Project Details

The 2,441 photographs, negatives, and slides comprising this collection are part of the records of Freedom House. These images document one of three important themes: 1. early activities to create an integrated Roxbury; 2. citizen participation in the urban renewal of Roxbury; and 3. early oversight of Boston Public Schools desegregation. These themes are critical topics in the history of Boston as well as the Commonwealth. The images include representations of well-known figures (including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator Edward M. Brooke, Senator John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Senator Edward Kennedy, Sammy Davis, Jr., Kitty Dukakis, and Boston mayors John B. Hynes, John F. Collins and Kevin H. White), local community activists (including Melnea Cass, Ellen Jackson, Herbert Tucker, and Hyman Kaplan), Freedom House events (including the Ebony Fashion Fair, anniversary celebrations, Coffee Hours and International Teas, playschool, youth group activities, and Citizens’ Urban Renewal Action Committee meetings), and the Roxbury neighborhood (including images of individual buildings, Roxbury Garden Project, Pilot House, Marksdale Gardens, Camfield Gardens, Trotter School, and the Roxbury YMCA).

Image Selection

All of the images in this digital collection were selected from the Freedom House records held in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department. They represent roughly one quarter of the images available in the Freedom House records. The images were selected because they date from 1950-1975 and document one of three important themes:

  • early activities to create an integrated Roxbury;
  • citizen participation in the urban renewal of Roxbury; and
  • early oversight of Boston Public Schools desegregation.

The Freedom House records also contain a significant number of images dating from 1976-1990s. Funding permitting, we hope to digitize these images at some future date and add them to this online collection.

Scanning Notes

The original images were scanned with a Microtek ScanMaker 98000XL at a dpi in reference to their original size for maximum resolution based on U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access: Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images (June 2004). The images were saved as .tiff files, grayscale for black & white, RGB for color images. A derivative .jpeg at 72dpi was created from the tiff files for use on the website.


The project was partially funded with Federal assistance from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Project Staff:

Britta Abeln, Zach Benevenento, Hanna Clutterbuck, Marisa Hudspeth, Joan Krizack, Mary Menke, Karen Merguerian, Martin Mehrling, Binah Palmer, Rebecca Parmer, Michelle Romero, Heather Stirling, Ernesto Valencia, and Karl Yee.

Special Thanks:

Nancy Richard processed the Freedom House records in 1997 and took special pains to work with volunteers from Freedom House, Salena “Betty” Draper and Peggy Reed, to identify the images. Without their considerable efforts, much less would be known about these images.

For more information:

Massachusetts: Northeastern University Archives Receives Grant to Digitize Photographs Documenting Boston’s Roxbury Neighborhood, 1950­-1975 THE ACADEMIC ARCHIVIST: Newsletter of the College and University Section Society of American Archivists Vol. 25, No. 1, Fall 2007/Winter 2008