I am a history lover, so living in historic Boston is like celebrating a holiday everyday for me. Aside from famous landmarks like The Freedom Trail, Old Ironside, and Boston Common, there are some interesting hidden historical places. With a love of discovering new places, I’ve identified some unique Black History landmarks that are worth visiting. Make a field trip out of it by taking your students to a few of these. Check out my Top 5!
5. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s apartment in the South End.
Located at 397 Mass Ave next to the Mass Ave T Station, this is where Dr. King lived while he studied theology at Boston University from 1952-1953.
4. Malcolm X and Ella Little-Collins House in Roxbury.
Located at 72 Dale St in the Sugar Hill section of Roxbury, is where Malcolm X spent his teenage years with his half-sister Ella Collins. Ella was a strong influence in Malcolm’s life, playing a mother-like figure to him. The house is currently undergoing restoration and Malcolm’s nephew, Rodnell Collins, still lives in the house.
3. The Freedom House at 14 Crawford St in the Grove Hall section of Dorchester.
The Freedom House played a pivotal role in various movements in Boston in the 20th century, dealing with urban renewal, the school busing crisis, and education reform. It was created in 1949 by Otto and Muriel Snowden, who were social workers striving to meet the needs of the people living in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. This mission is still carried out today.
2. Wally’s Cafe Jazz Club at 427 Mass Ave in South End.
It’s the only remaining jazz club from the days of Boston’s “jazz era,” similar to the Harlem Renaissance. It was one of the first integrated places in New England and some of the great jazz performers like Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker performed here. It was founded by Joseph L. “Wally” Walcott who was an immigrant from Barbados in 1947.
1. The Black Heritage Trail at 46 Joy St in Beacon Hill.
This trail is 1.6 miles long highlighting the homes, churches, and schools that played a role in the lives of free Blacks in Massachusetts after the American Revolution. Some of sites include the Charles Street Meeting House, Abiel Smith School, and the African American Meeting House.