Black Male Youth Organizing in Early 19th Century Boston - 11/5 African American History Seminar at the MHS

Katy Morris's picture

Success to the Literary Society! Black Male Youth Organizing in Early Nineteenth-Century Boston

Author: Kabria Baumgartner, University of New Hampshire, Durham
Comment: Elizabeth McHenry, New York University

Thursday 5 November
5:15 PM

Virtual Event - hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society


In 1841, a dozen or so African American male youth aged twelve to sixteen established the Young Men’s Literary Society in Boston with the stated aim to promote intellectual growth. The very success of this endeavor laid bare the severe educational inequalities and inequities that African American youth faced in Boston’s public schools. In response, these youth organized for change. This paper traces their organizing efforts and describes how their skills in composition, penmanship, elocution, and the literary arts set the stage for the “overthrow of caste schools” in Boston in 1855.

The African American History Seminar invites you to join the conversation on Thursday 5 November at 5:15 PM. The seminar brings together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. After brief remarks from the author and an assigned commentator, the discussion is opened to the floor. All are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback on the circulated essay, and discuss the topic at hand. Our sessions are free and open to everyone. Register above to attend, and you will receive a confirmation message with instructions for attending this virtual session. 

Subscribers for the current year may now log in to access the paper for this session. All others who register will receive the paper by email the day before the seminar.

Want to receive advanced copies of seminar papers? Become a subscriber!

Questions? Email

Categories: Announcement