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April 27, 1968: Activists Erect “Tent City” in Boston

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Boston Abolitionists Await Emancipation Proclamation: December 31, 1862
On this day, New Year's Eve 1862, William Lloyd Garrison, publisher of the abolitionist paper The Liberator, delayed printing the latest edition...

Paul Cuffe Sails for Sierra Leone: December 10, 1815
On this day in 1815, Paul Cuffe of Westport sailed for the west coast of Africa with 38 black emigrants and a cargo of goods on board his vessel. The...

Loyalist Despairs at British Defeat: December 9, 1781
On this day in 1781, Loyalist lawyer Ward Chipman of Boston wrote despairingly to his friend Jonathan Sewall who had gone into exile in London. Chipman...

African Meeting House Opens: December 4, 1806
On this day in 1806, the Reverend Thomas Paul was installed as pastor of the new African Meeting House in Boston. Two days later, the church was officially...

Quakers Outlawed in Plymouth: December 3, 1658
On this day in 1658, Plymouth Court ordered that any boat carrying Quakers to Sandwich be seized to prevent the religious heretics from landing. A year...

Arlo Guthrie Convicted of Littering: November 28, 1965
On this day in 1965, 20-year-old Arlo Guthrie was convicted of littering in the Berkshire County town of Stockbridge, and the song "Alice's...

First “National Day of Mourning” Held in Plymouth: November 26, 1970
On this day in 1970, a group of Native Americans attending a Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth walked out in protest. The Indians and their supporters gathered...

Boston Tea Party Raider Born: November 17, 1738
On this day in 1736, David Kinnison was born in Old Kingston, Maine. An early convert to the cause of American independence, he participated in the dumping...

Voters Deny Massachusetts Women the Vote: November 2, 1915
On this day in 1915, a referendum to give Massachusetts women the vote failed at the polls. In spite of its leading role in the nineteenth-century woman's...

First National Woman’s Rights Convention Ends in Worcester: October 24, 1850
On this day in 1850, the first national convention for woman's rights concluded in Worcester. For two days, more than 1,000 delegates from 11 different...

Ku Klux Klan Rallies in Worcester: October 19, 1924
On this day in 1924, the largest gathering of the Ku Klux Klan ever held in New England took place at the Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester. Klansmen...

Roger Williams Banished: October 9, 1635
On this day in 1635, Puritan minister Roger Williams was found guilty of spreading "newe & dangerous opinions" and banished...

New Bedford Strikers Cast Vote: October 6, 1928
On this day in 1928, after a bitter six-month strike, the members of New Bedford's Textile Council voted to accept a compromise offer. Faced with...

Northampton Dedicates Sojourner Truth Statue: October 4, 2002
On this day in 2002, a statue was installed in Florence, a village of Northampton, to honor Sojourner Truth, the former slave best known for the "Ain't...

Samuel Adams Dies: October 2, 1803
On this day in 1803, the fiery patriot Samuel Adams died at the age of 81. A complete failure as a businessman, he was a brilliant political organizer,...

Massachusetts Soldiers Threaten Mutiny: September 30, 1759
On this day in 1759, a regiment of Massachusetts men serving in the French and Indian War began to talk of mutiny against their British commander. The...

First Newspaper Published in the Colonies: September 25, 1690
On this day in 1690, Boston printer Benjamin Harris produced the first issue of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in Britain's North...

John Greenleaf Whittier Dies: September 7, 1892
On this day in 1892, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier died at the age of 85. He had come a long way from his Quaker boyhood on a struggling farm in Haverhill....

Massachusetts Executes Sacco and Vanzetti: August 23, 1927
On this day in 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were put to death in the state prison in Charlestown. A jury convicted them of murder and robbery...

Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman: August 22, 1781
On this day in 1781, a jury in Great Barrington found in favor of "Mum Bett," a black woman who had been a slave in the home of Colonel...

Boston Police Vote to Unionize, Precipitating Riots: August 15, 1919
On this day in 1919, Boston policemen seeking better wages and working conditions voted to form a union. The Commissioner of Police forbid them to unionize....

Boston Mob Protests Stamp Act: August 14, 1765
On this day in 1765, the British official charged with administering the hated Stamp Act was hung in effigy from an elm tree near Boston Common. A small...

Woman’s Rights Pioneer Lucy Stone Born: August 13, 1818
On this day in 1818, woman's rights pioneer Lucy Stone was born on a farm in West Brookfield. Her mother greeted the news that her sixth child was...

Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience: August 11, 1841
On this day in 1841, Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave, addressed a white audience for the first time when he spoke to a gathering of abolitionists...

Free Love Supporters Protest at Faneuil Hall: August 1, 1878
On this day in 1878, several thousand supporters of Ezra Heywood held an "Indignation Meeting" at Boston's Faneuil Hall. They were...

Henry David Thoreau Spends Night in Jail: July 23, 1846
On this day in 1846, Henry David Thoreau left his cabin at Walden Pond for a brief walk into town and ended up in the Concord jail for refusing to pay...

Berkshire Town Sends Giant Cheese Ball to Washington: July 20, 1801
On this day in 1801, the Berkshire County town of Cheshire made a 1235-pound ball of cheese and shipped it to Washington, D.C. as a gift for the newly-elected...

Borden Announces Plan to Sell Prince Pasta Plant: July 16, 1997
On this day in 1997, the Borden company announced a tentative deal to save the Prince pasta factory in Lowell. When Borden closed the failing plant, Senator...

Anti-war Activists Sentenced to Prison: July 10, 1968
On this day in 1968, four men were sentenced to federal prison for counseling young men to refuse military service. Dubbed the Boston Five, the defendants...

Rockport Women Smash Liquor Barrels: July 8, 1856
On this day in 1856, 200 women, some of them wielding hatchets and ranging in age from 37 to 75, rampaged through the town of Rockport destroying every...

John Adams Dies: July 4, 1826
On this day in 1826, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia, John Adams died at home in Braintree. One of the great...

David Walker Found Dead: June 28, 1830
On this day in 1830, David Walker, a prominent and outspoken black man, was found dead in his Boston home. The year before he had written David Walker's...

James Otis, Jr., Enrages Colonial Governor: June 21, 1768
On this day in 1768, James Otis, Jr. gave a characteristically fiery speech to his fellow legislators in Boston. He referred to the British House of Commons...

Governor Honors Activist Melnea Cass: June 19, 1968
On this day in 1968, Governor John Volpe dedicated the Melnea Cass Swimming and Skating Rink in Roxbury. The new facility was intended to improve life...

Chinese Workers Arrive in North Adams: June 13, 1870
On this day in 1870, a train arrived in North Adams with 75 young men from China hired to replace striking shoe workers. Over 2,000 people watched as...

George McNeill Organizes Workers: June 2, 1852
On this day in 1852, hundreds of mill workers at the Woolen Company in Amesbury walked out on strike. Fourteen-year-old George McNeill, who had worked...

Vietnam Veterans Arrested on Lexington Green: May 30, 1971
On this day in 1971, over 450 anti-war protesters occupied the historic Lexington Green and refused to leave. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War had...

Fugitive Slave Anthony Burns Arrested: May 24, 1854
On this day in 1854, Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia, was arrested in Boston. His capture enraged black and white abolitionists. Two days...

Indians in Mashpee Demand Self-Government: May 21, 1833
On this day in 1833, the Mashpee of Cape Cod signed what amounted to an Indian Declaration of Independence. They reminded officials in Boston that "all...

Boston’s Poor Riot Over Cost of Bread: May 19, 1713
On this day in 1713, more than 200 people rioted on Boston Common over the high price of bread. The lieutenant governor tried to intervene but was shot...

Supreme Court Strikes Down “Separate but Equal”: May 17, 1954
On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the doctrine of separate but equal. "Segregation of children in public schools solely...

Sarah Remond Ejected from Boston Theater: May 4, 1853
On this day in 1853, Sarah Parker Remond and two other African Americans entered a Boston theater intending to enjoy a Mozart opera. When the manager...

Activists Erect “Tent City” in Boston: April 27, 1968
On this day in 1968, hundreds of demonstrators occupied a parking lot in Boston's South End. Houses on the site had recently been demolished, and...

“The Birth of a Nation” Sparks Protest: April 26, 1915
On this day in 1915 Boston's African-American community protested the showing of the racist film The Birth of a Nation. When 800 black women gathered...

W.E.B. DuBois Returns to Harvard: April 23, 1904
On this day in 1904, W.E.B. DuBois gave a lecture on "the race question" at Harvard, where nine years before he had been the first black...

Abbie Hoffman Dies: April 12, 1989
On this day in 1989, Worcester native Abbie Hoffman died from a drug overdose. A hero of the 1960s counter culture, Hoffman once told a reporter, "I...

Harvard Students Occupy University Hall: April 9, 1969
On this day in 1969, Harvard students took over University Hall, one of the college's oldest buildings. Opposed to the escalating war in Vietnam,...

