Confronting Racial Injustice

Massachusetts is often heralded as the home of the abolition movement and one of the first states to abolish slavery. Yet the Commonwealth’s economy developed in collaboration with states that claimed people as property. This series explores how enslavement and white supremacy shaped the history of Massachusetts and how they continue to shape its present. From the first program “Slavery and Wealth Creation” to the final event “The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives,” the series asks us all to understand, acknowledge, and confront racial injustice.

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

Click on the events below to view video recordings.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no Upcoming Events.

Past Events from this Series

people weighing cotton in Virginia
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From the seventeenth century to the twenty-first, slavery has been central to creating wealth and generating race-based inequality in Massachusetts. Family fortunes, institutional endowments, and…

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In 2015, the Boston Federal Reserve found the median net worth for Black families in Boston was $8, in stark contrast to $250,000 for white families. This discrepancy is largely driven by the gap…

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In 1972, a group of African American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools. After a trial, a federal court determined that the Boston School…

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In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality that, in addition to being…

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Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive…

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Boston’s Chinatown has long been the physical, economic, and cultural center for Chinese immigrants.  Chinatown has also long fought for community control of affordable housing and economic…

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Anti-Asian violence is not new. Join us for a conversation about the history of racial violence against Asian Americans, and the recent rise of Asian American voices.

Sponsors of the Confronting Racial Injustice Series

2022 Series

Boston University School of Law
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
MA Black Lawyers Association
Chinese Historical Society of New England
Asian American Lawyers Association of MA
Boston Bar Association 

2021 Series

Northeastern University School of Law
Massachusetts Historical Society
Anti-Defamation League of New England

Beyond Conflict
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Boston Athenaeum
Boston Bar Association
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Dorchester Historical Society
Flaschner Judicial Institute
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
King’s Chapel
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
Museum of African American History
New England Law/Boston
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Revolutionary Spaces
Roxbury Historical Society
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
Suffolk University Law School
The UU Urban Ministry
Trinity Church Boston
Tufts University
University of Massachusetts School of Law
West End Museum
Western New England Law School