Today's Moment
About Mass MomentsContact
Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities

April 26, 1915: "The Birth of a Nation" Sparks Protest

Search Results

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...

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...

Whaleship Essex Sinks: November 20, 1820
On this day in 1820, an enormous sperm whale rammed and sank the Nantucket whaleship Essex in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The first mate described...

Sculptor Edmonia Lewis Displays Work in Boston: November 11, 1864
On this day in 1864, sculptor Edmonia Lewis exhibited two of her early pieces at the Colored Soldiers' Fair in Boston. The daughter of a Native American...

Senator Edward Brooke Born: October 26, 1919
On this day in 1919, Edward Brooke, III, the only African-American to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress, was born. A decorated veteran, he...

Lydia Maria Child Dies: October 20, 1880
On this day in 1880, Lydia Maria Child, whom abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called "the first woman in the Republic," was buried...

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...

Office to Help Freed Slaves Opens in Worcester: September 27, 1867
On this day in 1867, a Worcester newspaper announced that "in accordance with the desire of a number of citizens," a freedmens'...

Boston Wheelmen Sponsor Nation's First 100-Mile Bicycle Race: September 6, 1882
On this day in 1882, seven men took over 12 hours to cover the distance from Worcester to Boston in the nation's first 100-mile bicycle race. Boston...

Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem: August 28, 1748
On this day in 1746, Lucy Terry Prince was among the residents of Deerfield traumatized by an Abenaki raid on the village. Lucy, an enslaved woman, described...

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...

Oak Bluffs Writer Dorothy West Dies: August 16, 1998
On this day in 1998, Dorothy West died on Martha's Vineyard. The Boston-born writer was the last living member of the Harlem Renaissance, a movement...

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...

John Wheatley Purchases a Slave Child: July 11, 1761
On this day in 1761, John Wheatley, a successful merchant, purchased a frail little black girl off a slave ship in Boston. The Wheatleys named her Phillis,...

Weepin' Willie Robinson Born: July 6, 1926
On this day in 1926, "Boston's Elder Statesman of the Blues," Weepin' Willie Robinson, was born. Raised in the South, he launched...

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...

Dr. Boylston Experiments with Smallpox Inoculation: June 26, 1721
On this day in 1721, Boston doctor Zabdiel Boylston took a gamble with his young son's life and inoculated him against smallpox. Puritan minister...

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...

Captain Absalom Boston Dies on Nantucket: June 6, 1855
On this day in 1855, Captain Absalom Boston of Nantucket died. In an era when many African Americans worked as seamen, Absalom Boston stood out. In 1822...

Paper Publishes First Installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin: June 5, 1851
On this day in 1851 an abolitionist newspaper published the first installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The following March,...

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine: May 29, 1885
On this day in 1885, Jan Matzeliger demonstrated his invention — a machine that could finish 75 shoes in a 10-hour day. The most skilled craftsmen...

54th Massachusetts Regiment Marches Through Boston: May 28, 1863
On this day in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first black regiment from the North, paraded in full dress uniform on Boston Common....

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...

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...

Agrippa Hull Enlists: May 1, 1777
On this day in 1777, Agrippa Hull, a freeborn black man from the Berkshire County town of Stockbridge, signed on to serve in the Continental Army for...

Celtics Coach Red Auerbach Retires: April 28, 1966
On this day in 1966, Red Auerbach retired as head coach of the Boston Celtics after leading the team to 11 championships in 16 years. The Brooklyn native...

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...

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...

Eli Whitney Patents the Cotton Gin: March 14, 1794
On this day in 1794, Westborough native Eli Whitney applied for a patent on the cotton gin. Raised on a farm in Massachusetts, he invented a machine that...

Charlotte Forten Enters Salem Normal School: March 13, 1855
On this day in 1855, Charlotte Forten passed the entrance examination for the Salem Normal School, one of four colleges recently established in Massachusetts...

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...

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...

First Slaves Arrive in Massachusetts: February 26, 1638
On this day in 1638, a ship returned to Salem from the West Indies after a seven-month voyage. Its cargo included cotton, tobacco and, as far as we know,...

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...

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...

Harry "Bucky" Lew Born: January 4, 1884
On this day in 1884, Harry Haskell Lew was born in Lowell to a family that had long been active in the struggle for racial equality. Known from childhood...

Teachers' Features
This past week's MomentsSundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities

©2014 Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. All rights reserved.