H.L. Mencken Arrested in Boston: April 5, 1926
On this day in 1926, reporter and literary critic H.L. Mencken was arrested on Boston Common for selling a magazine that had been banned by the New England...

Boston Mourns Martin Luther King, Jr.: April 4, 1968
On this day in 1968, Boston crackled with tension. African Americans, enraged by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, took to the...

Boston Minister Tried for Inciting a Riot: April 3, 1855
On this day in 1855, the case against Boston minister Theodore Parker came to trial. Charged with inciting an abolitionist riot, he defended himself by...

Legislature Guarantees Access to Public Schools: March 25, 1845
On this day in 1845, the Massachusetts legislature guaranteed that every child in the state would have access to a public school. One source of pressure...

Boston Burns: March 20, 1760
On this day in 1760, the dreaded cry of "Fire!" roused sleeping Bostonians. Over the next ten hours, the worst fire to strike a colonial...

John Brown Speaks in Concord: March 12, 1857
On this day in 1857, John Brown addressed a crowd in Concord Town Hall. He spoke about the situation in Kansas, where a bitter struggle was underway between...

James Reeb Dies in Alabama: March 10, 1965
On this day in 1965, a white minister from Boston lay near death in an Alabama hospital. As James Reeb's life slipped away, his story was in every...

Five Die in Boston Massacre: March 5, 1770
On this day in 1770, Crispus Attucks, a black man from Framingham, and four other civilians were shot dead by British soldiers. Attucks worked on whaling...

Bedford Responds to “Boston Pamphlet”: March 1, 1773
On this day in 1773, the town of Bedford held its annual meeting. Along with the routine matters to be addressed, there was one unusual item of business....

Malcolm X Imprisoned: February 27, 1946
On this day in 1946, 20-year-old Malcolm Little entered the state prison in Charlestown to begin serving a sentence for burglary. While in jail, he joined...

Lynn Shoeworkers Strike: February 22, 1860
On this day in 1860, thousands of striking shoeworkers filled Lyceum Hall in Lynn. By choosing to begin their protest on Washington's birthday, the...

Angelina Grimke Addresses Legislature: February 21, 1838
On this day in 1838 a woman addressed a legislative body for the first time in American history. An overflow crowd gathered at the State House in Boston...

Worcester Puts Fosters’ Home Up For Auction: February 20, 1872
On this day in 1872, Worcester city officials put up for auction the home of Stephen and Abby Kelley Foster. The veteran abolitionists were once again...

Shadrach Minkins Seized: February 15, 1851
On this day in 1851, a group of outraged black men burst into a courtroom in Boston and rescued Shadrach Minkins, the first escaped slave seized in New...

Lewis Latimer Awarded First Patent: February 10, 1874
On this day in 1874, inventor Lewis Latimer received his first patent. The son of a Virginia couple who had escaped from slavery, he was born and raised...

Activist Florence Luscomb Born: February 6, 1887
On this day in 1887, lifelong political activist Florence Luscomb was born in Lowell. As a child, she heard the legendary Susan B. Anthony speak. In her...

Native American Writer Born: January 31, 1798
On this day in 1798, a Pequot Indian named William Apess was born in Colrain, a village in western Massachusetts. Although his childhood was marked by...

First African American Graduate of Harvard Born: January 30, 1844
On this day in 1844, Richard Greener, the first African-American graduate of Harvard, was born. His unusual education was made possible by several wealthy...

Julia Ward Howe Elected to American Academy of Arts: January 28, 1908
On this day in 1908, 89-year-old Julia Ward Howe became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Howe lived most of her long...

Rebels Attack Springfield Arsenal: January 25, 1787
On this day in 1787, 2,000 farmers from western Massachusetts attacked the new federal arsenal at Springfield. The government soldiers returned fire,...

The Crucible Opens on Broadway: January 22, 1953
On this day in 1953, Arthur Miller's play The Crucible opened on Broadway. Four years after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman, Miller...

Isaiah Thomas Born: January 19, 1749
On this day in 1749, the Patriot printer Isaiah Thomas was born. In 1770, Thomas established the Massachusetts Spy, the first newspaper aimed at middle-class...

Bread and Roses Strike Begins: January 12, 1912
On this day in 1912, the labor protest later known as the "Bread and Roses" strike began in Lawrence. A new state law had reduced the...

Emily Greene Balch Born: January 8, 1867
On this day in 1867, Emily Balch was born in Jamaica Plain. Her parents' affluence and enlightened views allowed her to attend college at a time...

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