Documents, Historical Images
October 9, 1900
“Contention of Old School Boards. Smith Schoolhouse, Now Used by Colored Veterans, Had Short and Stormy Educational Existence.”
Daily Boston Globe
This print depicts the “Old Smith School, Now the Quarters of Robert A. Bell Post, G.A.R.” Parts of this image show the interior of the Bell Post’s headquarters, including “Old Battle Flags” and “Corner in the Post Room.” In 1877, Boston’s Committee on Public Buildings recommended that the city lease the Smith School at 46 Joy Street to the Robert A. Bell Post, 134, of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). Once approved, the former schoolhouse became the headquarters of this G.A.R. unit of African American Civil War veterans during the Post’s years of activity. Here, the Bell Post hosted a variety of activities, from commemorative events for anniversaries and holidays, to social and charity events.
Questions to Consider
- The Bell Post had its headquarters in the Abiel Smith School next to a church (The African Meeting House). What does its location say about its role in the community?
- The print provides us with an idea of how the headquarters was decorated. What pictures and items do you think hung on the walls of the Bell Post’s headquarters?