Monday, Apr. 26, 2010

10. Black History Trail

Walking along the narrow, red-brick sidewalks of Beacon Hill, with its gas street lamps and stately Federal-style row houses, it's easy to understand why Brahmins past (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Cabot Lodge) and present (John Kerry) have chosen to live here. But to get an alternative view of the area's history, follow the Black History Trail, which traces the events central to the substantial African American population that lived here in the 19th century. A good starting point is the Museum of African American History on Joy Street; the museum's website offers an interactive map of the trail. Among the 14 sites is the African Meeting House, the oldest black church edifice still standing in the United States and the place where in 1860 Frederick Douglass delivered a seminal anti-slavery speech.