Historical Images

ca. 1855

Print Department Collection

Boston Public Library

Original Record


A young Charles Sumner joined Robert Morris as co-counsel for Benjamin and Sarah Roberts’ case against the City of Boston. During the 1849 hearing in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Sumner gave a passionate argument about the injustice of school segregation as it defied the Massachusetts State Constitution. Sumner would later become a fiery abolitionist Massachusetts senator in the years leading to the Civil War.

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Smith Court Stories

Smith Court Stories is a collaborative project of the Museum of African American History and Boston African American National Historic Site – a unit of the National Parks of Boston.

The creators of Smith Court Stories acknowledge that Smith Court in Beacon Hill sits on the unceded territory of the Massachusett Peoples, and their neighbors the Wampanoag and Nipmuc Peoples. We recognize these communities have stewarded this land for hundreds of generations.