As Sarah Whiting, the new dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, prepares to publicly meet her community for the first time, her chosen anthem, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” blasts through the school’s Piper Auditorium. Students and professors pour in through the doors, a sea of black jeans and Moleskine notebooks. Whiting takes the stage with her old friend architectural historian K. Michael Hays—a virtual fireplace video crackling behind them—and the muscular banter begins. Read More…

Image Credit: Tony Luong for Architectural Digest

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On May 16, a group of 26 honours middle school students and their teachers visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston on a self-guided field tour reported multiple incidents of racism, including being closely followed by security guards and crossing paths with a white patron who hissed an expletive as they entered a gallery.

The MFA responded with a public apology and promised to take steps to become more welcoming to all audiences. The museum recruited a former Massachusetts attorney general, Scott Barshbargar, to conduct an investigation; the student/teacher group from Helen Y. Davis Academy secured the pro bono services of the nonprofit Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston; and the current state attorney general, Maura Healey, opened an inquiry as well. Read More…

Image Credit: Elise Amendola/Associated Press

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With a quiet, unflinching confidence, Virginia L. Molyneaux Hewlett Douglass posed for the photographer, one slender hand rustling the pleats of her fine silk dress. Although portraits were trendy and accessible in the 1860s when hers was shot, hand-colored photographs were a luxury, and this one is saturated with shades of emerald and lilac, underlining Virginia’s wealth and high social standing as the wife of Frederick Douglass, Jr., son of the celebrated abolitionist. Her name is handwritten above the portrait in flowery cursive as Mrs. Frederick Douglas, pasted into one of two recently discovered albums that have the potential to change much of what we know of the network of African-Americans centered around the steep north slope of Boston’s Beacon Hill in the 1860s and beyond.  Read More…

 

Image: This hand-colored carte de visite depicts Virginia L. Molyneaux Hewlett Douglass, who married Frederick Douglass, Jr., the son of the famous African American leader. The mount is inscribed: “Mrs. Fredk Douglass.” (Courtesy of the Boston Athenæum)

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