Freedom House Collection

Roxbury Places, People and Events, 1950-1975

The NU Libraries are pleased to announce the availability of over 2,000 historic photographs and negatives from Freedom House in Roxbury, most dating from the period 1950-1975.

Connect to the Freedom House Collection
of historic photographs

The digitization of these photographs was made possible through a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Freedom House was founded in 1949 by African American social workers Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden to centralize community activism in the fight for neighborhood improvement, good schools, and harmony among racial, ethnic, and religious groups in Roxbury. The Snowdens wanted to ensure Roxbury’s stability as a middle-class, racially mixed neighborhood and hoped to achieve this goal by linking the community to existing services and creating services where they were lacking.

The images document early activities to create and integrated Roxbury, citizen participation in the urban renewal of Roxbury, and early oversight of Boston Public Schools desegregation. These themes are critical to the history of Boston and Massachusetts. The photographs include images of well known figures including Re. Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator Edward M. Brooke, Senator John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Senator Edward Kennedy, Sammy Davis, Jr., Kitty Dukakis, and Boston mayors John B. Hynes, John F. Collins, and Kevin White as well as local community activists including Melnea Cass, Ellen Jackson, Herbert Tucker, and Hyman Kaplan.

This project continues the NU Libraries' dedication to preserving and making accessible the history of Boston's African American community. View a list of special collections available for research in the NU Archives and Special Collections Department.

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