Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jews & African Americans on Beacon Hill

Leaving the posh south side of Beacon Hill I saw, by chance, the Vilna Shul built in 1906, when immigrant Jews lived on the north side of Beacon Hill, and Jews from Vilna chose this large bold stained glass window set into the facade.  

The shul on Phillips Streets is slowly being restored.  Earlier, in the 19th century, African Americans lived on this same steep north slope.  The house at 66 Phillips was the home of Lewis Hayden, once a fugitive slave.   

A map of the African American Heritage Trail is available at the Museum of African American History on Joy Street.  The museum is housed in the former African American Meeting House.  I was moved to see the pulpit where Frederick Douglas spoke.  

A creature of soft pleasures, I drank a glass of wine and ate biscotti to strengthen myself for the subway and bus ride home.


  1. What an interesting post, Mim! I think I have been to Beacon Hill, many years ago, when my brother was at MIT, is it part of Boston Common, it rings a bell, but I have no detailed memory of being there, but I think I was!

  2. Thank you for teaching me something that I did not know before. First picture is indeed great. Please have a good weekend.

    1. Not a part of Boston Common, Nasim, but rather a fifteen-minute walk away. It's lovely to imagine you in Boston.

      Warm regards to you in Edinburgh and to you Robert in Athens . . .

  3. It's a beautiful snapshot of a historical moment that probably says more than meets the eye. Many thanks. Loved the photos and the background you gave me.

    Greetings from London.

  4. Hello, Cuban:

    It's easy to think of those past people as braver, more persistent and eloquent than we are. Would we have risked our lives to sail to another continent, to hide a fugitive slave? I don't know?

    Best regards from Boston . . .

  5. Indeed, you're quite right. Heroism usually lies in the province of those we least think of as heroes. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  6. I hope so, Cuban.

    Regards from Boston