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HS Unit I: Free But Far From Equal: The African American Experience in Massachusetts, 1780–1863 Lesson C: The Fight for Equal Education, 1800–1855: Two Case Studies of School Desegregation
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Key Questions

1. Where were black children educated in early nineteenth-century Massachusetts?

2. What educational inequities did black children face in Massachusetts?

3. How did African American communities challenge these inequities?

4. Who were some of the key individuals involved in the struggle to desegregate Massachusetts schools?

5. What influence did the Roberts v. The City of Boston case have on later U.S. Supreme Court decisions?

Activity 1: Panel Discussion/Debate: Integration v. Segregation?
Activity 2: New Opportunities in Education
Primary Sources
Related Mass Moments

"Legislature Guarantees Access to Public Schools"
Nantucket’s African American citizens desegregate the island’s schools.

"Supreme Court Strikes Down “Separate but Equal”"
Boston’s African American community worked for decades to desegregate the city’s schools.

"Charlotte Forten Enters Salem Normal School"
Forten was the first black student at the school established to train teachers.

lesson image credit: The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th, 1870 (detail) / from an original design by James C. Beard; Library of Congress