A Team with a Dream

Muriel S. and Otto P. Snowden dreamed of Freedom House as a civic center as a focal point for efforts to improve the Washington Park area of Upper Roxbury. In 1949, the dream became a reality, and Freedom House began what has been over 65 years of service to the community. The Snowdens brought their idea to the community at a meeting of Roxbury residents.
This interracial, interreligious meeting was attended by community leaders who were concerned by signs of blight and increasing juvenile delinquency that were beginning to plague the area.

With their mission defined “to conserve and improve the Upper Roxbury neighborhood and to provide opportunities for greater interracial contact and understanding, both within the community itself and between its residents and those of greater Boston,” the group began to gain support of residents and contributors.

The effort to ensure a positive future for the neighborhood began in the 1950s with programs to promote healthy, mutual relationships between the African American and Jewish residents of Roxbury.

With these successful programs in place, Freedom House began an aggressive capital funding program to secure a community center that would support an expansion of their programs. In 1952, Freedom House moved into the former Hebrew Teachers College at its present location on 14 Crawford Street.

In the coming decades, the local concerns of Freedom House gained international attention-massive federal urban renewal in the 1960s and school desegregation in the 1970s. Although the initial focus of Freedom House has changed over time, Freedom House continues to play an important role in the community.

Freedom House at 14 Crawford Street.
Hebrew Teachers College
Hebrew Teachers College (Brookline, Mass.)