Featured Topics cover three main themes of Smith Court’s history: Activism, Community, and Education. Each topic includes articles that utilize primary sources (documents, archaeological artifacts, and historical images) in the telling of a specific story or aspect of the community on Beacon Hill. Teachers and students may use these articles to learn about the history of Smith Court and to make connections to their own lives.


Smith Court served as a center for the African American activist community as they argued for justice and equality. The Abiel Smith School became a place of contention in the equal schools movement, while the African Meeting House and the private residences on Smith Court contributed to the efforts of the Abolitionist Movement.


African Americans in Beacon Hill saw Smith Court as a community center where people came together to remember and celebrate significant events. Members of the community also saw Smith Court as their home.


In the first half of the 19th century, African American school children attended school at Smith Court — first in the basement of the African Meeting House and later at the Abiel Smith School next door when it opened in 1835.

Related Articles

Smith Court Stories

Smith Court Stories is a collaborative project of the Museum of African American History and Boston African American National Historic Site – a unit of the National Parks of Boston.

The creators of Smith Court Stories acknowledge that Smith Court in Beacon Hill sits on the historical Massachusett tribe territories.