Digital Exhibit Collections

Welcome to the EBBDA’s digital exhibit collections! We invite you to explore our collections which look at the various movements, locations, art, and rhetoric of Black figures and coalitions that shaped Boston’s history and its present. A digital exhibit is an online publication that makes some sort of argument about pre-twentieth century Black Boston, while considering (1) multimodality, (2) interpretation, (3) information, and (4) collaboration. Exhibits are often formatted like a “book chapter” or short wiki, with an introduction, background info, narrative elements and Resources for further research. All the exhibits featured on this site were created by Northeastern students.

Our collection includes exhibits on: Important Figures, Literature & Arts, Black Citizenship & Service, The Black Press, Social Movements and Spiritualities, Contemporary Connections, and Scholarly Analysis & Criticisms. These collections seek to bring bring awareness and celebrate the variety of materials and content about the vibrant Black Boston communities.

If you are interested in learning more about EBBDA digital exhibits or creating your own, please contact us at EarlyBlackBostonDigitalAlmanac@gmail.com and fill out this form! We want this site to be a space of collaboration and community, so please do contribute!

Who are some important figures in Boston? This collection of exhibits features figures Black figures who shaped Boston's history, and thusly, its present. This collection is no means exhaustive, but rather a starting point, which we will continue to add to. 

This collection of exhibits engages with pre-twentieth-century representations of texts, arts, and other forms of cultural production. These exhibits showcase the diversity of Blackness and the  heterogeneous ways that culture, history, resistance, and being are represented.

The Black Citizenship  & Service collection showcases what legal citizenship looked like in pre-twentieth century Boston for Black communities. Our exhibits juxtapose the liberatory efforts of Black freedom fighters and public intellectuals against the disenfranchisement of Black people as citizens in the Americas, since the 16th century and still today. 

The Black Press collection revolves around conceptualizations of the Black Press. The Black Press marks resistance against literacy laws in the United States, and Black print publications were central modalities for learning, sharing knowledge, and depicting Black American culture and experiences from the perspectives of Black people.

What is education history? How have Black people experienced education differently, and what does that have to do with Black citizenship? The Social Movements & Spiritualities collection gathers important texts and figures for a conversation about Black literacy experiences.

What does it mean to reckon with the afterlives of slavery everyday? The Contemporary Connections collection engages 20th and 21st century public arts, activism, and community engagement efforts focused on Black histories in Boston. We’ve gathered work from Black Boston artists including murals and poetry, conducted one-on-one interviews, and developed exhibits about how a legacy of protest continues to connect early Black Boston with Boston today.

This collection allows for more nuanced, theoretical and formal scholarly engagements with aspects of early Black Boston’s texts and histories. These exhibits engage, challenge, and critique local university engagement with enslavement, as well as genre forms in the pre-twentieth centuries, such as the slave narrative, and how these themes/topics are manifested in text.