Documents, Historical Images

October 9, 1900

“Contention of Old School Boards. Smith Schoolhouse, Now Used by Colored Veterans, Had Short and Stormy Educational Existence.”

Daily Boston Globe

Boston, Massachusetts

page 6

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This print depicts the “Old Smith School, Now the Quarters of Robert A. Bell Post, G.A.R.” Parts of this image show the interior of the Bell Post’s headquarters, including “Old Battle Flags” and “Corner in the Post Room.” In 1877, Boston’s Committee on Public Buildings recommended that the city lease the Smith School at 46 Joy Street to the Robert A. Bell Post, 134, of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). Once approved, the former schoolhouse became the headquarters of this G.A.R. unit of African American Civil War veterans during the Post’s years of activity. Here, the Bell Post hosted a variety of activities, from commemorative events for anniversaries and holidays, to social and charity events.

 

Questions to Consider

  1. The Bell Post had its headquarters in the Abiel Smith School next to a church (The African Meeting House). What does its location say about its role in the community?
  2. The print provides us with an idea of how the headquarters was decorated. What pictures and items do you think hung on the walls of the Bell Post’s headquarters?

 

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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.