BOAF - A Year in Review
Throughout the past year, BOAF has worked tirelessly to provide the public with new and
engaging interpretive programming highlighting the unique and inspiring history of the free
African American community of 19th century Boston that led the city and the nation in the
fight against slavery and injustice. To this end, BOAF hosted special events, worked with
partner organizations, expanded its outreach activities, and introduced new Ranger-led tours
in an effort to share the stories of the extraordinary men and women, who together with
their white allies, were leaders in the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, the
Civil War, and the early struggle for equal rights and education. Below are just a few of
BOAF's accomplishments from the past year.
On December 6th, after eight years of renovation, the African Meeting House reopened with
a huge celebration that drew over 200 people and featured musical performances by Sweet
Honey and the Rock.
On January 5th, BOAF celebrated the 180th anniversary of the founding of the New England
Anti-Slavery Society which featured BOAF Volunteer-in-Park (VIP) Horace Seldon.
On May 22nd, BOAF and the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard co-hosted a screening and
discussion of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North at the MGH Institute in
On May 23rd, BOAF and the Beacon Hill Scholars hosted a special event, Hidden on the Hill,
which featured historian Kathryn Grover and local residents of present day Beacon Hill
discussing the importance of the neighborhood.
On September 20th, BOAF hosted a lecture and book signing by historian Stephen Kantrowitz
whose newest book, More Than Freedom, chronicles the struggle of black Bostonians from
before the Civil War to the Reconstruction Era.
Additionally, BOAF partnered with the Museum of African American History to co-host
events throughout the year, including lectures by authors Marc Auslander and Daniel
Rasmussen, the commemoration of the 54th Regiment's assault on Fort Wagner in July, a
public reading of Frederick Douglass' "What Does the Fourth of July Mean?"speech, and the
public launching of the David Walker Project in September.
Over the course of the year, BOAF presented at 50 outreach programs, including multiple
visits to Harvard University's Civil War class in spring 2012 and the Emancipation course in
During a week-long series in February, Park Rangers Ryan McNabb and Dana Smith
presented 15 lectures in the Dallas Community College District of Dallas, Texas, reaching over
BOAF introduced a new program, Men of Color to Arms!, that discussed the origins, history,
and memory of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.This joint program featured BOAF Park
Ranger Ryan McNabb, 54th Company A President Emmett Bell-Sykes, and Lt. Col. David
Hencke of the National Guard.This program was presented at the Old Colony Civil War
Roundtable, Stoughton Public Library, Worcester State University, and Carney Hospital.
With the opening of the African Meeting House, BOAF once again resumed Ranger talks
throughout the day at this historic location as part of its formal interpretive offerings.
In addition to the Black Heritage Trail®, BOAF offered a brand new tour, Freedom's Trial:
From Civil Rights to Civil War. The tour was held twice a week in the summer departing from
the new Faneuil Hall Visitor Center.
BOAF debuted a new tour, Frederick Douglass' Boston, which explored Douglass' deep ties to
the abolitionist community in this city.
BOAF ran two week-long series of special tour programming in the summer, which featured
the following tours:Mothers of Freedom, The Civil Rights Tour, Black Bostonians of the
Revolution, John Brown's Boston, Beacon Hill's Underground Railroad, and A Lighthouse
Among the Lampposts: Charles Sumner's Beacon Hill.
In September, BOAF partnered with Longfellow House - Washington Headquarters National
Historic Site to present a new walking tour, Longfellow's Beacon Hill: Writers, Reformers,
Terry E. Brown
Supervisory Park Ranger