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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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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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Joseph Lee: famed hotelier, restaurateur, inventor

After having spent more than a decade of his childhood in bondage, in the late 19th century African American Joseph Lee became one of the most talked about hotel proprietors and restaurateurs in New England.

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Robert H. Carter: pioneering black pharmacist, entrepreneur- Black History

Robert H. Carter is believed to be the first African American certified pharmacist in Massachusetts. During a period from 1869 to 1907 he owned drugstores in New Bedford and Boston. Back then drugstores did not have a huge inventory of prefabricated drugs as are available today at CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. Pharmacists had to be able to formulate medications for doctors’ prescriptions.

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Abolitionist Dr. John S. Rock embodied black pride, perseverance

Dr. John S. Rock, a preeminent mid-19th century black abolitionist, dentist, doctor and lawyer, was one of Boston’s most eloquent and uncompromising champions of the rights of African Americans.

Abolitionist Frances E. W. Harper’s message to young black Bostonians

One hundred and nineteen years ago, on the evening of Aug. 21, 1894, the interest of Boston’s Colored National League (CNL), "a non-partisan organization devoted to the welfare of the race," was aroused by the spirited address of African American abolitionist, author and poet Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper of Philadelphia, Pa.

Edwin Garrison Walker: An able lawyer and legislator

Described by one observer in 1894 as “one of the most noted men of his race, an orator of the highest ability, and a lawyer second to none in his profession,” Edwin Garrison Walker was born in Boston, Mass. in 1830 to Eliza and David Walker.

Maria Louise Baldwin: An eminent educator, civic leader, speaker

Black History

Miss Maria Louise Baldwin was a gifted speaker, a civic leader and one of the nation’s most eminent African American educators. The daughter of Peter L. and Mary E. Baldwin, she was born on Sept. 13, 1856 in Cambridge, Mass. There, she attended the Sargent Primary and Allston Grammar schools. She graduated from Cambridge High School in 1874 and from Cambridge Teachers’ Training School the following year.

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Maria Louise Baldwin: An eminent educator, civic leader, speaker

Miss Maria Louise Baldwin was a gifted...

Edgar P. Benjamin: philanthropist, noted attorney and banker

Black History

Edgar Pinkerton Benjamin enjoyed a long, prosperous life in Boston as a successful attorney, banker and philanthropist. The youngest of five children, he was born in Charleston, S.C., to an African American mother and a Hebrew father. Although he told one source his date of birth was Dec. 22, 1871, Benjamin’s age is listed as six months old on the June 23, 1870 U.S. Census report for Charleston, making it more likely that he was born around Dec. 22, 1869.

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Edgar P. Benjamin: philanthropist, noted attorney and banker

Descendants of abolitionist giants and the first black northern Civil War troops attended the recent opening...



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