I invite you to join us for our month-long celebration of Black History Month. Boston Children’s Museum has been committed to welcoming and engaging all children and families for over 103 years, and has celebrated Black History Month for many decades.
And this is fitting, not only because of the Museum’s mission to warmly welcome children and families of all races, ethnicities, and religions, but because of the importance of the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the struggle for equality and freedom and against segregation and discrimination. As told in the lovely book, The First Step, by Susan Goodman, who will visit the Museum during this month, the first step in desegregating schools took place right here in Boston when Benjamin Roberts filed a lawsuit on behalf of his little daughter who was barred from attending her neighborhood school because she was black (Roberts vs. City of Boston, 1848). In 1855, Boston became the first major US city to integrate its schools, and Senator Charles Sumner, a Boston lawyer and anti-slavery activist, filed a bill that made the Civil Rights Act into law in 1875, a law that led to the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. Right here in the African Meeting House on Joy Street on Beacon Hill, Frederick Douglas made his impassioned speeches, and William Lloyd Garrison founded the New England Antislavery Society in 1832, and published The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, for 35 years.
Our Commonwealth also played an important role in the fight for civil rights as the first state to lift the ban on interracial marriage in 1843, the first to admit black jurors in 1860, and the first northern state to raise a black regiment during the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. And today, our state continues to be at the forefront of the fight for civil rights and human rights, as the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, culminating in the landmark Supreme Court ruling establishing same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.
At a time when it seems our most precious core value of liberty and justice for all is under threat, it is important that our families know they are welcome here at Boston Children’s Museum; a place where all children and the adults in their lives will find a friendly face and a warm smile; where they will be respected and appreciated regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or physical ability, and where they will find a world of joyful discovery, fun and learning every day, every visit.
We hope you will join us for our Black History Month and every day to celebrate the wonder of childhood!