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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. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.
Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.close