As part of this upcoming year's celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation
Proclamation, BOAF Park Ranger Ryan McNabb is co-leading a class at Harvard University
with Professor John Stauffer, a longtime friend and supporter of BOAF.
The course will culminate with a student-curated exhibition at Harvard's Houghton Library.
Ranger McNabb, Professor Stauffer, and six Harvard students have been working closely
with Houghton staff member Peter X. Accardo, conducting primary source research of
original manuscript material housed at the library. They have identified compelling objects
to include in the exhibition that will highlight different people and events associated with
emancipation. Themes of the exhibition include the Haitian Revolution, female abolitionists,
mid-19th century political compromises and crises, creative responses to the theme of
emancipation, songs and hymns, Boston-Cambridge-Concord abolitionist communities, as
well as the role of black Bostonians during the Abolitionist Era.
Artifacts uncovered that directly relate to BOAF include a letter from Frederick Douglass to
Charles Sumner discussing the 54th Massachusetts regiment as well as a letter indicating
abolitionist Lewis Hayden's belief that he shot and killed a guard in the unsuccessful
courthouse rescue of Anthony Burns.
Coinciding with the Freedom Rising symposium, this special exhibition is set to open in May
and will run throughout the summer.
BOAF Goes to Harvard
Last updated: December 12, 2012