Anthony W. Neal

Contributing Writer

Anthony W. Neal, a native of Boston, is a graduate of Concord Academy. In addition to an A.B. with honors in history from Brown University, he holds a J.D. from University of Texas School of Law. A retired attorney, Neal maintained a law office in Boston’s South End and Lower Roxbury, handling civil matters for over twenty-five years. He has taught in the Africana Studies Department at University of Massachusetts-Boston and is the author of the book, Unburdened by Conscience, and many scholarly articles. He is now writing a history book about black Bostonians at the turn of the twentieth century. Neal is also an artist.

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Pioneering black teachers led the way in 1800s

Black women educated generations of students while leading charitable efforts

Elizabeth N. Smith was the first African American schoolteacher appointed to a racially integrated school in Boston.

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Defying the odds: Dr. Thomas William Patrick and his successful school of pharmacy

In defiant disregard of late nineteenth-century racial attitudes and Boston’s racial demographics, Dr. Thomas William Patrick founded the profitable Patrick School of Pharmacy and wrote two highly regarded textbooks on prescription writing.

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The multitalented Matthew Washington Bullock

Athlete, attorney, coach and teacher first black chairman of Massachusetts Board of Pardons

A star athlete in both high school and college, Harvard-trained attorney Matthew Washington Bullock coached high school and college football, taught at Morehouse College, served as special assistant attorney general for Massachusetts, and became the first black chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Parole and Advisory Board of Pardons.

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Julian D. Rainey: War veteran, city attorney, Democratic campaign leader and staunch proponent of anti-discrimination legislation

Julian David Rainey was at one time the highest-paid black man in public service in all of New England. Born April 3, 1888, in Weldon, North Carolina, he was adopted by carpenter David Rainey and his wife, Anna, of Norfolk County, Virginia. He received his early instruction in the public schools of Portsmouth, Virginia and also attended Norfolk Mission College — a school for black students, founded in 1883 by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. He later spent two years at the College of the City of New York and, in 1915, enrolled at Harvard’s graduate school as a special student.

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Dr. Jessie K. Garnett: The first black woman to practice dentistry in the Hub

Pioneer dentist paved the way for blacks and women with career that spanned decades

Dr. Jessie Katherine (Gideon) Garnett was the first black woman to graduate from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and also the first to practice dentistry in Boston.

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin: A pioneer in the black women’s club movement

Part 2

The National Conference of Colored Women of America lead to the creation of the National Association of Colored Women, which became and remained the major national organization of African American Women until 1935, when one of its former presidents founded the National Council of Negro Women.

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Sergeant Horatio J. Homer: Boston’s first black police officer

With unfailing courtesy and diplomatic tact, Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer, the first African American appointed to the Boston Police Department, served 40 faithful years as police commission guard.

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin: A pioneer in the black women’s club movement

Known as a pioneer in the black women’s club movement, journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin issued the first call for a national convention of African American women and thus laid the groundwork for the eventual formation of the National Association of Colored Women.

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Mary Evans Wilson was founding member of the Women’s Service Club, NAACP Boston Branch

Civil rights pioneer Mary Evans Wilson dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of African Americans.

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John Van Surly DeGrasse: Boston’s pioneering black surgeon

African American surgeon Dr. John Van Surly DeGrasse, between the years 1850 and 1860, was regarded as the most cultured and accomplished black in the world, according to historian William Henry Ferris.

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