Martin Blatt and David Harris will discuss their recent Commonwealth Magazine essay calling for the renaming of Faneuil Hall.


In a recent op-ed in Commonwealth Magazine, Martin Blatt and David Harris called for the renaming of Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

“We call upon the city to engage in an expansive community process to decide two issues in sequence – first, whether or not the hall should be renamed and, second, if so, what name should replace Faneuil . We believe that a robust public discussion will be a critical part of our reckoning whether or not the conclusion is to change the name.” (full article here)

Mass Humanities Executive Director Brian Boyles will speak with the authors about the history of the building and its namesake, Peter Faneuil , and the work they believe is necessary to make possible a public and open debate about this historic site.

Martin Blatt is Affiliate Professor of Public History and former Director of the Public History Program at Northeastern University. He worked for the National Park Service in Boston and Lowell for twenty-four years as a historian and cultural resources manager. He has served as President of the National Council on Public History and on the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians. In 2020 he received the 2020 Robert Kelley Memorial Award from the National Council on Public History.

David Harris is the managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard University. He previously served as founding executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. He has served on many boards, including Mass Humanities (as chair 2006-2008), and he is currently the chair of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2018 he received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities.

Jared Ross Hardesty is associate professor of history at Western Washington University and a scholar of colonial America, the Atlantic world, and the histories of labor and slavery. He is the author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (New York: NYU Press, 2016), which explores the relationship between slavery and other forms of dependence in eighteenth-century Boston, and Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds: A History of Slavery in New England (Amherst & Boston: Bright Leaf, 2019).


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