The African American Experience in Dedham

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Exhibit Honoring Black History Month
Dedham Historical Society & Museum
612 High Street, Dedham
February-May 29, 2020

A new exhibit at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum has opened to coincide with Black History Month. On view are materials drawn from the museum’s important archival collections relevant to slavery, including 18th-century records, educator Horace Mann’s passionate arguments in favor of abolitionism, and contributions made by African Americans living in Dedham. Among the items is a letter written by Edward Dowse (1756-1828), a merchant and Congressman from Dedham who argued strongly against the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (the bill that maintained the balance of power between the North and the South in the U. S. Senate by admitting Missouri to the nation as a slave state alongside Maine as a free state). An excerpt of the letter is illustrated here, with Dowse’s poignant line: “We had it in our power to stop the extension of Slavery, and we chose to let it let it go on.” Dowse resigned shortly thereafter.

The exhibit will remain on view into the spring. For information, visit or call 781.326.1385 Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-6:00 and the 2nd & 4th Saturday, 11:00-2:00.

Caption: Letter, dated March 7, 1820, from Edward Dowse to his wife, where he expresses deep regret at Congress’ allowing the continuation of slavery. Dowse resigned shortly after writing the letter.