Militant Boston


The (old) farmer’s almanack ... for the year of Our Lord 1836 (Boston, 1835)

As Sheriff of Suffolk County, Charles Pinckney Sumner earned the respect of Boston's black community for his progressive views on race and slavery. In his almanac entry for 1 August 1836, Sumner notes a "great disturbance in the SJC (Supreme Judicial Court) room in front of Judge Shaw on Hab Corp." This refers to what many considered the "Abolition Riot" in which a crowd of black Bostonians, mainly women, mobbed the courtroom and rescued two alleged fugitive slaves from custody. Sumner was censored for failing to stop this rescue. Many in the black community felt that, even if he could have, he would not have stopped it from occurring.

*APA.T366F.1836 – Gift of Edward L. Pierce, 1874.