A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
outline of stateLong Road to JusticeThe African American Experience in the MA Courts

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For more than three hundred years, African Americans have sought racial justice in the Massachusetts courts. In examining this history, we see that victories have been won only through perseverance, courage and the willingness—often with blacks and whites joining forces—to take substantial risks. For African Americans in Massachusetts, the road to justice has been marked by high drama, agonizing frustration, great success and tragic disappointment.

The court system is not perfect, and its procedures are often arduous. While continuing to vigorously use the legal system, we also must recognize that achieving racial justice cannot be left to the courts alone: it must begin in the hearts and minds of each of us.