The event was referred to as the “Great Abolitionist Pic Nic” and took place in Tranquility Grove (known today as Burns Memorial Park on Hersey Street). Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and other luminaries of the abolition movement traveled to Hingham, where an estimated 10,000 people had gathered in support of the anti-slavery cause. Douglass gave an address at First Baptist Church before the attendees processed to Tranquility Grove for further speeches and entertainment. Watch Hingham High School graduate Emma Ryan's documentary video about Tranquility Grove
Massachusetts Governor (and Hingham resident) John Albion Andrew created the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry, the Union Army’s first fighting unit raised among free Black men. Several Black men from Hingham or with Hingham roots enlisted. Read more
1873: A group of Tuttleville residents petitions the Town of Hingham for land to build an evangelical chapel
A group of Tuttleville residents, led by John Tuttle, a son of James and Rebecca Tuttle, petitioned the Town of Hingham for land to build an evangelical chapel at the corner of Ward and High Streets. The chapel, which also functioned as a community center, dance hall and school, was called the Free Christian Mission. According to Hingham Historical Society records, official membership in 1890 was 80. Read more
In the late 1800s, James Tuttle ran the Tuttle Poultry Farm at his family’s property located at 105 Ward Street. Soon after his death in 1906, his wife and great great grandmother to current Hingham resident Joyce Barber, Henrietta (Simpson) Tuttle, began running a one week overnight camp for black children from Boston. Learn more
On July 8, 1924, the Boston Globe reported a flaming cross on Beal Street in Hingham. According to the article, police believed that members of the Ku Klux Klan had something to do with the incident. From 1927-1927, according to Not All is Changed, the Hingham Journal also reported four "fiery" crosses: one behind Lovell's greenhouse (this is very likely the Beal Street cross reported in the Globe), one at the back of Linscott Road, one in the Damstra meadow, and one atop Otis Hill.
The Town approved zoning changes that made it possible to help establish Bradley Woods. Original documents from this development reveal that racially restrictive covenants were part of the deeds of these homes. The deeds state in section G that “No persons of any race other than the Caucasian race shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of another race domiciled with an owner or tenant.” Read more
Hundreds of Black soldiers and sailors came to live in Hingham during WWII. They were not only segregated in the service, but also segregated in Hingham. They were not welcome at the Recreation Center. According to the Hingham Journal, the soldiers “know that segregation to a certain degree is mandatory [but] what to do to make them feel at home?”
The South Shore Citizens Club is co-founded by Hingham residents Marion “Mother” (Lindsey) Teague and her father, Herbert Lindsey on February 24, 1942 (the organization was incorporated May 12, 1961). Throughout the years, the SSCC planned and executed many different kinds of events, including dances, annual breakfasts and buffets, teas and fundraisers. According to records, they also raised scholarship money for "minority" students on the South Shore. Read more
The U.S. Navy announced it would take the land now known as Wompatuck State park to create a Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex. To do so they evicted families and closed streets and “... took the property from the poor people .. some were black families.” Admirals who participated in the acquisition told Hingham citizen, Tom Sweeney, years later that “if you people had protested just a little more, we would have yielded.” This acquisition forced many poor families to move out of Hingham.
Herbert Lindsay and Mabel Diggs, with the help of a Hingham Recreation committee, organized a dance for “colored sailors stationed locally” in the Agricultural Hall (now the site of the Hingham Public Library). Guests enjoyed refreshments and several dances such as “a conga line, jitter bug contest, waltz contest, slipper dance and elimination dance.” Shirley Bonitto is recorded as the secretary of the group responsible for the dance.