News and Events

Unless otherwise noted, all lectures and book talks are held in the Slave Quarters located at 15 George Street in Medford, Massachusetts. Visit our Directions and Map page for more information.


“In Honor of the Enslaved Whose Labor Created Wealth That Made Possible the Founding of Harvard Law School”

Harvard Law School was founded in 1817 through a bequest from Isaac Royall Jr., whose family’s significant wealth was largely derived from the labor of enslaved people on Antiguan sugar plantations. We were honored to be present at the unveiling of this memorial “In honor of the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of Harvard Law School.”

Royall Professor of Law Janet Halley “read aloud the known names of enslaved men, women, and children of the Royall household from records that have survived. She noted that many of the names—just first names, with no last names—were probably not the original names that had been given to these individuals at birth.

“‘These names then are the tattered ruined remains, the accidents of recording, and the encrustation of a system that sought to convert human beings into property,’ Halley said. ‘But they’re our tattered ruined remains, and I thought I would devote my remarks to reading them out.'”

You can read more about the unveiling in articles from Boston MagazineHarvard Law Today, the Harvard Gazette, and Harvard Magazine.


Confederate Monuments and the Memory of Slavery: A Discussion with Historian Kevin Levin

Wednesday, October 25, 7:30pm – 9pm

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are more than 700 Confederate monuments in America’s public spaces, along with hundreds of schools, streets, and communities named for Confederate icons.

Historian, educator, and author Kevin Levin has blogged at Civil War Memory for more than a decade. He will discuss the historical origins of these monuments — their connection to “Lost Cause” remembrance of the Civil War and the Jim Crow era of the 20th century — and how the divisive current debate over their future connects to our nation’s memory of slavery.

Free admission for RH&SQ members; $10 for non-members.


Steering to Freedom: A Book Talk by Patrick Gabridge

Wednesday, November 15, 7:30pm – 9pm

In May 1862, Robert Smalls, an enslaved ship’s pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafted a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it, along with the crew and their families, to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faced an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Based on a true story, “Steering to Freedom” tells the powerful and inspirational story of a young man who became the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.

Copies of “Steering to Freedom” will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Free admission for RH&SQ members; $10 for non-members.

About the author: Patrick Gabridge is the author of three novels: Steering to Freedom, Tornado Siren, and Moving [a life in boxes]. His full-length plays include Lab Rats, Distant Neighbors, Constant State of Panic, and Chore Monkeys. He’s been a Playwriting Fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company and New Rep. His site-specific play about the day after the Boston Massacre, Blood on the Snow, is currently being performed at Boston’s Old State House. His other historical plays include work about the creation of the English Bible (Fire on Earth), the astronomers Kepler and Tycho (Reading the Mind of God), a volcanic eruption on Martinique (The Prisoner of St. Pierre), and 19th century Boston publisher Daniel Sharp Ford (None but the Best). His short plays have received more than 1,000 productions from theaters and schools around the world.

The Royall House and Slave Quarters Receives Its Second $100K for 100 Grant from the Cummings Foundation

It is with overwhelming gratitude that we announce our museum’s second $100K for 100 grant from Cummings Foundation.

Our first grant enabled us to restore the Slave Quarters meeting room for use as a classroom for school field trips; supported school program staffing and bus subsidies, to ensure that students from low-income school districts could experience our site’s stories, and funded several much-needed preservation projects in the mansion and on the grounds.

This new $100,000 grant will enable us to utilize short-term professional expertise over the next 4 years to accomplish organizational goals in the areas of preservation, youth education, collections management, and diversity.
Shown here: Tammy Denease introduces Belinda Sutton, enslaved by the Royalls on our site, to Medford’s 5th graders in October 2015. She’ll return next month, again in character as Belinda, to meet the current class of 5th graders. Cummings Foundation will have funded student transportation costs for both of these programs.









The Royall House and Slave Quarters is featured in a new episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class

Thanks to our new friends Tracy and Holly at Stuff You Missed in History Class for this terrific video about the Royall House & Slave Quarters. It’s about 7 minutes long, and we truly hope you’ll spend the time, especially if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to tour our museum.
Link to: Past News and Events