For a good part of the 19th century, Beacon Hill was home to a promiment group of African Americans and abolitionists. A wonderfully educational walking tour has been mapped out and is operated by the National Park Service. Although the trail starts at the Shaw Memorial, the base for the trail is the Museum of Afro-American History, housed in what was originally the Abiel Smith School, the first schoolhouse built specifically for the education of African American children, built in 1834. A museum store operated by the National Park Service and the adjacent African Meeting House (1805) are part of the museum complex. Go to the museum store to get a National Park Service pamphlet describing the trail complete with a map. Give yourself at least 3 hours to enjoy the museum and take the walking tour. If the weather is nice, strolling through quiet Beacon Hill and learning a bit of history is a great way to spend a couple of hours. We found it to be very educational, and it didn't hurt that it was a beautiful spring day!
Follow this historical trail that allows you to imagine what life was like for African Americans back then. The history of oppression, enslavement, challenges and struggles proved to enable this group of Americans to thrive and survive. What a feat! The African Americans in Boston appeared to be the first to be freed from the burdens of enslavement on a social level. They lived their lives as freed men & women, helped to end slavery on a proactive basis, and set up a community in the Beacon Hill area around where this trail is now located.
To find out more info on this trail, check out this website:
The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry entered the American Civil War in 1863. It was the first black regiment to be recruited in the North.
Robert Gould Shaw, who was played by Matthew Broderick in the movie Glory, was the white colonel in command. The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial is the first site on the Black Heritage Trail.
This is a shorter trail than the freedom trail and takes you mainly around the Beacon Hill area which is lovely in itself. There are beautiful mansion houses and millionaire's squares. Excellent and very pretty.
You can use a guide but we just used our guide book. The trail takes you to houses and schools around Beacon Hill