one of the Little Rock Nine. From clipping, Max Brantley, “Lee Lorch, a figure in Little Rock’s ‘57 crisis, dies at 98.” Arkansas Times, March 02, 2014, in Mayor Kevin H White records, Boston City Archives.

I  found inspiration in my research into the men and women of color in Boston’s history. I learned about the creator of the Drop-a-Dime hotline, Georgette Watson and the first Black female firefighter, Karen Miller. I also discovered the teaching record of Grace Lorch who was a white escort for the Little Rock Nine.

One of my favorite items and most interesting discoveries came from the Town of Dorchester records: the military enlistments from the 5th Regiment Massachusetts Colored Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War.

Massachusetts had three African American regiments during the Civil War: the 54th Infantry Regiment, 55th Infantry Regiment, and the 5th Colored Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.  The 1989 movie Glory starring Mathew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman documents 54th Infantry Regiment–a Massachusetts military unit that was one of the first units in the Union Army composed entirely of African-Americans.  The records for the 5th Colored Cavalry are lesser-known but fascinating! Included among the enlistees from Dorchester were Stephen Jacobs and Betsey Smith. Jacobs and Smith enlisted together but his form said he had originally come from Virginia, whereas Smith’s listed her home as Africa. I found out that she went into the war as a private and left with the rank of private.

1100box18folder118-2
A list of some of the recruits for the 5th Regiment Massachusetts Colored Volunteer Cavalry. Lists of Recruits, March 1864, Box 18, Folder 118, Town of Dorchester records 1100.001, Boston City Archives

Marta told me that she had expected me to write two or three blogs per week for Black History Month and Women’s History Month, but by the end of my internship I had written a post for every day in February and March to honor the admirable men and women of our city in Black History and Women’s History Months.

While working at BCA, I monitored the research room, so I gained experience watching researchers and making sure everyone handled documents correctly. I also had the chance to answer some reference queries. I realized while doing these tasks that I really enjoyed acting as a bit of a detective for the public.

By working at the Boston City Archives, I learned how to become a better writer, what working in an archive entailed, and how to serve the public. I began to see myself there and enjoyed going there. While the idea of what career I want is still foggy, I do know that wherever I end up working needs to involve archives or some aspect of it.

_________________________________________________________________

* These are some published articles about Hebbard:

“Coal Dealers Put the Blame on Mine Men.” Boston Evening Globe, May 29, 1917.

“15,000 Women Banded in Fight Against H.C.L.” The Boston Globe,  May 12, 1917.

“Potato Boycott by Housekeepers.” The Boston Globe, January 27, 1917.

“To Start Probe of Cold Storage Foods.” Boston Post, December 5, 1916.

“Watch on Legislators.” Boston Post, March 17, 1917.

“Women Who Let Fight For ‘Bob Veal’ Bill” The Boston Globe, February 22, 1917.


 

 

Please follow and like us: