The Boston area played a major role in the abolitionist movement of the 19th century as well as on the Underground Railroad. There are spots in the area cloaked in laudable lore, ones both already well-known and those not so much. This map includes both.Read More
Boston abolitionist sites: Mapping the region's role in the anti-slavery movement
These include notable houses and stops on the Underground Railroad
1. Lewis and Harriet Hayden House
Boston, MA 02114
Lewis Hayden was an escaped slave from Kentucky, who, in turn, helped escaped slaves once he settled as a clothing retailer and community leader in Boston.
His and his wife's townhouse was a stop on the Underground Railroad and also a meeting place for abolitionist activity.
The Haydens, too, opened it as a boarding house for African-Americans, including former slaves.
2. Faneuil Hall
The legendary tourist trap was also the site of many anti-slavery rallies as well as fundraisers for various abolitionist efforts (a tad ironic, given its origin).
These fundraisers included bazaars that African-American women hosted.
3. African Meeting House
Built in 1806, the African Meeting House is the oldest black church edifice still standing in the United States, according to the Museum of African American History, of which the house is a part.
It was a hub of abolitionist activity and, during the Civil War, a recruitment center for the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first African-American regiments in the U.S. Army.
4. Julia Ward and Samuel Gridley Howe House
Boston, MA 02108
The Howes were leading abolitionists, going so far as to raise funds for John Brown and his guerilla raids.
Julia Ward Howe is perhaps most famous, though, for later efforts on behalf of women's suffrage and for penning the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the fifth verse of which is unmistakably anti-slavery.
The couple lived at 13 Chestnut from 1863 to 1866. The house is a private residence and not open to the public.
5. The Liberator Office
Boston, MA 02109
A commemorative plaque is all that's left of the building that housed The Liberator, the nation's leading abolitionist newspaper before the Civil War.
Publisher William Lloyd Garrison ran the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society as well.
The Great Fire of 1872 destroyed the building, seven years after Garrison saw fit to stop publishing The Liberator.
6. Jackson Homestead
Timothy Jackson, a Revolutionary War veteran, built the house in 1809.
His son, William Jackson, built a soap and candle factory on the land as well and later served in both the state Legislature and Congress.
William also led a double life, using his estate as a stop for the Underground Railroad.
7. Harriet Tubman Park
Boston, MA 02118
The park includes a 10-foot bronze memorial to the Maryland-slave-turned-Underground Railroad conductor.
That statue by Fern Cunningham was the first on city-owned property in Boston to honor a woman. It was unveiled in 1999.
8. Williams Ingersoll Bowditch House
Brookline, MA 02445
Bowditch was an elected official who opened his house, built in 1844 as part of the planned suburban community that became Brookline, to escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.
He also hid a son of John Brown, the guerilla fighter executed for leading an anti-slavery raid in 1859 on the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
9. Tappan-Philbrick House
Brookline, MA 02445
The Tappan family, which included noted abolitionists, built the stone house in 1822.
Seven years later, Samuel Philbrick, a local official and also an ardent opponent of slavery, moved in and made his new home a stop on the Underground Railroad.
He was said to have told his son shortly before his 1859 death, "you will live to see a war over this slavery business." The Philbricks lived at 182 Walnut until 1922.
It is a private residence and is not open to the public.
10. William Lloyd Garrison House
Roxbury, MA 02119
The publisher of The Liberator lived in this house—known as Rockledge—from 1864 until his death in 1879.
It is a private residence and not open to the public.