Kate Masur

Benjamin Roberts and Equal School Rights in Massachusetts, 1850

This is Benjamin Roberts' announcement about the petition drive. It was published in the Liberator, June 14, 1850. This National Park Service web page provides more information about Benjamin Roberts and the fight for equal school rights in Massachusetts.


The undersigned is about to commence a mission to the several towns in Massachusetts, for the purpose of obtaining signatures to a petition, asking the Legislature of this Commonwealth to pass a law compelling those who have charge of public school instruction for children to make no distinction on account of color, in relation to the admission of children to the schools nearest their residences, and to those to which other children in the several neighborhoods are admitted.

The recent action of the School Committee of the city of Boston, and the subsequent decision of the judges of the Supreme Court, in the case of Roberts vs. City of Boston, show the great injustice against the colored people perpetrated by those agents in the public service, and demand the serious attention of every citizen of this State.

As it will require means to prosecute this effort, the friends of equal rights are requested to govern themselves accordingly.

Benj. F. Roberts.

Boston, June 12, 1850