Beyond the Hill: Allies and Kindred Spirits

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one... But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

- Reverend Theodore Parker, 1853

The Black community of Beacon Hill in the 1800s both supported and relied upon a vast network of activists that stretched across the city, nation, and world. They worked within and beyond Beacon Hill for emancipation and civil rights. In doing so, they carried on the legacy of earlier revolutionaries and built the foundation for social movements to come.

Explore the centuries-long continuum for freedom and justice in Boston through the lenses of the allies of the Black abolitionist community of Beacon Hill as well as the kindred spirits who inspired them and carried on their legacy.



  • Portrait of Harriet Tubman overlaid on a historical map of Boston.
    Harriet Tubman's Boston

    This digital exploration highlights several key moments, people, and places that illustrate Tubman's decades-long relationship with Boston.

  • A colorful commemorative print with various scenes promoting the 15th Amendment.
    Celebrating the 15th Amendment in Boston

    Thousands gathered in Boston to celebrate the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote.

  • Printed image of 3 men watching military officials marching an enslaved man down the street.
    Boston's First Woman's Rights Convention

    As men and women gathered for the first Woman's Rights Convention in Boston in 1854, they also witnessed the rendition of Anthony Burns.

  • Printed sketch of Faneuil Hall, a rectangular building with a steeple.
    The Boston Vigilance Committees

    At Faneuil Hall Boston abolitionists formed Vigilance Committees to assist freedom seekers of the Underground Railroad.

  • An white-haired Black man (Frederick Douglass) with a white beard and mustache sitting down.
    A "Radical Woman Suffrage Man"

    Frederick Douglass vocalized his support for women's suffrage at the 20th annual New England Woman Suffrage Society Meeting in 1888.

  • A middle-aged man (John Brown) raising one hand and holding a standing flag in the other.
    John Brown's Boston

    This video series explores John Brown's relationship with Boston abolitionists that resulted in the famous raid at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.


Kindred Spirits

Last updated: January 6, 2023

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Boston African American National Historical Site

Boston, MA 02109


617 429-6760

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