NHA University

Exploring the Equal School
Rights Movement

Virtual Lecture:
African American Women and the
Equal School Rights Movement in Massachusetts with Kabria Baumgartner
Tuesday, December 15
at 5:30pm EST
Held Via Zoom
$5 for non-members
FREE for members
This talk examines the educational lives of four young African American women activists from Massachusetts: Sarah Parker Remond of Salem; Eunice Ross of Nantucket; Josephine St. Pierre of Boston; and Charlotte Forten of Salem (by way of Philadelphia). 
In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America

By Kabria Baumgartner

The story of school desegregation in the United States often begins in the mid-twentieth-century South. Drawing on archival sources and genealogical records, Kabria Baumgartner uncovers the story's origins in the nineteenth-century Northeast and identifies a previously overlooked group of activists: African American girls and women.
What was the Brotherhood of Thieves Riot?

By Barbara White

The Brotherhood of Thieves Riot refers to riots that occurred in the streets of Nantucket in the summer of 1842. The unusual sign that hangs over The Brotherhood restaurant on Broad Street serves as a reminder. Central to the sign is a man with horns sprouting from his head. A closer look reveals that the man is wearing a clerical collar. Thus, the image is of a minister portrayed as the Devil, a provocative message then and now. In the minister’s right hand is an enslaved mother and child; in his left hand is a sack of money. The background shows Nantucket with a windmill, skyline, and ship.

The sign reminds us of a time when the question of the abolition of slavery dominated national politics. Closer to home, a more divisive issue over race split Nantucket, one that was incendiary enough to cause a mob to take to the streets.

Photo of sign on front of door, Brotherhood of Thieves. P16905.
Nantucket Woman:
Eunice Ross, African American Student Activist for Education Rights
Petition of Eunice F. Ross
in aid of E.J. Pompey,
Presented Feb. 26, 1845
Who was Annie Mattie Nahar?
By Frances Karttunen

Annie Mattie Nahar first appears in 1855 as a ten-year-old in the York Street household of Abraham and Elizabeth Nahar. She was either the daughter of Suriname-born Abraham and Falmouth-born Elizabeth, or she had been placed under their protection by Elizabeth’s brother, the Rev. Charles B. Ray, who was active in the Underground Railroad.

Back in 1845, entrepreneur Abraham Nahar and his seamstress wife Elizabeth had joined 102 other members of Nantucket’s New Guinea community in signing a petition to the Massachusetts legislature seeking relief from segregation of Nantucket’s public schools. The success of the struggle to integrate the island’s schools meant that Annie Mattie was educated along with white and non-white children at the South School on Orange Street. One of her contemporaries recalled that. “To one unacquainted she would, unquestionably, have passed for a white girl, yet she was of African parentage, was true to and dwelt with colored people. She was a young woman of rare character and attractiveness.”
NHA University returns
this January!

Archaeological Collections at the NHA:
A Multi-Year Preservation and Public Education Initiative with Karl Wietzel and Mary Lynne Rainey
Tuesday, January 5 at 5:30pm EST
Held Via Zoom
$5 for non-members
FREE for members

Karl Wietzel and Mary Lynne Rainey are part of the NHA team working on the development of the grant priorities and implementation of initial tasks.

Their presentation will provide an overview of the grant priorities, canvas the origins and types of material cultural represented in the NHA archaeology collections, and report on the initial priorities for this multi-year endeavor.
Shop Local for the Holidays!
Online 24/7 at the Museum Shop
Curbside Pickup is Available
(We can still ship, but not guaranteed by Christmas)
For personal shopping assistance, call 508-228-1894, ext. 147,
Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Whaling Museum and Museum Shop
are closed until further notice, due to the recent spike in Covid-19
cases on the island.
The Festival of Trees extravaganza will extend through Valentine’s Day.
We look forward to welcoming visitors back when it is deemed safe to do so.
We wish everyone safe and happy holidays.
--NHA Management
Nantucket Historical Association | 508.228.1894 | nha.org